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Day 18: End the Care Cliff 

On Day 18 of each month, to mark the age at which young people are made to leave care (often before they're ready), we're raising awareness and taking action to #EndTheCareCliff

Day 18 will be back soon

Day 18 and our #EndTheCareCliff campaign will be back in the new year. Watch this space!

In the meantime, have you seen our other campaign to keep children in care close to the people and places that matter to them?

Day 18: October


New figures published in the government’s annual Statutory Homelessness in England report show a steep rise in the numbers of young people leaving care aged 18-20 who experience homelessness or the threat of homelessness including:

⚠️ 33% increase in care leavers aged 18 – 20 facing homelessness over the last 4 years.

⚠️ 10.7% of all care leavers aged 18 to 20 in England presented as homeless or threatened with homelessness.

Read more stats & our full press release here.

Become is calling on the government to #EndTheCareCliff so that no young person needs to leave care before they’re ready.

Want to spread the word to help us #EndTheCareCliff? Please share our graphic (below) with your colleagues, friends, and family through your social media or offline (whatever you prefer!)

Simply right-click on the image and select ‘save’. Remember to tag us online and use our #EndTheCareCliff hashtag

What’s the Care Cliff?

It’s the drop in support for children in care when they reach 18. It’s when they’re expected to leave the foster home or children’s home where they’ve been living, end the relationships with the professionals who’ve cared for them and move into somewhere on their own.

What, actually on their 18th birthday?

Quite often. Rather than their 18th being a time to celebrate, it’s viewed with dread.

So they’re 18 and on their own?

Yes.  Some young people might have a Personal Advisor who can provide advice and information, but it’s not consistent. There’s no one significant at the end of the phone, someone they can drop in on or who can tide them over financially.

But they’re in shared accommodation …so it’s cheaper and more fun?

Many young people leaving care have experienced trauma, so living with others can sometimes be challenging for their mental health. Despite this, the majority will live in shared accommodation from the age of 18, sometimes having to share with older adults where they don’t feel safe or secure.

What about bills and furniture?

They have to sort that themselves. Most care leavers are given a setting up home allowance of £2,000 (although the amount depends on where they live in the country as it is decided by their Local Authority) and with that, they have to buy a cooker and carpet that fits, bedding, plates etc. Some Local Authorities even dictate what it can be spent on.

And do they go to work or uni?

Yes. They’re like any 18-year-old, but with all this added expectation and responsibility.

I was useless when I was 18. I couldn’t have done that!

Exactly. And you probably had family around you.  No young person should leave care before they’re ready. This is why we’re asking you to help us #EndtheCareCliff

Day 18: September

#EndTheCareCliff – don’t extend it!

Instead of action to #EndTheCareCliff, the Government are proposing that 16- and 17-year-olds placed in supported accommodation will not receive care.

This risks bringing the Care Cliff experienced by many young people at age 18 to age 16, before adulthood has even begun. We oppose this.

Earlier this month, we submitted our response to the Ofsted consultation on supported accommodation for older teenagers in care. You can read that here.

Want to spread the word to help us #EndTheCareCliff? Please share our graphic (below) with your colleagues, friends, and family through your social media or offline (whatever you prefer!)

Simply right-click on the image and select ‘save’. Remember to tag us online and use our #EndTheCareCliff hashtag

Day 18: August

For many young people aged 17 or 18, August is about A-Level results. Did they get the grades? Did they miss the mark? Is the path ahead clear …or clearing? It can be a stressful time.

But for young care leavers, August is all that and more. Because as they complete their exams and open their results, many are also grappling with paying bills, getting a home, working a job, and trying to be a teenager all at once, and all on their own, for the very first time.

Did you know...

Without government action to #EndTheCareCliff and ensure everyone has the right support for them, care-experienced young people will still not get the same opportunities to thrive and succeed at university as their peers.

Want to spread the word to help us #EndTheCareCliff? Please share our graphic (below) with your colleagues, friends, and family through your social media or offline (whatever you prefer!)

Simply right-click on the image and select ‘save’. Remember to tag us online and use our #EndTheCareCliff hashtag

BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour

Yesterday, our CEO Katharine Sacks-Jones and care-experienced young person, Kim Emenike, spoke on BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour about the challenges care-experienced young students face in accessing and achieving at university.

Help for care-experienced young people and the professionals supporting them

Day 18: July

On Day 18 of this month, to mark the age young people are made to leave care (mostly before they’re ready), we’re highlighting reactions to Joe Swash’s powerful film, which shone a light on the care system and the anxiety children in care feel as they approach their 18th birthday. That’s the day they age out of the care system and are expected to become independent overnight, having to leave their home and those who have cared for them. Young people we work with describe it as nearing ‘a cliff edge’, when care leaves them and ‘everything falls away’.  

Want to spread the word to help us #EndTheCareCliff? Please share our graphic (below) with your colleagues, friends, and family through your social media or offline (whatever you prefer!)

Simply right-click on the image and select ‘save’. Remember to tag us online and use our #EndTheCareCliff hashtag

Day 18: June

Exam season is tough. Being made to leave the care system, the place you’re living in, and the support structures you’re used to at the same time makes it even tougher.

So this month, to mark the age young people are made to leave care (often before they’re ready), we’re highlighting the stress and instability many young care leavers are currently going through during exams – and that it doesn’t need to be this way.

Want to spread the word to help us #EndTheCareCliff? Please share our graphic (below) with your colleagues, friends, and family through your social media or offline (whatever you prefer!)

Simply right-click on the image and select ‘save’. Remember to tag us online and use our #EndTheCareCliff hashtag

Big dreams vs the Care Cliff 

“I’ve known I wanted to be a scientist for as long as I can remember, but it was a documentary I found when I was 12 that sold me for life on astrophysics. Going to university was always a big goal for me, it was a guaranteed way to get out of my situation, especially before I’d gone into care.

But when I got to 16, the spiral started. I was introduced to a Personal Advisor (your support worker when you leave care), and the gradual phasing of ‘Well you’re in care now but you won’t be much longer,’ began.  My mental health took a nosedive.”

Day 18: May

As the consultation for the Government’s children’s social care plans closes this month, we’re sharing 18 steps the Government could take to #EndTheCareCliff…

Wider support

1. Staying Close scheme in every area

2. Extend Staying Put & Staying Close schemes to age 25

3. Extend corporate parenting responsibilities to a range of Govt depts and public bodies


4. Exempt care leavers from prescription charges to age 25

5. Leaving Care teams ensure care leavers have registered with dentists, GP, opticians

6. Access to timely, consistent and trauma-informed mental health support


7. Tenancy deposit and rent guarantor schemes for care leavers in every area

8. Priority housing for all care leavers to age 25 and exemption from homeless intentionality rules

9. Remove the local area connection test for care leavers to age 25 and ensure those at University keep their priority status for social housing in their home area

Rights & entitlements

10. Give all care leavers the same legal rights

11. Opt-out advocacy entitlement for care leavers to age 25

12. Automatic council tax exemption to age 25, which follows them wherever they live


13. Funding to support the unique ambitions of every care leaver (training, education, employment)

14. Govt accreditation scheme for employers to support care leavers into jobs and training


15. Give care leavers under 25 the higher allowance of Universal Credit

16. Up-rate financial entitlements in line with inflation


17. Secure the immigration status of children before they leave the care system, provide identity documentation and support with citizenship applications

18. Better data collection on outcomes experienced by care leavers


Want to spread the word on how the Government can help #EndTheCareCliff? Please share our graphic (below) with your colleagues, friends, and family through your social media or offline (whatever you prefer!)

Simply right-click on the image and select ‘save’. Remember to tag us online and use our #EndTheCareCliff hashtag

Day 18: April

The cost of being a young care leaver

Young people leaving the care system are expected to be financially independent overnight, as soon as they turn 18, without enough support from their parent (the government).

It doesn’t have to be this way. We need government action to #EndTheCareCliff and ensure every young person has the support they need to lead happy, healthy and fulfilled lives.

Day 18: March

This month, as Day 18 coincides with their fundraising gaming marathon, our Become Players streamers are taking up the mic across Twitch, YouTube Gaming and Facebook Gaming to support our #EndTheCareCliff campaign and shout that no young person should be made to leave care before their ready. 

If you’ve reached this page because of Become Players, welcome. Please keep reading to learn about the ‘Care Cliff’ – which is when young people are made to leave the care system often without support and before they’re ready.  

If you keep scrolling, you’ll find out what we’ve been up to on previous Day 18s this year – including what we think of the Government’s plans for change. 

Please do share our #EndTheCareCliff campaign with your own friends, families and community. Thank you. 

Day 18: February

Last month, we reminded the Government of the changes we needed to see in their upcoming response to the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care and plans to transform the care system.

Now those plans have been published, we’ve judged how effective they will be for the thousands of young people leaving care each year… and we want the Government to know that their plans and investment need to go further and faster.

Check the infographic below, and please share it with your colleagues, friends, and family through your social media or offline (whatever you prefer!)

Simply right-click on the image and select ‘save’.

Will the Government's new plans finally #EndTheCareCliff?

Campaign wins! The Government has committed to exploring plans which will:

  • Help young people to stay in or near their homes once they’ve left care
  • Provide more support around housing for young people leaving care
  • Give more money to help young people set up their first home
  • And ensure more public authorities proactively support young people.

But their plans & investment must go further & faster…

  • No young person should be made to leave care before they’re ready
  • All young people deserve consistent support, wherever they live
  • And every young person should have the support they need to lead happy, healthy and fulfilled lives.

To #EndTheCareCliff we need to see more urgent action and investment from the Government now.

Day 18: January

Did you know? The Government’s response to the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care is expected imminently.

We’ve been waiting months for these proposals. And with the right approach and ambition, the Government could finally #EndTheCareCliff.

So for January’s Day 18 action, we want EVERYONE to know how the lives of thousands of young care leavers can be improved by Government action (scroll down for more detail).

Please share our infographic with your colleagues, friends, and family through your social media or offline (whatever you prefer!)

Simply right-click on the image and select ‘save’, or follow the link below to quick-post to Twitter.

What do we want from the Government?

1. Extend the Staying Put and Staying Close schemes for all care-experienced young people up to 25, and ensure the schemes are fully funded.

2. Provide an enhanced offer of support for all young people leaving care, which includes targeted support across health, education, employment, housing, relationships, and financial support.

3. Create legislation to share corporate parenting responsibilities across a wide range of public bodies and authorities, following consultation with care-experienced young people.

Day 18: December

In December, hundreds of you took to social media to help us amplify the voices of young people and get their message in front of the new Children’s Minister, Claire Coutinho, that the Government must #EndTheCareCliff once and for all.

This included posts shared on Twitter (see below), Instagram, and some of you also helped by sharing Matt’s video message on Facebook to help raise awareness of the Care Cliff with your community. Thank you!

Learn more about our campaign to #EndTheCareCliff

Day 18: let’s #EndTheCareCliff together
33 responses

  1. Lianna Jonest says:

    December 18, 2022 at 7:35 am

    These young people need more support when they are 18 . They should be looking forward to becoming 18 not dreading it. This needs to change.

  2. Julia Herrick says:

    December 18, 2022 at 7:57 am

    As a former foster carer I try where possible to continue support once young people go into independent accommodation as I did and still do with my own children, now in their 30’s! but many are left to fend completely on their own

  3. Margery Toller says:

    December 18, 2022 at 7:58 am

    Becoming completely independent, both practically and emotionally and financially, would be daunting for someone who has grown up with lifelong, consistent loving support. For those who have not had this support it must be nearly impossible.

  4. Robert Jones says:

    December 18, 2022 at 9:08 am

    I am shocked to read how young people are cut off from their care support so abruptly when they are 18 years old. I call on the Children’s Minister, Claire Coutinho to make changes to the care system so that young vulnerable people in care are given support for as long as they need it even after the arbitrary age of 18 years

  5. Pamela Welsby says:

    December 18, 2022 at 9:11 am

    Young people leaving care at 18 need more support, not just being left to fend for themselves with rent, bills etc to sort out. 18 year olds living with their family don’t suddenly have to deal with such huge responsibilities

  6. Gillian Lindley says:

    December 18, 2022 at 10:00 am

    We have been foster carers for more than 10 years but for under 10s. This shows us how traumatised these 18 year olds have been as young children. Staying put is right for some. For others could they be given accommodation next door to experienced foster carers who have responsibility for 3-5 young care leavers?

  7. susan Burbridge says:

    December 18, 2022 at 10:51 am

    No young person should be abandoned when they become 18 years old.
    They need to be supported for as long as they need support.
    The Care System must be changed.

  8. Trevor Sykes says:

    December 18, 2022 at 11:15 am

    It’s time this Government realised that care in the U.K. isn’t working properly & did something positive to put things right, (after 12 years).

  9. Elizabeth Grubb says:

    December 18, 2022 at 11:39 am

    Having had care up to 18, it seems cruel for young adults to be turfed out into this cold and unwelcoming and terrifying world. They should always have access to support so they can get used to being young adults outwith the care system.

  10. Christine Hillman says:

    December 18, 2022 at 11:55 am

    It is a massive injustice and I fully support what you are doing. I do support the children’s society who also work with young care leavers to put their needs to those who can make it better.
    I do not use any social media so cannot send your message to the minister.🥲

  11. Jocelyn says:

    December 18, 2022 at 12:07 pm

    It is concerning and the way you have presented the information is very effective
    I don’t tweet or have Facebook
    A letter to sign and send to mp would be useful on site too

  12. Lorraine Jones says:

    December 18, 2022 at 12:10 pm

    The Local Authority’s obligations should not end on a young person’s 18th birthday – they need further support to help them make the transition from care to independent living.

  13. Janet Weston says:

    December 18, 2022 at 12:11 pm

    Absolutely right that care leavers should not be expected to be independent as soon as they reach 18. With no family support, as those who go to university for instance, may have when they are 18, it is nonsensical to expect everyone to manage just because of a birth date. People mature at different stages and ages, and while some will undoubtedly be able to cope, others will not, and they should not be discriminated against. Apart from their own misery in this situation, it is storing up problems for the future for them and society as they may be tempted to go down roads and mix with people who will not benefit them.

  14. Victoria McFarlane says:

    December 18, 2022 at 12:47 pm

    Imagine someone who has already learned life can be difficult and unfair early on. Then they find support…..then this is stripped of them because they turn 18 which apparently means you don’t need support anymore. Unbelievable!

  15. Michael Brueck says:

    December 18, 2022 at 1:05 pm

    Both common humanity and our obligation to safeguard these young people’s human rights should lead us to giving care leavers’ much more support. Beyond that, the need to avoid having to offer emergency support later.

  16. Kerry Bryan says:

    December 18, 2022 at 1:06 pm

    Support should always be in place for these young people at least until they are settled in to a routine. Must be terrifying trying to do all that on their own…

  17. Jo Beddoe says:

    December 18, 2022 at 1:06 pm

    We must stop setting up our young people for failure. Please ensure this gap is closed when reviewing social care.

  18. Karen E Murphy says:

    December 18, 2022 at 1:20 pm

    This is criminal they suffer enough in the care system but to leave them stranded & alone with insufficient life skills is unacceptable please consider a gradual transition with a mentor support package until they are ready to go it alone

  19. Josephine Fageant says:

    December 18, 2022 at 1:24 pm

    I fully support this cause but I don’t subscribe to any form of social media so have not been able to tweet, instagram or facebook – sorry

  20. Chris Proffitt says:

    December 18, 2022 at 1:31 pm

    21 was the age of majority for me….this was when I became independent with others of my age in a flat after college. Even this was a steep learning curve …so yes people of 18 shouldn’t be expected to be thrown in at the deep end.

  21. Sheila Halpin says:

    December 18, 2022 at 2:30 pm

    Young people who have been in care need more support when they turn 18 as they have not learned the skills needed to live on their own.
    There should be type of half way house where they have supported accommodation and a support worker who can help them learn how to become independent and deal with all the things they need in the adult world.

  22. Lucy Gall says:

    December 18, 2022 at 4:18 pm

    This is such an important issue. I don’t use Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, so can’t respond or pass on, but well done for highlighting the issue. What about a mentoring system for these young people? Trusted adults, willing to be alongside while they find their feet?

  23. Marion Fisher says:

    December 18, 2022 at 4:24 pm

    Hi, I would like to send a message as requested above, but I don’t use social media, so would you send an email link please?
    Marion Fisher

  24. Kirsten Graver replied:

    December 30, 2022 at 11:58 am

    Thank you – we have sent you an email now.

  25. Margaret ellis says:

    December 18, 2022 at 5:40 pm

    Why does everyone think we’re all of us are on Instagram Twitter and Facebook..if we’re not we can’t promote your campaign. I used to work looking after girls in care in foster house some decades ago..then girls were taken out of care at 16.. might be given some help towards getting flat but otherwise little support .many of them had a huge struggle to get on in the adult world as they’d been kept away from ‘normal’ life and even mixing with their peers..and despite all the help give while in a care home to educate to adult living the system let them down and they had such a hard time fending for themselves..many of them got connected to exploitative men because they had been starved of affection had no families or friends outside the care system were young and vulnerable.. very sad .these girls were 16 I see now it’s 18 but it’s still too young..even if they want to be independent 18 yearoldd still need to know there’s friendly support available when they need it

  26. Kirsten Graver replied:

    December 30, 2022 at 11:57 am

    Thank you – we’ve sent you an email!

  27. CatherineDawson says:

    December 18, 2022 at 9:18 pm

    I fully support this but like others here don’t use social media. Charities like Grandmentors and some councils like Wilts are doing their best for care leavers but it shouldn’t be down to a postcode lottery. Care leavers are set up to fail if they don’t get the support they need.

  28. D Forster says:

    December 19, 2022 at 12:59 am

    Even parolees in the US get half-way house accommodation & support getting a job, to help transition into ‘normal life’.
    This hard cut-off for such vulnerable young adults, who have already had such a tough start in life, is beyond harsh; it’s cruel !
    And to have the knowledge that this will happen hanging over their heads is mental cruelty tantamount to child abuse !
    The UK government must do better to ensure continued support, consistent & irrespective of the local authority.

  29. Amber W says:

    December 19, 2022 at 11:13 pm

    This is a huge issue and especially for any young people with additional needs or disabilities. Support should be done on an individual basis with flexibility of financial support to take young people past the age of 18. If they stay with the same carers the red tape should be minimal – whilst ensuring safety – to make the process fit for all.

  30. Sue Gulliver says:

    December 20, 2022 at 4:34 pm

    It is really shocking that young people of 18 who have had really challenging childhoods are left completely to fend for themselves as soon as they are 18. They should have a
    Personal social worker or approved advisor to be there for them until they feel confident enough to manage and this should be a legal requirement. It should be they, not the government, who decide when they feel confident enough to be totally independent.Most 18 year olds live in shared accommodation it’s true but most have a parent’s home to take refuge in if it doesn’t work out. What happens to these young people?

  31. Eleanor Kunar says:

    December 20, 2022 at 7:40 pm

    Dear Ms Coutinho,
    Please listen and work with “Become” to help new adults transition from care to independence
    You may have been like me and had family round in support when you were 18. I couldn’t have cooked, understood bills and paid them and generally run my ship when I was just 18 and in full time education. That came gradually with the years.
    Please engage wit those n the know.
    Thanks! Eleanor K.

  32. Connie Taylor says:

    January 4, 2023 at 4:51 pm

    Dear Minister
    I have read how difficult it is for young people who have been in care to then at the age of 18 be thrown into the world to fend for themselves. It must be quite a frightening experience, so I am asking please for the end of the CareCliff. I had caring parents who were still looking after me when I was 18.
    Please make it possible for these young people to have all the support they need so that they can mature into fine members of society.

  33. Jayne Keay says:

    January 16, 2023 at 5:13 pm

    Please end Carecliff. 18 years old should be celebrated with aspirations to achieve in life and many things to be part of, not being ‘set up’ for a fall, after having support and then ‘abandoned’. Confidence and encouragement should be promoted. Remember this is the future generation of the Country.I was fortunate to have support throughout my life and it has served me well, a basic right for any youngster.

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