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Hertfordshire County Council cements its support for care leavers

The Care Leaver Covenant has gained a new signatory as Hertfordshire County Council pledged its continued commitment to support care leavers as they continue their journey to live independently.

As part of its commitment, the County Council is calling on local businesses, organisations, districts and borough councils to also sign up. Encouraging local employers and housing providers to reach out to these young adults by offering support and opportunities as they take their next steps into adulthood.

Fiona Thomson, Executive Member for Children, Young people and Families, said: “We know that our care leavers face additional challenges as they transition to adulthood: living independently, often with little family or community support. Many care-experience people say that discrimination has also contributed to negative outcomes in their lives. Our care leavers have told us that it’s important that we sign up to the National Care Leaver Covenant, which we are able to do now that we have found a way to offer council tax reimbursement for them until the age of 21.”

The National Care Leaver Covenant is a promise made by the private, public and voluntary sectors to provide support for care leavers aged 16-25 to help them live successful lives. The covenant pertains to all areas which impact on care leavers’ opportunities to thrive, including housing support, training and employment, work experience, or partnerships with local businesses.

Signing the Care Leaver Covenant is one element of the Council’s commitment to improve outcomes for care leavers. Recently, Hertfordshire agreed to treat care experience as a protected characteristic. This means that when policies and services are developed, it will assess the impact of these on people with care experience making sure that they are not negatively impacted by decisions taken.

Fiona continued, “As the corporate parents for children and young people in our care, it’s important that we lead the way and encourage all those we work with to look at how their practice and policies are impacting care leavers and encourage them to do all they can to support people leaving care. By working together, we can build bright futures for our care leavers.”

As well as The Local Offer for Care Leavers, Hertfordshire County Council has recently extended the lifelong links programme; strengthening contact with people important to them to create support networks and providing stability. It has also expanded the Care Leaver Service to provide personal advisors with more capacity and time to dedicate to the young people and the popular Ohana support group for care experience young parents.

Useful contacts and links

The Local Offer of Care Leavers
Lifelong Links Programme
Ohana support group