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NCJ Number: 204196 Find in a Library
Title: Overview of the U.K. Leaving Care Debate: Graduating From the Child Welfare System
Journal: Youth Studies Australia  Volume:22  Issue:4  Dated:December 2003  Pages:37-43
Author(s): Philip Mendes; Badal Moslehuddin
Date Published: December 2003
Page Count: 7
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: Australia
Annotation: This paper explores the debate in the United Kingdom regarding improving outcomes for young people leaving state care.
Abstract: Historically, youth who leave state care have been provided with insufficient resources to properly care for themselves, leading to many deleterious outcomes such as involvement in juvenile crime, prostitution, and early parenthood. This group is already disadvantaged and many are still suffering from the physical, sexual, and emotional abuse that led them to state care in the first place. The transition to independence happens suddenly and usually occurs between the ages of 16 and 18 for state wards. This is contrasted to other youth who typically reside in their homes of origin until they are in their early 20’s and transition to independence over a long period of time. This type of safety net of continued parental support is nonexistent for youth under state care. The famously poor outcomes for youth leaving state care spurred the Children Act of 1989, which imposed expectations on local care authorities regarding after-care, support, financial assistance, accommodation, and representation for youth leaving state care. However, the discretionary nature of the Act led to wide variations in the financial and other supports offered to young people. Formal leaving-care policies were still lacking. With the election of the Blair Labour Government in 1997, the Children Act 2000 was passed with the goal of extending the duties and powers of the earlier Children Act. Local authorities, under the 2000 Act have the obligation to assess the needs of all young people in care. The development of a Pathway Plan must be prepared for each youth as a map to delivering the targeted care found necessary through the individual needs assessment. Another Act, the Homelessness Act in 2002, further sought to protect the interests of care-leaving youth by mandating that local housing authorities provide support for local youth at risk and prioritize the needs of care-leavers. The article next focuses on the care-leaving situation in Australia, where concern for this group of youths began much later than in the United Kingdom. Debate still festers around this issue in both the United Kingdom and Australia, where unfortunately this issue is still couched in economic and budgetary concerns. References
Main Term(s): Adolescents at risk; State aid
Index Term(s): Australia; Juvenile Aftercare; Juvenile shelter care; Long-term care institutions; United Kingdom (UK)
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