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Report on financial education for care leavers welcomed

The Who Cares? Trust has welcomed the publication this week of the report The Cost of Being Care Free which examines the impact of poor financial education and the impact of removal of support on care leavers.

Natasha Finlayson, Chief Executive of The Who Cares? Trust, said of the report findings: “Time and again we hear directly from care experienced young people who are preparing for independence that they do not feel they’ve received the basic financial education that enables them to manage as well as they could when they leave care. Indeed, nearly 15 per cent of the calls from young people that the Trust’s Care Advice Line receive are from young people who are concerned about finance. Whether this be finding the right bank account or struggling to navigate the complicated benefit system or job market, we cannot abandon young people without the skills to achieve their potential.

“Children learn money skills from those who care for them, and in school, so carers and other professionals who work with children in care and care leavers must be given the time and skills to pass on that knowledge. Poor money management skills can result in care leavers reaching crisis points frequently, and local authorities have to spend their sparse resources supporting care leavers at that point, rather than helping when a problem first arises. Our children are the best investment we can make, and we must do it now. Society simply cannot continue to prioritise cure over prevention when it comes to children in care and care leavers.

“Care experienced young people deserve the opportunity to flourish as they enter independence but instead, without traditional family support networks, they are left to face benefit sanctions, the possibility of homelessness, and lack of support in finding work, education, or further training, by the people who are their corporate parents.”

The Who Cares? Trust publishes On the money: how to manage your money before it manages you, a guide to support care experienced young people with their finance.