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Care leavers

Care leavers call for care experience to be made Protected Characteristic

A young male student smiles directly at the camera. He has a backpack over one shoulder and books in the other hand.

The final report of the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care, chaired by Josh MacAlister, has now been published. Catch22’s National Leaving Care Benchmarking Forum, a network of 129 local authorities promoting the development of quality leaving care services to enrich outcomes for our nation’s care leavers, contributed to the review.

Hannah McCowen, Catch22’s National Leaving Care Benchmarking Forum Manager, said:

“For us, the insight and ideas of care-experienced young people are key to any successful overhaul of the care system. Young people from our Young People’s Benchmarking Forum engaged directly with the care review team throughout the process and it’s heartening to see their  priorities and concerns reflected in the report. Indeed their call for care experience to be made a Protected Characteristic is one of the report’s key recommendations.

“We’re really pleased to see the challenges for young people leaving care addressed in the report, particularly around mental health provision; housing and homelessness; support for young parents; support post-25 and extending corporate parenting responsibilities to all public bodies.

“Josh MacAlister’s passion and drive to see love embedded at the heart of Children’s social care – which is evident throughout this report – reflects the passion we see from leaving care professionals every day across the National Leaving Care Benchmarking Forum’s 129 local authority leaving care teams.  We welcome the recognition of the stress and strain that the current system is under and the multiple barriers that care experienced young people face.  Now we need the investment and commitment of government so we can work together to put these recommendations into action.”