All children and young people should be able to grow up in a safe and stable family setting. However, this is not always the case. Sadly, many young people living in care placements (foster care, children’s residential homes or supported accommodation) have experienced abuse, neglect, and trauma, making it unsafe for them to remain in the family home.  

Between 16 and 18-years-old, young care-leavers begin their journey into independent living. This transition period presents many challenges for young people who lack the stability and support that a family network provides. During this time, young people must learn to manage a home, secure employment and maintain positive health and wellbeing, without the support and guidance of professionals. In 2022, an Ofstead survey revealed that one in three care-leavers felt they had left care too early, and some said that they did not feel they had the necessary skills needed to live independently. 

The consequences of this quick transition can often lead to poor college attendance, difficulties managing money and paying bills, and a reduced level of social contact and support.  All of which can increase the risk of homelessness. We know that 17 percent of young people leaving care will go on to make a homeless application. 


Barriers to support for care leavers  

The transition out of care, if not managed well, can also take a toll on a young person’s mental health, with care leavers facing higher rates of depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues compared to their peers. This can have a negative impact on their wellbeing, increase social isolation and reduce opportunities to grow and develop.

Despite their potential, care leavers also face significant barriers to education and employment. A 2023 report by Gov.UK reported 38% of 19 to 21 year old care leavers were not in education, employment or training (NEET), compared to around 13% of all young people. 

How does Depaul UK support care leavers?  

The UK government recognises there is a gap of support during the period of transition from care. In response, initiatives like our Supported Lodgings Service aim to bridge the gap and reduce the risk of future homelessness. The scheme aims to place young care leavers with local host families who can offer a safe and supportive environment to pursue their education, learn how to live independently, and further their opportunities. Whilst staying with their host family, the young person will also be supported by our staff to increase their confidence and life skills.  

By providing care leavers with the stability, support, and opportunities they deserve, we can break the cycle of disadvantage and create a brighter future for all young people transitioning out of care.  

Together, as a community, we need to stand up for care leavers and ensure that every young person is awarded the same opportunity to achieve independence and success.  

We run Supported Lodgings services in Cheshire West and Chester, London, and Oldham.