Provision for Young Care Leavers at Risk of Homelessness

Following a request from the Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty, the Public Policy Institute for Wales (PPIW) commissioned Anna Whalen to provide advice and analysis on the provision for young care leavers who are at risk of becoming homeless in Wales.

The report identifies that the effectiveness of joint working between Housing and Children’s Service and Supporting People provision for care leavers varies considerably across Wales. It states that whist the new homelessness legislation provides an opportunity to prevent homelessness amongst care leavers through earlier joint planning, the provision provided by Supporting People and the new ‘When I am Ready’ scheme will not be enough to provide the level of support required for all care leavers, particularly those with complex and multiple needs.

The report recommends that:

  • improved data collection and analysis would help increase national and local understanding of homelessness for this group and assist in commissioning;
  • preparation for independence, including financial literacy and expectation management are key factors to address;
  • the importance of consistent support from a trusted adult cannot be over-stated in terms of what can make a difference to care leavers’ success as young adults;
  • a national framework or ‘pathway’ for accommodation and support could help improve the consistency of provision of services to this group across Wales;
  • the Government could take more measures to eliminate the use of unsuitable accommodation for this group;
  • joint commissioning could reduce the probability of poor outcomes for care leavers, including periods of homelessness and reduce long term costs to the public purse across health, criminal justice, welfare, social care and housing sectors;
  • there are numerous examples of innovation across local authorities, Third Sector agencies and housing associations. Sharing of what works well is a key factor in reducing homelessness and improving a range of outcomes for care leavers.