Such young people face a variety of challenges as they transition into adulthood, including feeling lonely and finding it hard to make a home for themselves. It is all too easy for them to become isolated and find difficulty accessing available opportunities.
In partnership with the app developer FutureGov and with the support of the CareTech Foundation, Barnardo’s is developing a UK-wide innovative digital resource focused on the needs of care leavers.
It will feature content on:
- Information and advice on living independently such as what to wear for work, how to cook for themselves and what support they are entitled to;
- Convenient access to, and reminders about, their Care Leaver Pathway Plan;
- The ability to check in quickly and conveniently with support workers rather than making phone calls or having face-to-face meetings;
- Access to tools to complete tasks as an adult, including collecting benefits, applying for a council house and keeping receipts.
Javed Khan, Barnardo’s Chief Executive, said: “We are extremely excited about this partnership with the newly formed CareTech Foundation and their support of our work with young people leaving care.
Barnardo’s has been keeping children safe, supporting them with an education and helping them to achieve their dreams for more than 150 years. Care leavers remain some of the most vulnerable young people in our society with figures showing 40 per cent aged 19-21 are not in education, training or employment.
Barnardo’s hopes to design an app that will help young people to access information in a way that truly works for them, providing immediate access to helpful information and producing data that will help us to evaluate how digital resources can reduce crisis points among young people.
Barnardo’s ambition is to be a digital leader in the sector and so we embrace technology’s potential to drive new ways of delivering better outcomes for more children. We are therefore grateful to the CareTech Foundation for part-funding this innovative project and would urge other funders to come forward to help us improve outcomes for young people leaving care.”
The project is expected to last between three and four years. Around 1,000 care leavers will benefit from the digital resource each year, with scope for many more to be supported.
Barnardo’s hopes and expects the new resource will lead to the following outcomes:
- Care leavers reporting improved self-confidence in seeking solutions and problem-solving;
- Care leavers reporting improved access, support and self-reliance to access help;
- Young people and professionals reporting a reduction in crisis management at critical stress points;
- An improvement in the uptake of Employment & Training opportunities, budgeting and financial management skills and support services.
As part of the partnership, CareTech staff and service users will be directly involved in the testing and development of the new digital resources. The Foundation will also give opportunities to CareTech staff to volunteer with Barnardo’s.
The CareTech Foundation is donating £300,000 towards the project and hopes other philanthropic organisations will join them to make the project a success.