Theresa May must build on David Cameron’s legacy and make sure there is comprehensive support available for young people who have grown up in care, urges Barnado’s.
Many care leavers have a disrupted education. Credit: PA
A new poll for children’s charity shows that in times of crisis, eight in 10 (80 per cent) of parents with children aged 11-18 think their kids would turn to them for help first.
Barnardo’s chief executive, Javed Khan, said: “Young people who’ve grown up in care can go on to do amazing things, but don’t always have someone to nurture and develop them.
“Our next Prime Minister, Theresa May, can show she means business by making the Keep on Caring strategy, which aims to improve the life chances of care leavers, become a reality. In her own words she must make sure the country works for everyone, not just the privileged few.
The British charity, which often acts as a first port of call for young people who do not have parents to rely on, says this underlines the need for care leavers to get extra support. Barnardo’s provides emotional support, accommodation and employment opportunities, for these young people.
Nearly nine in 10 parents (88 per cent) say they would, or did have an active role in helping their teenager find work experience or their first job. The polling found almost half (46 per cent) of parents would spend more than two hours a week helping their child with homework, even at the age of 18.
In contrast, many care leavers have a disrupted education – multiple care placements mean missed months of school or changing schools at a crucial time. Just 14 per cent of care leavers achieved five or more A*-C GCSEs compared with 65 per cent of their peers .
In addition, 40 per cent of care leavers are not in employment, education or training (NEET) compared to only 14 per cent of 19-24 year olds; and just 6 per cent of care leavers go into higher education compared to 25 per cent of their peers at age 18.
Khan said: “We want to see a firm commitment to supporting all care leavers on their journey to employment, by for example, ensuring the training costs for apprenticeships are fully funded.”