Clwyd South Assembly Member Ken Skates will be meeting senior figures in Wrexham council tomorrow to discuss the introduction of a ground-breaking scheme to enhance the provisions for young people in care.
The AM will be meeting council chiefs to discuss the Welsh Government’s ‘When I Am Ready’ scheme, which will come into force in April this year.
After the scheme is introduced, young people in care will be given the option of staying with their foster carer after the age of 18, should they wish, and offering a more gradual approach to the transition to adulthood within a support family and household environment.
Clwyd South AM Ken Skates said, “Sadly, far too many young people find themselves having tenancy difficulties, drug and alcohol problems when the leave local authority care. We also know that care leavers are much more likely to have a mental health problem than their peers not in care.
“Last year I worked with an inspiring group of young people approaching the end of, or in some instances having left care, to look at creating new opportunities for these young people to stay with their foster families beyond the age of 18 if that was what both parties wanted.
“The result of this work was an offer by the Deputy Minister for Children and Social Services, Gwenda Thomas, to create a new Welsh Government-led initiative to help achieve this end. The result is the proposed ‘When I Am Ready’ scheme which the Welsh Government has recently conducted a detailed consultation on.
“While When I Am Ready is not a ‘silver bullet’ to the challenges faced by those in care I firmly believe that it is a genuine attempt to deal with the long-term challenges facing the care leavers in Wales.
“For me this is about as big a social justice issue as I can think of – ensuring that everyone in Wales, not matter what background they come from, has a firm footing with which to make a success of their adult lives.
“I’m very grateful to the Council for meeting to discuss this important issue and I’m sure that, working together, we can ensure that young people in local authority care get the best possible start to life.”
Notes to editors:
• The Children’s Commissioner’s report ‘Lost After Care’ detailing many of the struggles young people face after leaving local authority care can be found here: http://www.childcomwales.org.uk/uploads/publications/250.pdf
• The Welsh Government’s consultation on the ‘When I Am Ready’ scheme, and details of the proposals can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/a2k2ofa