Cornwall Council will provide an exemption on paying Council tax for care leavers up until the age of 25 to help them make the transition to independence.
The Children and Social Work Bill 2017 asks local authorities to expand its corporate parenting duties to care leavers up to 25.
Last year in Cornwall, 75% of care leavers were in education, training and employment, one of the highest levels in the country. The Council is committed to “further improving these outcomes and supporting care leavers into adulthood in the same way a parent would”.
Cabinet member for Children and Wellbeing, Sally Hawken said funding of £25,000 has been put aside each year to provide the additional support.
“These are young people who move into independence much earlier than their peers. They also are much more likely to experience debt difficulties. The exemption is part of an overall strategy to improve the outcomes for care leaver’s so that they are more able to participate positively in the local community.
“This means we can support care leavers to make the transition to adulthood and independence, in the way we would help our own children.
“This is at the heart of corporate parenting – asking ourselves, would this be good enough if she or he was my own child” she said.
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The Council has a 16 plus service that works with care leavers and does this in partnership with a local voluntary organisation, Carefree. This partnership is preparing for the new statutory duties to support young people up to 25 and to provide an extended local offer to care leavers. The council tax exemption will be part of the new local offer and will make a significant difference to young people.
Sarah, a care leaver at Carefree’s volunteer group, ‘Belong’, said: “This is a brilliant idea. At the moment it’s a real struggle, learning to live independently and pay bills at a young age, when our friends probably still live with their parents. It will really take the pressure off, it will give us more time to learn to budget and manage our money.”
The 16+ service runs a range of provision for care leavers including ‘Open Door’ a supported lodgings scheme in which local landlords provide supported accommodation. It keeps in touch with all of care leavers and is focussed on providing the right emotional and practical support to ensure successful outcomes.
If you are interested in providing supported lodgings for young people leaving care please contact us on 01872 323638
If you are interested in becoming a foster carer for children in care please contact us on 01872 323638 (Fostering Recruitment Team)