Young people leaving care need more control over their futures

29 October 2014

More than one in three (34%) care leavers aged 19 were not in education, employment or training at the end of 2013, compared to less than one-in-five (18%) of all young people. In a research report as part of National Care Leavers Week, NIACE shows how if all care leavers have access to a more personalised Pathway Planning process, it will help them plan their education, employment and training more effectively and mean that fewer will miss out on getting the best start to their adult life. NIACE also urges that all Personal Advisers must be trained in Information, Advice and Guidance to increase access to local learning and work opportunities for care leavers.

Amy, a care leaver from the South-East of England, who is now studying for a Masters Degree, said:

“A big part of the support for me was the use of pathway planning. My personal adviser and I would meet and discuss any changes in my situation, my goals for the next six months and anything that I wanted or needed that could help me towards that goal.”

Nicola Aylward, Head of Learning for Young People at NIACE, said:

“Children in care can face huge disruption throughout their school-life. This has an enormous impact on their future learning, training and careers, especially as they leave care. However when given the right support through Pathway Planning, these young people can make remarkable progress. What’s essential is a coherent strategy across the country that ensures professional information, advice and guidance is available to all care leavers, from trained Personal Advisers, to support these young people make the most informed choices about their future. Unfortunately this isn’t happening consistently enough across the country.

“It is the duty of every Local Authority to do everything in their power to ensure that every young person leaving care makes the best individual choices about education and work. A holistic approach to Pathway Planning and consistent, professional support from a known and trusted Personal Adviser will improve the chances of care leavers having a positive experience of learning and work, giving them the best chance to lead a fulfilling adult life.”

NIACE believes that a more personalised Pathway Planning process will result in:

  • Consistent, individually-tailored and emotionally-supportive information, advice and guidance for all care leavers.
  • Care leavers who are better informed about the learning and work opportunities that exist locally.
  • Greatly enhanced opportunities for care leavers to make the right initial choices about education and work.
  • The professionalisation of the role of Personal Advisers.
  • Care leavers at the heart of the Pathway Planning process with access to the practical and financial support they are entitled to.