Social value: care leavers and Care Leavers Covenant (CLC)

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Why is the Care Leavers Covenant important?

A care leaver is a young person between the ages 16-25 who lived in care for a minimum of 13 weeks since their fourteenth birthday. In the UK, there are on average 10,000 care leavers per year. Typically, most children in care do not leave until they turn 18 but, due to a variety of circumstances, some choose to leave their foster home as early as 16.

The Care Leavers Covenant (CLC) aims to provide additional support for those leaving care and make available a different type of support and expertise from what local authorities statutorily provide.

Surrey County Council is planning to sign the CLC because we want to improve how we and local businesses in Surrey support care leavers. We need help to make this happen. As a local authority, all employees and elected members have corporate parenting responsibilities towards looked after children and care leavers. See Children and Social Work Act 2017

What are we trying to achieve?

Through supporting the CLC, we are trying to create meaningful opportunities for care leavers in five key areas, and support them to access those opportunities:

  1. Creating more employment, education and training opportunities within Surrey County Council and our supply chains
  2. Economic development
  3. Creating opportunities through social value activity
  4. Promoting a 'whole-authority' approach to corporate parenting
  5. Enhancing health and wellbeing

What practical things can you do?

Read the Care Leavers Covenant and see how you may be able to support:

After speaking to care leavers in Surrey and our colleagues who work with them, these are some of the things they would find most helpful.

  • Mentoring support for care leavers. Mentoring, providing support and advice on a range of topics, including financial, legal, HR marketing advice, health and safety, first aid.
  • Money management advice for care leavers. Money management tips and guidance, how to save, budget and open a bank account.
  • Cultural events for care leavers. Free tickets and concessions to cultural events, leisure provision and sports activities.
  • Care leavers and handy person's guidance. Producing handy person's guidance for young people living in semi-independent and own flat. such as advice with who to call if you have a flood/washing machine break down.
  • Support with recruitment of new foster carers. Support the council with recruitment of new foster carers (care experienced children and young persons), for example through online awareness campaigns.

How can we measure our impact?

We can measure the impact of social value on care leavers most effectively by asking them to describe what they feel has been the most positive change for them.

Here are some additional things we might want to measure:

  • Care leavers feel more confident in managing their money.
  • They feel more confident and positive about themselves and their abilities after our engagement with them.
  • A greater percentage of care leavers are in education, employment or training.
  • Someone has done something that they couldn't or wouldn't previously have done, such as fixed a shelf, made a phone call, or submitted a CV.

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