Great to speak with @FelicityHannah earlier on @BBCRadio4 @Moneybox (alongside the fab @CWilson200 and others) about financial support for young adults leaving care.

You can listen back here: bbc.co.uk/programmes/m00…
Inevitably there's never enough time to cover everything on a topic in under 30 minutes, so a few important points I may or may not have had the time to cover on the air below...
Young people describe leaving care to us @Become1992 as the 'care cliff'.

Almost overnight, they experience an abrupt shift from professional control over everyday decisions to suddenly being responsible for managing your own finances and everything else in early adulthood.
I covered some of the main financial entitlements care leavers receive, but normal expenses are going to be covered by employment or benefits as is the case for most of us.

The big difference is the lack of a 'safety net' that comes with being in care or having family support.
We hear consistently that lots of these financial entitlements aren't sufficient or flexible enough.

Let's take the Setting Up Home Allowance as an example.

£2000 is the recommended (not minimum) amount; this is based on a 2011 survey and hasn't been updated since.
Young people struggle to get carpets, a washing machine, a bed. It might cost more than the budget for that item on the inventory list. It might be from the wrong place. It might take weeks or longer to get authorised.
One of the most egregious examples I heard was someone telling me they got denied use of their Allowance to buy tea towels.


It's about time we give care leavers the funding and the freedom they deserve to make decisions about what's best for their lives.
Chantelle who contributed to the programme spoke about how her Allowance was used for an accommodation deposit.

This. Should. Never. Happen.

Guidance is really clear on this, but if I had a penny for the number of times the @Become1992 team see this, I'd have... many pennies.
For Universal Credit - despite care leavers' much earlier journeys into independent living, they're expected to live on the lower rate for under 25s.

Providing access to the 25+ rate would align with existing welfare policy (e.g. see recent SAR exemption extension).
A universal solution would also reach those who need it most and is a much better idea than boosting entitlements via patchy LA delivery.

It would be a really great *actual* output from the cross-governmental Care Leaver Board [nudge nudge].
Postcode lotteries exacerbate existing inequalities, make it harder for young people to navigate their rights & entitlements, and create artificial and unnecessary place-based limitations.

Greater national consistency in leaving care support would be welcome (paging @reviewCSC).
It's great that universities are providing fantastic support for care-experienced students, but this shouldn't be seen as a *replacement* for the support which should be provided by the local authority as a corporate parent.
I think I mentioned @UniOfYork, @sunderlanduni and @KingstonUni as a few examples but there are many more.

Do check out propel.org.uk to see what institutions offer and speak to @Become1992's fantastic FE/HE Advice Officer @dekota89.
Just to reinforce the point I mentioned re: proportion of care leavers who were formerly unaccompanied asylum-seeking young people, see the data below. Really important to consider this for any (financial) service or support offer to care leavers!

One thing I didn't get the chance to talk about was the role of financial education in all of this.

A reminder: *you can't budget your way out of poverty!*

Despite this, too much rhetoric and action tends to focus on budgeting skills and misses the crucial stuff.
It also ignores that care leavers are some of the most financially-savvy folks around and would put lots of @Moneybox listeners to shame.

Let's not celebrate this as 'resilience' but reflect on why the system puts thousands of young people into that position each year.
Returning to the UC point above - lots of public services touch on care leavers' lives more directly than others, but health, housing, welfare etc have all been crippled by austerity. Children's social care problems don't always mean children's social care solutions!
As I said in the final top tip: remember you're not alone and there are people who will fight your corner.


Appreciated having the opportunity to squeeze in a final radio appearance before I start my final(!!) day with @Become1992 tomorrow.

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More from @samtrner

10 Jan
After a fab 3+ years with @Become1992, sad to say that this week will be my last week!

I've learned absolutely loads in my time here and owe a huge amount of gratitude to everyone who's shared their knowledge, time and support.💜
Very excited to be starting a new external affairs role with the brilliant @kinshipcharity on Monday next week.

Particularly glad to be staying in the children and families policy space and continue campaigning alongside many familiar faces when I'm there!
Will always have an enormous amount of appreciation and respect particularly for all of the care-experienced young people and young adults who have so kindly shared their time and expertise with me. You and everything you've shared will not be forgotten.
Read 5 tweets
18 Nov 21
Thread time again. 🧵

New annual DfE stats are out on children in care and care leavers today from the SSDA903 collection. I haven’t been on Twitter much recently, but folks seemed to find this helpful last year so…

The big message: there was a pandemic and turns out it had a significant impact on national trends in children’s social care.

Almost everything for the year ending 31 March 2021 needs a ‘Covid lens’ so we don’t draw too many year-on-year conclusions which won’t be maintained.
Overall, the numbers of children in care have grown again, albeit slightly less than in recent years.

There are now 80,850 children in care in England – an all-time high – and continuing a pattern of year-on-year growth since 2008.
Read 23 tweets
10 Dec 20
Thread time. 🧵

1/ New annual DfE stats are out on children in care and care leavers today from the SSDA903 collection.


You'll notice the new EES dashboard which makes exploring them at a glance much easier!

I wanted to share a few key things...
2/ As expected, there's been an increase in the number of children in care, up by 2% from 2019 to 80,080.

That's a little lower than the estimate (81,700) made in @ADCStweets's recent interim report: adcs.org.uk/safeguarding/a… Image
3/ Rate of growth has slowed a little - previous year-on-year increases were 4%, 4% and 3%.

But that's still continuing a consistent increase in numbers in a system at crisis point.

Since 2009, the number of children in care has increased by 31%. Image
Read 15 tweets

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