Harnessing peer support key to reducing homelessness in care leavers

Harnessing the support of those who have experienced the care system and homelessness is key to making the changes needed to prevent care leavers falling off the ‘care cliff’ and becoming homeless in the future, identifies a report from Public Health Wales.

Care experienced individuals are a vulnerable group who have to deal with significant and multiple challenges in their lives. This also puts them in in the best position to offer support and advice to services to ensure they meet the needs of those about to leave care.

Transitioning from care is a key period in a young person’s life and is often associated with poor outcomes in areas such as health, education, housing and employment, with around a quarter of young homeless people having had care experience.

Approximately 650 children leave their care placement in Wales each year, a figure that has increased by approximately 15 per cent since 2011. While the majority move to suitable accommodation, over one in 20 move to unsuitable accommodation. When followed up on their nineteenth birthday, almost two in every five of those with care experience were not engaged in either education, employment or training and nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of them had obtained no qualifications.

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