Funding for scheme to support care leavers only enough for one in five, councils warn

A scheme which helps provide practical and emotional support for young people leaving care only has enough funding for one in five, councils have warned.

The Local Government Association (LGA) fears the estimated £12 million set aside to help councils cover the demand of providing personal advisers for 21 to 25-year-old care leavers may only support around 4,700 young people out of a total of more than 23,000.

The new duty to provide a personal adviser comes into effect from April 1 and is seen as a way to help young people make a successful transition to adulthood. Those under 21 already receive this support.

The LGA, which represents 370 councils in England and Wales, says no extra funding has been provided for councils to offer any of the follow-up support that a young person leaving care might need.

This could include help with travel expenses, food or bills as well as trying to sort places to live to stop someone becoming homeless.

The LGA fears that provision elsewhere could be hit if they have to cover any shortfall.

Suggesting this could further pressurise council children’s services, LGA Children and Young People Board chairman Richard Watts (pictured) said he was “disappointed ” at the level of government funding.

Not every care leaver will need the support but the LGA believes the number who do will be “much higher” than anticipated, according to Mr Watts.

He said: “This is a potentially life-changing initiative that could make a real difference to young people’s lives.

“Personal advisers can play a major role in supporting care leavers as they move towards independence and we were fully supportive of the decision to extend this to all care leavers up to the age of 25.”

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