Countdown to Reservations End Date
This conference will bring together key stakeholders with policymakers to examine priorities and next steps for improving support for care leavers.
The discussion at a glance:
• local offers for care leavers - implementation by local authorities
• the Care Leavers Covenant and the new Social Value Toolkit - next steps
• COVID-19 - the impact on mental health and future prospects for care leavers
• support - funding, and local authority services for care leavers, in a challenging economy.
Context and key issues at a glance:
• COVID-19 - government funding and initiatives to aid young people in the wake of the pandemic, targeting support for vulnerable children, remote study, and those at risk of homelessness
• Local offers - publication by each local authority for young people leaving care, which include personal advisors up until the age of 25
• Employment concerns - the impact of the pandemic and economic downturn on young people and disadvantaged groups, access to career guidance, and continuity of apprenticeships
• Higher education - DfE’s Principles to guide HE providers on improving care leavers access and participation, looking at support before entering HE, and financial and accommodation help networks
• Mental health - Barnardo’s research showing worsening mental health in children and young people during the lockdown, and rises in isolation and self-harm
• Long-term wellbeing - UCL research finding long term impact on health suffered by those who have grown up in care.
The discussion in detail:
Experience of COVID-19 amongst care leavers and ensuring support moving forward
• effectiveness - assessing government measures aiming to aid vulnerable young people and key lessons that can be learnt
• policy priorities - for supporting care leavers, and local authorities caring for them, in adapting to the new normal and recovering from the effects of the pandemic.
Assessing progress: the Care Leavers Covenant and the future role of the Social Value Toolkit
• implementation - of a joined-up network of support for care leavers, since:
◦ launch of the Care Leaver Covenant, which set out to support care leavers aged 16-25 into independent living and improve their outcomes
◦ the DfE’s Keep on Caring strategy was put in place
• encouraging take-up - raising young people’s awareness of opportunities offered by the Covenant, backed by employers, charities and all central government departments, in key areas including:
◦ preparation - for living independently, achieving financial stability and having improved access to employment, training and education
◦ wellbeing - feeling safe, secure and stable in their lives with access to health support that they need
• the Social Value Toolkit - aiming to support a whole local council approach, and incorporation of social value objectives into procurement processes to secure core outcomes of the Covenant through:
◦ engagement - putting care leavers at the centre of their procurement processes
◦ coordination - creating a Whole Council Forum for taking forward the aims of the Covenant and supporting an integrated response.
• implementation - current local authority provision, developing best practice models, and implementation across different areas, including:
◦ joining up - development of whole local authority approaches which include each area of the council
◦ funding - the financial impact on local authorities
◦ improving provision - steps being taken by local authorities, such as through the Innovation Fund
• partnerships - developing effective and coordinated working relationships with education providers, health and housing services and charities to create a platform for young people leaving care.
Supporting care leavers into employment and higher education post-pandemic
• progress and priorities - examining measures put in place so far, how to provide effective and relevant careers advice for those leaving care - and key priorities moving forward
• support - the effectiveness of measures such as the ESFA apprenticeships bursary for care leavers, which aims to remove barriers to accessing apprenticeships
• further options - possible additional measures to be taken to support care leavers into employment
• internships - progress in the Government’s aim of providing 1,000 one-year paid internships for care leave by March 2022
• further and higher education providers - the role they can play in supporting care leavers, and in improving HE access and participation.
• Improving provision for care leavers - key policy priorities
• The experience of supporting care leavers through COVID-19 and lessons learned - maintaining contact, access to technology, the impact of emergency legislation, and future prospects
• Implementing key measures for supporting young people leaving care
◦ What next for the Care Leaver Covenant?
◦ Social Value Toolkit - developing a ‘whole-council approach’ to secure the core outcomes of the Care Leavers Covenant
◦ Implementing local offers and developing effective multi-agency partnerships
• Providing effective and relevant careers advice for those leaving care
• Improving outcomes for care leavers - transition to further and higher education, entering the job market post-COVID-19, and ensuring support until 25
• Inspecting the standard of support for care leavers.
Policy officials attending:
These forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders. Places have been reserved by officials from the Department for Education and the DWP.
This is a full-scale conference taking place online:
• full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording to refer back to
• information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
• conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
• speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - full details will be provided)
• opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
• a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
• delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
• networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact.
Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference.