Launch of the Care Leavers Support Portal to all Local Authorities across the Country
Posted 29th October 2021
As lockdown was imposed in March 2020, it became apparent that there was a need to ensure that young people leaving care were still able to access important information as well as stay connected. The Department for Education and The National House Project discussed ways in which care leavers were being engaged and how it could be improved. As a result, The House Project was asked to develop an online support platform for care leavers, which would then be made available to every Local Authority across the country.
For Local Authorities to meet their ‘corporate parenting’ responsibilities, they must be both approachable and accessible in ways that are meaningful to care leavers. They must have a way of providing information, support, and advice that is current, engaging, and which recognises the needs of individuals who will require support of different forms at various stages of their lives.
The transition from childhood to independent and successful adulthood can be a challenge for most people, but for those young people in and leaving care; they can be faced with additional challenges in achieving this major milestone. The Care Leavers Support Portal is an online platform that will help overcome these hurdles and has been designed to be rolled out to every Local Authority and personalised with their own individual brand and includes their regional resources. These will then be made available to its young people to provide information and access to local services, events, network with fellow care leavers and receive much needed support during their journey on a digital and accessible level.
The development of the Care Leavers Support Portal, whilst triggered by the need to connect with young people during lockdown restrictions, will become an additional vehicle to engage and support care leavers to live connected and fulfilling lives.
Mark Warr, CEO of the National House Project said “Whilst this platform will not replace more traditional and direct interventions, if the past 18 months has taught us anything, it is that there are times and factors out of our control where young people may not be able to be physically present. Having an online portal with easy access to information and resources as well as offering a way of connecting care leavers ensures that whatever the circumstances that are currently affecting young people or any that may arise, young people still have opportunities to engage in community support and stay connected, allowing them to gain confidence in themselves and their future."
The Care Leavers Support Portal can also provide much needed work experience for care leavers. Young people involved in the Care Leavers Support Portal development have said “it would be a fantastic opportunity for a care experienced apprentice’’ within each Local authority, to be involved within the administration of each bespoke platform; managing the access to care leavers, updating resources and key contacts and the flow of requests for services, "This will provide work experience and life skills for their future careers."
The Department for Education has funded the platform development and the first year will be free to Local authorities. As a charity, The National House Project is seeking to secure funding beyond the first year so that it will remain a free service.
Mark Riddell MBE, National Adviser for Care Leavers said “The impact of being care experienced does not stop at 18 or 21. Being connected to services and to each other supports care leavers to be part of the community. The Portal provides a way to support those connections and adds to the scaffolding that enables young people to succeed.”
To find out more, how you can help or if you are a Local Authority wanting access to the Portal please visit https://careleaversupport.thehouseproject.org/
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