Brighter futures for young care leavers in Sheffield

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Vulnerable young people leaving council care could have brighter futures thanks to a new project in Sheffield.

Sheffield is one of nine local authorities which have signed up to the Government-funded New Belongings scheme, which, if successful, will then be rolled out to other areas.

Small expert teams from the Care Leavers’ Foundation will work with social workers, communities and young people to improve ways of supporting care leavers.

Many care leavers are at risk of unemployment, poverty, homelessness, mental health issues and drug and alcohol misuse.

Improving how local authorities support them is key to improving their lives, through services which are integrated and easy to access.

Care leavers will be encouraged to talk about what does and does not currently work.

Janet Rich, from the foundation, said: “Care leavers have already had a difficult start in life and independence at an early age can be incredibly difficult.

“If we are serious about these vulnerable individuals getting the start in life they deserve, we need to see a real shift in terms of support.

“This project will work intensively with a small number of authorities, to set the bar high on how we help care leavers become independent, successful adults.

“I am pleased Sheffield Council is working with us to make a long-term difference.”

Edward Timpson, minister for children and families, met council social workers at the scheme’s launch.

He said: “I regularly meet with a group of care leavers - they were behind the concept of New Belongings, which we are delighted to fund.

“They will play a central role in making the project work.”