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Transition from care in Europe: Part 1

by Gary Roberts on 23rd November 2016

Home -> Articles -> 2016 -> November -> Transition from care in Europe: Part 1

As Transition to Independence month for 2016 draws to a close, it’s timely to look at approaches in other countries. Become (formerly The Who Cares Trust) undertakes similar work to CREATE and organisations for children and young people in care and care leavers in the UK. Not surprisingly, their work focuses on the same ‘big issues’ for children and young people in care and leaving care as in other countries – belonging and identity, contact, education, employment and training, finance, mental wellbeing, placement stability, and rights and entitlements.

Check out Understanding Permanence for Looked After Children: a review of research for the Care Inquiry, which emphasised the need for a broader and better differentiated understanding of permanence, spanning the diversity of children’s needs and circumstances, and relative to constraints on the supply of placements that can offer legal permanence. Whether children remain in care until adulthood, or return to their birth parents either in childhood or in early adulthood when leaving care, planning must take account of children’s wishes to ensure a sense of belonging and the best possible care. What matters is quality and relationships!

Another agency, the European Social Network, promotes knowledge exchange among local public social services to contribute to effective policy development, including around support services for young people in care. A recent report, Investing in children’s services, improving outcomes, looked at young people leaving care at 18 years across 14 European countries. In most countries (eg. UK, Germany, France), young people are required to be supported until at least 21 years. In Romania, young people can remain in care until they are 26, if they continue in education or are considered to be vulnerable to marginalisation. In Poland, young care leavers who turn 18 have an ‘empowerment guardian’ who drafts an individual empowerment plan with them. Access the report from this link.

Watch out for next week’s article on educational pathway programs that seek to redress poorer education and employment prospects for young people in care in Europe.

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