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Children’s Secretary: New national programme to help care leavers into employment

Ed Balls, Children’s Secretary, this week launched a national programme to encourage and support organisations across the country provide life-changing employment opportunities for young people leaving care.

The From Care2 Work programme funds the National Care Advisory Service (NCAS) to work closely with national employers and local authorities to offer opportunities for work experience and mentoring to support care leavers into work.

Since plans for the programme were announced as part of the cross-Government New Opportunities White Paper in January, there has been unprecedented interest, with some of the nation’s biggest employers signing up, including Tesco, O2, Aviva and Marks and Spencer.

The Department for Children, Schools and Families today announced an additional £250,000 to ensure that every local authority will receive the invaluable advice and support of NCAS providing even more opportunities for care leavers to employment in a range of sectors.

Ed Balls said:

“For too long many young people have fallen into the trap of poverty and joblessness after leaving care, because there was no-one to give them the help they needed. This programme will kick start their careers in a variety of industries and provide that helping hand to give care leavers the opportunity to realise their true potential. I am particularly delighted with the number of national employers who have already signed up. This will ensure that the needs of young people are appropriately catered for as they enter employment in all sectors after leaving the care system.

“The opportunities and support that this programme will provide across the country will make a real impact to care leavers and is another step in the right direction for improving the life chances of children and young people in the care system.”

From Care2Work will also include linking participating local authorities to a new national network of employers from the private, public and third sectors. The employers in turn will offer a range of appropriate career opportunities including, advice, training, work experience, job mentoring, apprenticeships and employment as part of a supported career development pathway.

Children’s Minister Delyth Morgan said:

“Since the launch of the Care Matters programme we have made great strides in improving the outcomes of children in care and the ‘From Care2Work’ programme will give many more young people the opportunity to succeed when they leave the care system.

“I am delighted with the levels of interest in the programme already, which demonstrates further the increasing commitment to supporting these vulnerable young people into employment. The Government is committed to offering all care-leavers training, mentoring and access to jobs to guarantee every one of these young people has the chance to follow their dreams.”

Angela Smith Minister for the Office of the Third Sector said:

"Today's announcement goes a long way towards improving the life chances of young people who have been in care. The From care 2 work programme will ensure that care leavers have the invaluable support they need to develop their skills through mentoring, work experience and apprenticeships, eventually helping them into jobs.

"This scheme is a great example of the Government working in partnership with organisations like the National Care Advisory Service, local authorities and businesses to develop constructive and practical measures to support the most vulnerable in society. This forms part of the Government's ongoing work to tackle social exclusion and marks an important step towards helping more people reach their potential, often against the odds.”

Joyce Moseley, Chief Executive of Catch22, which manages NCAS, said:

“Finding work is more difficult than ever in the current economic climate, and young people are some of the hardest hit. This project will provide an essential step-up into employment for young people in and leaving care as they move to become independent, particularly those who find it hard to access even the lowest level of mainstream skills support.”

The following employers have so far agreed to support the programme: Tesco, Marks and Spencer, ASDA, Co Op, BAA, Sainsburys, Comet, Orange, Carillion, ECB, Natural England, G4S, Waterways Trust, TACT, Shaftesbury, Odeon Cinemas, Marriott Hotels, Aviva, Reed, SERCO, ELBA, Kier, BITC, Travis Perkins, Nationwide Autocentres, O2, York Cares, Leicester Cares, Pure Innovations.

Editor's Notes
This press notice relates to 'England'
We have been making steady improvements in outcomes for care leavers. Since 2004:

• The proportion of care leavers in suitable accommodation had risen from 79.6 per cent to 88.4 per cent last year.
• And the proportion of care leavers in education, employment and training had risen from 55.4 per cent to 64.9 per cent.
New Regulations and guidance will result in a presumption that care leavers will not leave before they are aged 18. We are piloting care leavers staying with former foster carers over 18; whilst supporting them with personal advisers up to the age of 25 – if they need help with further learning or training.

We will be drawing on the National Standards in Leaving Care produced by the voluntary sector organisation, the National Care Advisory Service, when revising our statutory guidance on care leavers later this year. Government offices are supporting and challenging local authorities to improve their outcomes for care leavers, through the monitoring of national indicators.

The Care Matters: Time for Change White Paper set out the steps the Department will take, together with local delivery partners, to improve outcomes for children and young people in care. It builds on responses to the Green Paper Care Matters: Transforming the Lives of Children and Young People in Care and the conclusions of four working groups established to investigate best practice in supporting those in care. The document is available from www.dcsf.gov.uk/publications/timeforchange/

Proposals included in Care Matter are:

• £100 a year for children in care, for each year they are in care, from the Child Trust Fund (CTF) which they can access when they are 18.

• £500 a year will be given to children in care who need extra support because they are falling behind at school.

• Government will provide free access to after school activities, and free music tuition in schools for children in care through extended schools.

• ‘Children in Care Councils’, where young people in care can express their views, shaping and influencing the services offered to them.

• There will be an ‘Annual Ministerial Stocktake’ to review progress with stakeholders, representatives of local government, health and young people.

• Young people have told us that they want to know what they are entitled to so Local Authorities have been asked to set out their Pledge for what services and support children in care can expect.

• Where appropriate, more children will be supported to live with their families, through our Multi Systemic Therapy pilots.

Young person’s charity Catch22, which manages the National Care Advisory Service, equips young people with the skills they need to find and keep jobs and be successful in what they do. We look at why they may have struggled to find work in the past and help them with other parts of their life such as housing, relationships and staying clear of crime. As part of From Care 2 Work, four traineeships will be created within the National Care Advisory Service and two more in the Positive Futures programme that Catch22 runs on behalf of the Home Office. In 2007/08, over two thirds of young people leaving Catch22 programmes moved on into education, training or work within one month, and we are committed to creating many more opportunities to help as many young people as possible find work when they leave care.

Contact Details
Public Enquiries 0870 000 2288, info@dcsf.gsi.gov.uk

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