The Care Leaver Covenant: What you can do

Baroness Barran, Minister for Civil Society

Minister for Civil Society, Baroness Barran, highlights the Care Leaver Covenant and makes a specific request for you to pledge practical support.

The Care Leaver Covenant

Young people who leave local authority care at the point they become young adults are among the most disadvantaged in society. Around 40% of care leavers aged 19-21 are not in education, employment or training compared to 12% of their peers. Care leavers are also more likely to experience poor physical or mental health, with 74% of care leavers reporting that they felt isolated when they left care and 19% of care leavers feeling that they don’t have anyone to turn to for help.

As part of the work the government is doing to improve care leavers’ outcomes the Care Leaver Covenant was launched in 2018 to support young people who are leaving local authority care and making the difficult transition to adulthood.  

The Care Leaver Covenant is a government funded project that partners with private, public and voluntary organisations to support care leavers aged 16-25 in their transition from care to independence. The idea behind the initiative, similar to the Armed Forces Covenant, is to give organisations from all sectors a way to pledge their support to care leavers and back that up with practical offers of help. That could be providing extra support to care leavers at university or providing an apprenticeship or mentoring opportunity. 

All young people who leave care at 16, 17 or 18 are provided with statutory support, in the form of a local offer. This includes help in the transition to living independently; support with finding accommodation and with any costs of participating in education, training and employment. However, in order to provide a greater level of support at this crucial stage during the transition of care leavers to adulthood, wider society also needs to play a part, which is where the Care Leaver Covenant comes in.

Spectra, the company contracted to work with organisations who support care leavers through the Covenant, has been doing some truly inspiring work to help transform care leavers’ lives. Since the Covenant’s launch, over 160 organisations have signed up, including Amazon, Accor, Engie and ITV. 

Each organisation that commits to the Covenant is able to offer a support package to care leavers that is tailored to its specific expertise. Examples of activities that the offer might include, depending on the nature of the organisation, are:

  • Providing care leavers with opportunities to enter the world of work, such as offering work experience placements, work shadowing placements, internships, traineeships and apprenticeships;
  • Providing care leavers with additional support through one-to-one mentoring or pastoral support and guidance on various aspects of their lives, financial guidance, career/employment guidance, educational prospects and opportunities;
  • Providing care leavers with opportunities to broaden their horizons e.g. concessionary access to sport, leisure and cultural activities along with discounted retail offers;
  • The covenant website provides further information about the range of published offers and how to get involved.

We would like to encourage you to back the Care Leaver Covenant and pledge practical support for care leavers. 

About the Author

Baroness Barran was appointed as the Minister for Civil Society for the UK Government on 26 July 2019. In this role she is responsible for policy related to the UK’s Civil Society, including but not restricted to volunteering, youth and social action, and loneliness.

She was the founder and Chief Executive of SafeLives from 2004-2017, a national charity dedicated to ending domestic abuse. She was head of grant development at the think tank New Philanthropy Capital from 2001 to 2004, and worked in asset management before founding one of the first European hedge funds in 1993. Baroness Barran was a trustee at the Royal Foundation and Comic Relief, and was chair of the Henry Smith Charity. She received the Beacon Prize for England in November 2007 and an MBE in 2011 for her work addressing domestic violence.


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  1. I’ve been reading around this subject as the emerging data through the pandemic has highlighted loneliness experienced by younger people. Of course, care leavers have always been at risk of experiencing loneliness but I presume more so than ever during lockdown. Tech and digital inclusion are just one of the practical ways to support Care Leavers,by%20Education%20Secretary%20Gavin%20Williamson 
    @WaveLength  this isn’t new though is it? Your organisation donates media technology to help fight loneliness across the life course.

    1. Yes, it is we have been doing this work across all age groups for 80 years. It would be great if some money could come WaveLength’s way to provide equipment.

      We also think digital is wider than just a laptop or tablet. We need also to think about digital equality to ensure the non-digital services are there for people as well. Digital needs to be an add-on and not a replacement.

      It would be great if WaveLength could sit down and have a proper conversation with the government and some of the larger organisations about working with us.
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