Report published 30 October 2015. Government response published 21 January 2016.
The Committee examined Children in Care in January 2015 and were concerned by the Department for Education’s "alarming reluctance to play an active role in securing better services and outcomes for children in care". The Committee reported that "there has been little or no improvement in outcomes for children in foster and residential care and how well they are looked after."
It is a similar picture for care leavers where the numbers in employment, education and training have deteriorated since 2007–08. In 2013–14, 41% of 19-year-old care leavers were NEET compared with only 15% of their age peers. In the same year, over 10,000 young people aged over 16 left care, an increase of almost 50% since 2003–04. Moreover, 33% of those aged 16 or over who left care did so before their 18th birthday, while 50% of young people were still living with their parents at the age of 22.
Negative impact on transitions
The difficult lives many young people in care have had combined with starting to live independently much earlier than their peers, can negatively impact on their transitions to adulthood, with associated costs for the public and care leavers themselves.
In 2013 the Government published the Care Leaver Strategy, setting out how it planned to improve support for care leavers. In the same year the Department for Education introduced its Staying Put policy to help care leavers stay with foster carers until the age of 21.
This inquiry looks at the initial impacts of this strategy and how the department intends to improve the quality of services for care leavers.