The enriched Local Offer was developed with care leavers and partners to facilitate its use and includes:
• Increase in housing assistance, with the municipality acting as guarantor, paying rent and deposits in advance and moving assistance
• Financial support to help care leavers to visit family and attend religious and cultural events
• free and discounted gym membership and use of leisure centers
• Extra help for young parents with essential items.
New welcome packs are also given to children who are about to leave care. The kits were created by young people with experience in care on our advisory board and include “things I wish I had known when I left care” as well as a bag, water bottle and more. useful items.
West Sussex County Council’s Departure Service supports young people who have been in care as they enter adulthood, helping them prepare to live healthy, happy and safe independent lives.
The service works with children between the ages of 17 and 25, and each is assigned a personal counselor who helps them with their health and well-being and with practical things like finances, housing, relationships, education and employment.
West Sussex County Council is using National Care Leavers Week to celebrate its Care Leavers and share their successes.
West Sussex County Council is also helping them meet and share experiences with other care leavers from across the UK at an event in Birmingham next week, hosted by the National Leaving Care Benchmarking Forum.
From overcoming incredible challenges with determination and bravery, to furthering their education, or impressing in their work, every care graduate in West Sussex has made great strides.
A care leaver from West Sussex has shared her story. She said: “I have good friends, who understand me and I get along with them. Although I have special needs, I am friendly and helpful.
“I’ve been through a lot, but that doesn’t define me or who I am. I did well in school, passed science, food tech, English, hairdressing and beauty and many others.
Jacquie Russell, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “We believe we now have one of the most comprehensive care leaver offerings in the country.
“It was created with our young people, so we were able to include the things they told us would help improve their lives.
“Our care leavers have accomplished some truly exceptional things this year, so we are rightly celebrating them. Many have had the toughest beginnings of their lives, but because of their determination and bravery, their starting point does not define where they are going.