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New ASDAN course will improve outcomes for care leavers

Published
New ASDAN course will improve outcomes for care leavers

An innovative ASDAN programme will support the new cross-government strategy to transform support for young people leaving care.

The strategy report published last week, Keep on caring: supporting young people from care to independence, acknowledges that the outcomes for care leavers remain much worse than their counterparts and that the quality of leaving care services provided by local authorities remains ‘variable’.

The report describes how care leavers will be supported to achieve five key outcomes, the first of which is that all young people leaving care should be better prepared and supported to live independently. It includes feedback from care leavers who consistently reported that leaving care felt like a ‘cliff edge’, where they were suddenly responsible for managing budgets, running a home and maintaining their participation in education or work on their own – with insufficient preparation for these challenges.

ASDAN is currently working in partnership with organisations including two local authorities, Bristol City and North Somerset Councils, to pilot a course designed specifically to support care leavers to live independently. Initial feedback on our new Living Independently Short Course indicates that it is being well received by care leavers and foster carers who are supporting the young people through the course.

Christine Evans, ASDAN’s Regional Support and Relationship Manager for the North, introduced the course and its objectives at the National Leaving Care Benchmarking Forum (NLCBF) in York last week. Liza Zakheim, Practice Leader from North Somerset Council, spoke about the local authority’s positive experience of the course to date. Representatives from 71 local authorities along with Staf, a membership organisation in Scotland for frontline practitioners and managers working with young people from a care background, were at the NLCBF event as well as representatives from the Department for Work and Pensions and the Department for Education.

Ms Evans said: “It was hugely encouraging to get such positive feedback from delegates at the conference. We are very excited at ASDAN about the considerable potential of the Living Independently Short Course and the comments received at the NLCBF conference will be used to help shape the final outcome of this programme.”

ASDAN will evaluate the pilot programmes in the autumn and present the findings at the next NLCBF event in York in November.  The Living Independently Short Course will be available to all ASDAN registered centres from November.

Last month, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child released a report calling for the UK to ‘rigorously invest’ in child and adolescent mental health services with a particular focus on children in care and young people at greater risk. In its reaction to the report, the charity National Children’s Bureau, an ASDAN registered centre, said young people in or leaving care are at ‘increased risk of poor physical and mental health’.

For further information on the course, please contact Simon Lawrence, ASDAN Development Co-ordinator, on simonlawrence@asdan.org.uk