NCAS calls on councils to help improve prospects for care leavers

The National Care Advisory Service (NCAS) has urged councils to do more to improve care leavers’ qualifications and career opportunities.

Ahead of this month’s GCSE results, the service, which is managed by the charity Catch22, is warning that the attainment gap between those in care and their peers is still too large.

While only one per cent of all children taking GCSEs in 2008/9 achieving no grades, the figure rose to 32 per cent for those in care.

This has a knock-on effect as they get older, with just seven per cent of looked-after children gaining a place at university by the age of 19 and one in three being classed as ‘Neet’ (not in education, employment or training).

The NCAS has called for councils to include more focused career advice when they draw up education plans for looked-after children.

Senior policy manager Linda Briheim-Crookall said: “Local authorities need to do more to embed the concept of career planning linked to personal education plans.

“Looked-after children face the double jeopardy of poor GCSE outcomes combined with a lack of training and employment opportunities as they become adults. Too many care leavers end up in low-skilled work or on benefits into their early twenties.”

The NCAS runs the From Care2Work programme, which supports councils to improve education, training and career prospects for care leavers.

The end of the Future Jobs Fund, which offered training placements for care leavers, makes the role of councils even more important in helping care leavers secure work, adds Briheim-Crookall.