Lancashire local offer for care leavers aged 16-25

Essential plan to improve life for young care leavers to get council approval

A crucial plan to improve life for young care leavers in Lancashire will get the official go ahead from Lancashire County Council this week.

The national scheme, called the 'Care Leaver Covenant',  supports care leavers aged 16 to 25 and aims to improve opportunities, choice and independence in key areas such as independent living, opportunities for employment, education and training,  safety and security, health and finance.

The Care Leaver Covenant has been rolled out by private, public and voluntary organisations nationwide since 2018 and is now being formally adopted by around 60 local authorities, plus a range of organisations, including Lancashire County Council.

Lancashire County Council currently supports 1,524 care leavers aged 16 to 25 years old. Formal approval and adoption of the scheme will result in a more joined up offer, post care, which will see a better use of and access to resources to improve care leavers' lives and prospects.

The County Council's Education and Children's Services departments led the way through initiatives such as free mobile data from partners for care leavers, the provision of specialised support staff and apprenticeship funding.

The scheme's impact will see care leavers connected to opportunities for employment across the council's partners, plus elements of financial education and better access to health. The council works with a wide range of partners to make their expertise and support available to care leavers in areas such as housing, health, finance and safety as part of the Care Leaver Covenant.

The move also supports the County Council's 'Corporate Parenting' duties – a set of statutory obligations held by local authorities, employees, and partner agencies towards looked after children to enable the best possible care and safeguarding for them.

Signing up to the Care Leaver Covenant ties in with the national social care reforms for young people who have been or are in care, enabling stable, loving homes and loving relationships, extending corporate parenting and education, employment and training opportunities, improving mental and physical health and reducing homelessness.

 County Councillor Cosima Towneley, cabinet member for children and families, said: "This is a very important decision, as it is about caring for some of the most vulnerable people in our county.

"It will help care leavers to make the most of the support across Council services.

"We are always adapting our services to reflect the best interests of the children and young people in or leaving our care as we have the highest aspirations for them all.

 "The Covenant compliments and enhances our existing work and we are immensely proud to be proactively improving the lives of young care leavers."