3rd March 2020
Going above and beyond for young people leaving care
Young people leaving care in Sandwell will now get their council tax paid for and priority access to housing if proposals are approved.
Proposals have been approved by Sandwell Council’s cabinet and will be put forward to a full council meeting on Tuesday 10 March for final sign-off.
Sandwell Council has pledged to give extra support to care experienced children following recommendations from the council’s Corporate Parenting Board. Members of the board include Sandwell Council, Sandwell Children’s Trust and young people who have been or are in care.
Young people asked council bosses if they could have the extra measures for those who are leaving the council’s care and looking to set up home on their own.
Young people will be able to access the housing register from the age of 16 and be in the top priority band (priority one). Council Tax will be paid in full until they reach the age of 25.
Young people leaving care already have a support package when they reach age 16 including a personal advisor who helps with financial management, education and health advice. Young people also have access to training flats – accommodation where they can learn the necessary skills to live alone.
Councillor Joyce Underhill, cabinet member for best start in life, said: “We want to help young people to be able to live independent lives but those who have been in our care sometimes need a bit of extra help.
“Our approach to corporate parenting means children in care are the responsibility of us as councillors and all council officers so I’m thrilled we can go above and beyond our statutory duty to provide these young people with help with housing and Council Tax.”
Frances Craven, Chief Executive of Sandwell Children’s Trust, said: “Children who are moving from care to independent living get great support from our dedicated team of personal advisors and we are thrilled the council has put these extra measures in place.
“We listen to young people and tailor their support depending on their needs. Young people who want to start independent living can now be assured that process is easier for them.”