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Care Leavers and Public Services Peer Research


The article “Care leavers and public services peer research” dwells upon care leavers and the way they become a part of the society as well as the role of public services in this process. The article is written by Rachel Lopata and published in 2011. Some of the major objectives of the research are as follows: to identify whether care leavers are aware of public services and whether these services are accessible to all; to identify reasons why some care leavers have not to use public services; to identify the way public services are perceived by care leavers.

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It is found that care leavers tend to think they are knowledgeable of public services available to them. Remarkably, most of them knew a lot on various public services (Connexions and Jobcentre Plus are the most familiar options). Nonetheless, care leavers were unaware of a variety of counseling service available for them. It is also reported that care leavers do not expect to get high quality or even effective services. Finally, Lopata (2011) states that there are both positive and negative attitudes towards services obtained.

The sociological or political context

It is necessary to note that attention to the needs of care leavers have been paid for several years. There are some public services available for this group of population. Nonetheless, it is also clear that the effort made is far from being enough.

Thus, Fauth, Hart, and Payne (2012, p. 2) claim that care leavers tend to be unemployed (about 30%), have “lower levels of educational attainment”, live in unsuitable conditions, have mental issues, parent a child, use drugs are victims of abuse (24%). It is also found that more than 20% of female care leavers are young mothers; about 30% of homeless people were in care, 23% of prisoners were in care (Redesigning support for care leavers 2012).

Researchers note that these figures show that care leavers are at a much higher risk to fail in their future life than their peers who did not get care. It is noteworthy that people believe that these figures can also be explained by the fact that young people who do not get care are supported for longer periods, for example, up to 25 while those in care have to leave much earlier (Duncalf, Hill & McGhee 2013).

At that, according to research, 42% did not want to leave care and, when asked after leaving, 45% of care leavers reported that they felt they should have left later (Stein 2012). Therefore, researchers stress that there is a need to reconsider this aspect to assist care leavers in their attempts to become a part of society. It is pivotal to make sure young people are ready and willing to leave before they enter the ‘adult’ world.

Admittedly, young people who leave care are supported by the government as there are numerous policies addressing the needs of this part of the population. Cameron, Bennert, Simon, and Wigfall (2007) note that young people leaving care often benefit from policies employed. For example, the Children Leaving Care Act 2000 proved to be an effective way to help these people (Fortin 2009).

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Importantly, this Act has been amended several times to address new issues and provide more options for young people who need assistance. Johns (2011) considers these amendments and notes that with the help of policies provided more young people can fit in the contemporary society more easily. This becomes essential for modern society as researchers keep worrying about and debating on demographic issues in lots of European countries.

It is necessary to add that all the incentives and policies implemented are being analysed and considered in detail. Simon and Owen (2013) point out that it is vital to measure the effectiveness of each policy to make sure the government (as well as society and each) is moving in the right direction. Care leavers are being asked to evaluate public services they are obtaining (or they are unable to get, or even do not know about). More so, care leavers are incorporated in the process of development of new policies and projects.

For instance, the project ‘Redesigning support for care leavers’ includes people who were in care in the process so that they could share their own experiences and ideas (Redesigning support for care leavers 2012). Of course, this will potentially have numerous positive effects as care leavers know exactly what people like them want and need. They can also help improve public services and make them clearer and closer to people leaving care.

The process has started quite successfully as there are numerous stories of success. However, it is also apparent that the process needs a lot of effort from different groups of people. There are signs of numerous right choices and decisions, and inclusion of care leavers in the process is one of these ideas. The modern society has acknowledged the need to pay more attention to care leavers who can be lost for society due to numerous constraints these people have to face.

Reference List

Cameron, C., Bennert, K., Simon, A., & Wigfall, V. 2007, Using health, education, housing and other services: a study of care leavers and young people in difficulty.

Duncalf, Z., Hill, L., & McGhee, K. 2013, Still caring? Supporting care leavers in Scotland.

Fauth, R., Hart, D., & Payne, L. 2013, Supporting care leavers’ successful transition to independent living. Web.

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Fortin, J. 2009, Children’s rights and the developing law, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Johns, R. 2011, Using the law in social work, SAGE, Exeter.

Lopata, R. 2011, Care leavers and public services peer research. Web.

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