May must build on Cameron’s support for care leavers, says Bernardo’s Chief Executive

29th Jul 2016
May must build on Cameron’s support for care leavers, says Bernardo’s Chief Executive

Barnardo’s Chief Executive, Javed Khan (Photo: Ahmed J Versi/Muslim News)

Hamed Chapman

New Prime Minister, Theresa May, must ensure care leavers get same support as teens with parents, says Britain’s largest charity for vulnerable children and young people.

“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,” said Barnardo’s Chief Executive, Javed Khan.

“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,” he warned.

His call came as Barnado’s is marking its 150th anniversary in 2016 and as May was due to formally take up her new post at 10 Downing Street to replace the resigning David Cameron after losing the referendum he called on Britain’s membership in the EU.

“In her own words she must make sure the country works for everyone, not just the privileged few,” Khan said quoting what May said when launching in her national campaign to become Leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister in Birmingham.

“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.”

As one of his legacies, Cameron leaves the Government’s Policy Paper entitled Keep on Caring, which he introduced to support young people from care to independence

A new poll for children’s charity Barnardo’s 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.

The charity, which often acts as a first port of call for young people who don’t 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 care leavers.

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.

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 [4]; and just 6 per cent of care leavers go into higher education compared to 25 per cent of their peers at age 18.

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