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A further drive to supporting care leavers

Early years and childcare

22 September 2023

silhouettes of two children

This week West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) has strengthened its commitment to supporting people who have been in care, by signing up to two national initiatives aimed at reducing barriers and tackling discrimination for care leavers.

The Council has signed up to the Care Leaver Covenant, to formally pledge our commitment to support those who leave care aged between 16 to 25 to live independently. As part of the Council’s commitment to the covenant and those leaving care, will see additional support provided; making available a different type of support from that statutorily provided by local authorities to enhance opportunities and improve outcomes for care experienced individuals.

This follows on from this week’s Cabinet meeting where Councillors agreed to support and treat care leavers as a protected characteristic until such time it becomes legislation, joining a number of other Local Authorities across the country. This step forward will mean that future decisions, services, and policies made and adopted by the Council will be assessed to determine the impact of changes on people with care experience alongside those who formally share a protected characteristic. As well as, continuing to proactively seek out and listen to the voices of care-experienced people when in decision making.  

These are both great initiatives that I am confident are going to make a difference to outcomes for our care leavers. We know that care leavers can often face prejudice, discrimination and challenges in accessing support, all of which I have heard first hand from our care leavers and am really passionate that we tackle.

Signing up to these initiatives is just the start and we will be working hard to ensure robust actions are in place to embed this important change and drive it forward. I hope by us signing up to these as a Council, and by starting to bring about these changes internally will further support conversations with partners to encourage them to do the same.
Cllr Fiona Baker, Cabinet Member for Children’s, Families, Education and Skills at West Northamptonshire Council
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