So what is National Care Leavers Week?
National Care Leavers Week gives young care leavers the opportunity to challenge the perceptions given to them and raise awareness of the issues those in care face, whilst also celebrating the incredible things many go on to achieve. Organised by Become, a national charity for children in care and young care leavers, this year they are calling on everyone to CARE:
- Celebrate care leavers
- Amplify their voices
- Raise awareness of challenges
- Encourage change in policy and practice.
Why is it important?
Think about where you were when you were at 18. For most, reaching the age of 18 should be a celebration, a rite of passage as you transition into adulthood, whilst still having the safety net of your family.
But for care leavers, this time can be anything but a celebration.
Turning 18 changes their status. This means they must legally leave the care system and move on from wherever they were living, often with little support and regardless of whether they are emotionally ready.
For some, this could mean staying in hostels or sofa surfing if their unable to find accommodation.
Here are just three ways you can help:
- Amplify the voices of care experienced people by liking, commenting and sharing the social media content this week. Search the hashtag #NCLW
- Explore becoming a mentor for a young person in or leaving care, helping us to build a stable community around them.
- Explore making a regular donation to support Break’s services so we can continue to be there for them in the way they really need, for as long as they need.
With limited choices available to around the 10,000 young people who leave care each year in England, they are over three times more likely than their peers to be not in education, employment or training, and it’s estimated that 26% of the homeless population have care experience.
However, many go on to achieve incredible things, working past the stereotypes and the stigma with their resilience and determination shining through – and this is what our young care leavers will be sharing here with you throughout the week.
Giving Lifelong Support
Thanks to the opportunities that our young care leavers have been given through Break, many have gone on to do some incredible things. From gaining confidence and becoming trained Baristas thanks to our CoffeeBreak van, to taking on media interviews and courageously talking about their experience, to being part of the Children Commissioners Care Experienced Advisory Board helping to feed into government policy on care leavers.
It's projects such as Break’s Staying Close, Staying Connected that gives them the chance to do this. By supporting young care leavers both practically and emotionally, we provide them with good quality, safe housing and give opportunities to help them find their talents and passions whilst they navigate the complex road to independence.
And sometimes that road can take unexpected twists and turns, as it would for anyone as they grow and find out who they are. That’s why we have our unique lifelong offer which means there will always be someone there for them when it’s needed most.