National Care Leavers’ Week (Wednesday 25th October to Thursday 2nd November) is about highlighting the needs of care leavers and raising public awareness as they face a particular set of challenges as they enter adult life.

During the week  the focus is on the many ways in which working together promotes and improves the present quality of life of those leaving care as well as leading to better long term outcomes.

Councils are being urged to explore more fully their responsibilities as Corporate Parents and the Care Leavers Strategy aims to ensure that all of the many departments whose policies affects care leavers are working together with a true understanding of the needs of this uniquely vulnerable group and an understanding of the impact that major policy decisions have on their lives, such as decisions about Housing, Access to Education, Mental Health Services, and Welfare Supports.

Here in Derby we are committed to supporting Young People as they transition from care into adult life. Each individual is now allocated a Personal Adviser from the Leaving Care Team at the age of 16. The Personal Adviser remains until 21.In 2011, Transition Regulations came into force meaning that care leavers under 25 may be able to receive help from the Leaving Care Team, if they remain or have returned to Training or Education and could be entitled to a personal advisor and a pathway plan.

In 2016 The Council issued its Pledge to Children in Care  written by the Children in Care Council (CiCC) and this year that has been updated after feedback from the CiCC and so we have now included a commitment to create more apprenticeship and work experience opportunities for children in our care, so that they can lead successful and fulfilling careers.

There is also a ‘Care Leavers Forum’ that meets once a month and all Care Leavers are welcome to attend and contribute to the improvement and development of Leaving Care Services. It’s the views of Care leavers themselves that will make a difference.  For more information and for dates of future meetings please contact the Leaving Care Team.

Derby Homes also provide as pathway to housing for our Care Leavers via our homefinder service. Care leavers are placed in one of the two priority bands – the Housing Needs Band.

Councillor Sara Bolton, Cabinet Member for Safeguarding and Children and Young People said:

National Care Leavers’ Week highlights the needs of this vulnerable group of people and reminds us that as a Council we have a huge responsibility to support them as they enter adult life. I will continue to do all I can to make that transition as easy as possible and am positively exploring other avenues for the Council to assist care leavers. We will be preparing a report on this for Cabinet to consider hopefully before Christmas.”