Guest of Honour

Linda Briheim-Crookall Head of Policy and Practice Development, Coram Voice and Co-Chair, The Alliance for Children in Care and Care Leavers

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Overview

Being held just over a year on from the publication of the Government’s Care Leaver Strategy, Keep On Caring: Supporting Young People from Care to Independence, this forum will be an opportunity for policymakers and delegates alike to discuss how to ensure the best future for children and young people leaving care, highlight areas for improvement, share best practice nationally as well as discuss the way forward for implementation and continuation of the Government’s vision for care leavers.

Adequate Preparation for Leaving Care – The Role of Personal Advisers, Establishing Pathways Plans and Implementing the Care Leavers Strategy

Being held two years on from the Public Accounts Committee inquiry into Care leavers' transition to adulthood, which outlined concerns about DfE’s reluctance to play an active role in securing better services and outcomes for children in care, delegates will consider whether there have been improvements made by the department, if the Government’s recent care leaver strategy goes far enough to address past concerns as well as assess the current quality of Pathway Plans and how to improve them. As Government has committed to review the role of Personal Advisers, sessions will consider their responsibilities, whether they have adequate support to fulfil these effectively and assess the quality of current provision being given. Delegates will also discuss whether there is an opportunity for care leavers to become Personal Advisers, given their unique experience of the care system, and assess possible routes into this role. Attendees will also assess the potential influence of the ‘care leaver covenant’, proposed in the Government’s Putting Children First policy paper, in ensuring all those involved in children’s residential care assume the responsibility of corporate parenting with care leavers’ best interests at heart.

Ensuring Support Beyond 18 – The Impact of Staying Put, Providing Adequate Accommodation and Overcoming Other Common Issues

With many young people receiving support from their parents well into their 20s, sessions will also look at what needs to be done by the state to ensure young people leaving care are given the best support available. The session will focus on some of the issues facing young people leaving care and what needs to be done to overcome them, particularly looking at financial and residential difficulties. Delegates will consider, given that many care leavers end up in unsuitable accommodation, what support could be given to these young adults, including calls for care leavers to be exempt from council tax until they reach age 21, as well as what more can be done to ensure children in care receive sufficient financial education and support, building on recommendations from the recent report by The Children’s Society, The cost of being care free. Delegates will also discuss the impact of Staying Put, which allows care leavers to stay with their foster families until they are 21, and consider whether the policy is adequately funded given that some foster carers are unable to continue support beyond 18 because of the 70% reductions in the payments they receive. Delegates will also consider the outcomes from the Staying Close pilot, as proposed by Sir Martin Narey in his review of Children’s residential care in England. Delegates will also consider the impact of the extension of pathway plans and Personal Advisers to 25 on ensuring care leavers are adequately supported into adulthood.

Positive Pathways After Care – Opportunities for Work and Study, The Role of Apprenticeships and Reducing Representation in Custody

With almost 40% of care leavers being out of education, employment or training, sessions will also discuss what more can be done to ensure positive outcomes for those leaving care, whether it is progression to further study or entering the workplace. Delegates will consider what Government, schools and employers can do to provide more vocational opportunities for care leavers, building on the recommendations from the Children’s Commissioner’s recent report Delivering a Care Leaver’s Strategy for Traineeships and Apprenticeships, given that care leavers aged 19-21 eight times less likely to be apprentices than the general population. Delegates will also assess the success of Buttle UK’s Quality Mark for Care Leavers in increasing the number of care leavers attending university and raising awareness of the support available, and consider whether similar schemes may be beneficial going forward. Attendees will also discuss what can be done about the significant overrepresentation of care leavers in the justice system, including how much progress has been made since the publication of Lord Laming’s Independent Review, In Care, Out of Trouble.


Agenda
Start

08:30 - 09:00
Registration

 

09:00 - 09:05
Chair's Welcoming Remarks

 
To be announced

09:05 - 09:35
Priorities for Care Leavers

 
Questions, Comments and Discussion

Speakers

Linda Briheim-Crookall Head of Policy and Practice Development, Coram Voice and Co-Chair, The Alliance for Children in Care and Care Leavers

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09:35 - 10:30
Care Innovations and System Reform: Improving Outcomes and Empowering Care Leavers

 
  • Just over a year on, how well are the recommendations from Keep on Caring being implemented? To what extent has corporate parenting become everyone’s responsibility? How well are national and local governments meeting the legal and moral obligations of being a good corporate parent?
  • Why is there such a need for reform in the sector and in what ways has The Children’s Social Care Innovation programme, and the associated investment, resulted in new ways of providing the care that looked after children require?
  • Is there an understanding amongst policymakers and practitioners that there is no “one size fits all” model? What is being done to ensure that looked after young people are involved in the decision making process and feel empowered to make the most appropriate life choices for them both in the present and in the future?
  • How vital is it that the public sector collaborate with voluntary organisations and how are private companies being encouraged to help by offering the employment opportunities care leavers need? Is a culture of corporate parenting being implemented as well as hoped?

Questions, Comments and Discussion


10:30 - 10:35
Chair's Closing Comments

 
To be announced

10:35 - 11:05
Refreshment and Networking Break

 

11:05 - 12:00
Preparation for Independent Living: Supporting Care Leavers through Transition

 

  • What needs to be done to ensure that young people in care are given the opportunities to develop the full range of life skills, such as budgeting, cookery and household chores, required to successfully transition to independent living and adulthood? As well as general life skills, what needs to be done to meet the emotional needs of young people preparing to move into independent accommodation, prepare them for adulthood and help them to build the necessary resilience and self-confidence to succeed? 
  • What are the unique challenges faced by looked after children when they turn 18 and what are the key priorities for making the transition easier?
  • How has the introduction of the ‘Staying Put’ duty supported young adults in care and what has the impact of this been? Whilst the ‘Staying Put’ duty allows young people to remain with their former foster carers to age 21, how does this compare with the experience of those in residential care when they reach 18? What more can be done to support those who choose not to remain with foster carers or who don’t have the choice?
  • Given that looked after children are much more likely to require mental health services, what extra considerations need to be taken into account to ensure that the transition from CAMHS to adult mental health services, which is likely to coincide with other life changes, is dealt with appropriately and efficiently? With some calling for the withdrawal from CAMHS to be extended to 25, is it necessary to have a flexibility surrounding these age restrictions and how could that work in practice?

Questions, Comments and Discussion


Speakers

Nicola Smith Policy Officer, Barnado's

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12:00 - 12:55
Positive Outcomes After Care: Housing, Health, Education, and Success in Adulthood

 
  • How effective are Pathway Plans in ensuring that young people who are leaving, or have left, care have a clear structure for their futures? How well do Pathway Plans reduce allow young people to live independently, limit variations in care and reduce the risk of social and financial exclusion, homelessness and crime?
  • How important is the role of dedicated personal advisors in providing practical and emotional support? Are they adequately able to provide the ‘one-stop shop’ young care leavers need to access the right help as easily and as possible?
  • How are care leavers protected from homelessness and how are local authorities obligated to ensure that young people leaving care are provided with safe and settled accommodation?
  • What mechanisms are in place to ensure that care leavers have access to education, employment and training? Why are care leavers so underrepresented in higher education, what practical and financial barriers do they face and what are universities doing to reduce them? 
  • Given the overrepresentation of care leavers in the criminal justice system, what is being done to reduce the criminalisation of children who, or have been, in care, support those at risk of offending and critically examine the factors which lead to these young people being involved in the criminal justice system and why they aren’t being prevented. What examples of best practice are there which demonstrate how positive action can have a lasting impact on the lives of children leaving care?

Questions, Comments and Discussion



Speakers

Oliver Studdert Partner, Public Law Team, Simpson Millar LLP

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Lucy Capron Public Affairs Manager, The Children’s Society

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Katy Swaine Williams Senior Project Officer, Prison Reform Trust

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Chloe Cockett Policy and Research Manager, Become

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12:55 - 13:00
Chair's Final Remarks

 
To be announced

End

Speakers

Linda Briheim-Crookall Head of Policy and Practice Development, Coram Voice and Co-Chair, The Alliance for Children in Care and Care Leavers

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Lucy Capron Public Affairs Manager, The Children’s Society

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Chloe Cockett Policy and Research Manager, Become

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Nicola Smith Policy Officer, Barnado's

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Oliver Studdert Partner, Public Law Team, Simpson Millar LLP

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Katy Swaine Williams Senior Project Officer, Prison Reform Trust

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Venue details

Central London


Speakers
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