Southwark Council marks National Care Leavers Week

24 October 2018

Wednesday 24 to Wednesday 31 October 2018 marks National Care Leavers Week, which is dedicated to highlighting the needs of care leavers.

In honour of National Care Leavers Week Southwark Council is renewing its commitment to do all it can to support looked after children leaving care as they turn 18 and become independent.

At Council Assembly in July, councillors passed a motion agreeing to send hand written correspondence to children in care to mark important landmarks in their lives from birthdays, faith festivals to wishing them luck in their exams.

Cllr Jasmine Ali, cabinet member for children, schools and adult care said: “We want the very best for our young people in care and our care leavers. We know that the move from being a looked after child to a care leaver is a uniquely critical time in a young person’s life and as a council it is our responsibility to make sure that they have the support available to them that so may of us may take for granted.

“As a corporate parent, we have the same aspirations for our care leavers as we would our own children. We are hear to listen, advise and support our young people so they can go on to achieve the very best in life for themselves.”

In Southwark there are around 400 care leavers aged 18 to 24 for whom the council as a whole has responsibility. Care leavers are a uniquely vulnerable group who face particular challenges as they enter adult life. They have great talents and aspirations and this week is about raising awareness of the needs of care leavers, and encouraging local authorities to work in a coordinated and effective way to give them the support they need.

Being a care leaver is not a barrier to success, the majority of Southwark care leavers are in training or employment and 10% are in full time higher education. Today, 44 of our care leavers are in universities all over the UK.

Southwark Council takes its responsibility as a corporate parent extremely seriously and 78% of our young people felt they had either been treated better or the same as young people who had not been in care. One care leaver said of their social worker: “She encourages me and pushes me to motivate me. And it works. She is very encouraging and tells me that I can achieve whatever I want in life.”

Southwark Council’s Leaving Care Service, works with other areas of the council and agencies to ensure care leavers get the support they need to fulfil their potential, supporting them into work and a stable and healthy home life. We provide:

  • specialist social workers, personal advisors and other targeted support to all care leavers up to 25 years of age.
  • suitable accommodation -  many care leavers have their own council tenancy in Southwark.
  • a £2,000 setting up home allowance (leaving care grant) when moving into their permanent / settled accommodation.
  • Southwark care leavers living in the borough are exempt from paying Council Tax until they are 25 years old. 
  • bursaries to cover education costs
  • free leisure membership for Southwark leisure centres – including free access to swimming, gym and classes

Page last updated: 24 October 2018