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Amplifying the Voices of Care Leavers

Published: 05/04/2024

Author: Melissa Kirkup

Supporting care experienced young people - NLCBF event

We recently had the privilege of attending the National Leaving Care Benchmarking Forum event in Leeds, a coming together of Local Authorities and care experienced young people.

Our highlight was hearing from the Young Person's Benchmarking Forum. Here, we had the opportunity to engage in insightful discussions and hear first-hand accounts from young people about their experiences and challenges. It was heartening to witness their resilience and determination to overcome obstacles and pursue their dreams. 

During the event, the spotlight was firmly on initiatives which can support and create opportunities, such as the National House Project. From volunteering roles to apprenticeships, it was evident that care leavers can achieve great things when given the chance. 

It was sobering, though, to be reminded of the obstacles they face. From a lack of support during the interview process to dealing with stigma and stereotypes in the workplace, care leavers encounter various hurdles on their journey to success. But, despite these challenges, their determination shines through, driving them to excel in their chosen paths. 

The forum also provided valuable insights into how opportunities can be more accessible to care leavers. Suggestions ranged from providing more support during the application process to offering practical assistance such as help with travel expenses. It's clear that there is still work to be done to level the playing field and ensure that all care leavers have equal access to opportunities. In addition to the thought-provoking discussions, the event featured stalls from organisations like Catch22, Young Energy Champions, and BECOME. It was great to see the wide range of support available to care leavers. 

Here at focusgov, our Care Leavers App and Digital Community Platform are co-produced with care experienced young people. We are unique in our approach to the Care Leavers App because our co-production with care leavers means the App becomes much more than a tool. By listening to their voices, giving them a platform to speak freely, and by working with them to produce a digital solution which will resonate with them, we are able to implement meaningful change through our digital transformation tools. And we will continue to work with partners to ensure our Care Leavers App remains relevant.