The Department for Education (DfE) has launched the Care Leaver Covenant (CCC), a cross governmental support strategy to create opportunities for those transitioning from care to independent adult living, delivered by the organisation Spectra First.
With 40% of care leavers aged 19-21 not in education, employment or training (NEET) compared to 13% for this age group overall, the CCC aims to create work based opportunities to young people aged 16-25 leaving the care system.
It allows public, private and voluntary sector organisations to pledge support including access to paid work experience or apprenticeships, training workshops or life-skills coaching and free or discounted goods and services.
More than 50 organisations including businesses, charities, universities, Premier League football clubs, museums, theatres and every government department in England have already signed up to the CCC.
The launch of the CCC comes amid the release of new figures on the characteristics of children in need which outline that as of 31 March 2018:
the number of children in need has risen to its highest level with a 4.0% increase from 389,040 in 2017 to 404,710 in 2018
the number of child protection plans has increased by 5.3% this year, from 51,080 in 2017 to 53,790 in 2018
20.2% of referrals (requests for services to be provided by children’s social care in respect of a child who is not currently in need) were made by schools or education providers.
The National Governance Association welcomed the introduction of the CCC as a positive step toward securing better destinations for children leaving the care system.
Governing boards have a key role in championing the needs of looked-after pupils and ensuring they are supported to achieve in school, including through the effective use of pupil premium funding.