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NATIONAL CARE LEAVERS WEEK 24 TH OCTOBER 2013 – 30 th OCTOBER 2013

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1 NATIONAL CARE LEAVERS WEEK 24 TH OCTOBER 2013 – 30 th OCTOBER 2013

2 WHAT IS NATIONAL CARE LEAVERS WEEK ABOUT? National Care Leavers’ Week is about highlighting the needs of care leavers, and encouraging the agencies responsible for looking after them to work in a coordinated and effective way. It’s easy to brush them and their problems under the carpet - we are determined not to let that happen. National Care Leavers’ Week—the First Decade—focuses on the journey of a care leaver from leaving care to becoming firmly established in their adult lives. Many of us take for granted the security, love and support of a family. Did you know that approximately 60,000 children and young people in England have to live away from their families in the care of a foster family or children’s home? It’s important to realise that these youngsters have done nothing wrong! They are taken into care for many reasons connected with the inability of their own families to provide a safe and consistent upbringing for them.

3 In % of all 18 year olds in the general population were not in education, training or employment (known as ‘NEET’) In % of Care Leavers age 19 were NEET 2002, dropping to 37% by 2011, in 2012 averaging 62%. That is on average 62 out of every 100 children that the state has stepped in to provide ’better upbringings’ for have no job, no college place, and no access to training at age 19 25% of the general population of young adults gain a place at university compared to 7% of care leavers Young people who left care from foster care are more likely to be in education at age 19 Young people who left foster care (as opposed to Residential care) are more likely to be in education at 19 Young people who had a stable experience of care are more likely to be in education at age 19 than those whose care experience was disrupted

4 What is anyone doing to help …...? The Department for Education, Voluntary organisations like Buttle and The Care Leavers’ Foundation, and colleges like MidKent are all working together to change these statistics and ensure more care leavers have the same access to education as other groups. One of the key indicators for future economic well-being and success is the level of education/training a person achieves. Government is working to improve access to education for young people leaving care, but care leavers still face additional barriers and difficulties compared to their peers who have grown up with their own families Young care leavers who are in further or higher education are more likely to have decent and stable housing. Just 1% of care leavers in education age 19 between 2008 and 2011 were in ’unsuitable’ accommodation, whilst 12% of care leavers not in education in the same group were deemed to be in ’unsuitable ’ accommodation.

5 Do you know any care leavers? There is a good chance that you do—and you don’t even know they have been in care! Sadly there is still a stigma attached to being in care, so many care leavers just don’t mention it when making new friends. One of the most important things in building a future is education. Did you know that there are huge gaps in educational attainment between care leavers and the rest of the population? Children and young people growing up in care often have to move home and school many times as they are growing up. Can you imagine how hard it would be to concentrate and get your best grades if you never lived in the same place or went to the same school for more than 6 months!

6 MidKent College is one of a growing number of FE and HE institutions that has been awarded the Buttle Charter mark of excellence for raising awareness and supporting care leavers to access and maintain educational places. During National Care Leavers’ Week we are working extra hard to ensure that students and staff at the college are aware of National Care Leavers’ Week, aware of MidKent college’s achievement in being awarded the Charter Mark, and aware of what this means and how care leavers can access advice and support in the college. For more information please contact: Student Welfare Officer: Carolle Allman Ext 3618 W1


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