Agenda item

Support to Care Leavers and The House Project

Briefing Note of the Director of Children’s Services


The Board considered a briefing note which set out the main changes in support offered to care leavers as a result of The Children and Social Work Act 2017 (the Act). The paper focused on one area of the Coventry Local Offer to care leavers which was the housing support for children in care and care leavers through the Coventry House Project.

The Act introduced a requirement for Councils to publish a Local Offer for care leavers.  The Local Offer was a document that outlined the services and support that would be available to care leavers in the local area where they live when they leave care.  It included information about legal entitlements (rights) as well as any extra support that the Council might choose to give. The Coventry Local Offer was agreed by members in November 2018.

Section three of the Act introduced a new duty on local authorities, which required it to offer Personal Adviser support to all care leavers up to the age of 25. 

Both the local offer and extension of Personal Adviser support were now embedded in Children’s Services. This was helping to ensure that care leavers get support required, recently endorsed during a recent Ofsted inspection.

The Briefing note also set out the background information to the House Project, Financial impact and the ‘Staying Close’ offer.

In attendance at the meeting were Service users, Paris and Alex, together with staff from the House Project.  Paris and Alex spoke about their experience of their journey to independence with the help of the House Project, and staff spoke about their roles in supporting the young people.

The House Project had helped create a supportive, and creative offer for children in care and care leavers of Coventry. The feedback from partners and the children and young people involved with the project had been positive. There is a great energy and creativity from the young people and practitioners and a real sense of community. The young people had created a peer network and have helped one another to refurbish their homes. There was recognition in the Ofsted Inspection for the sense of community and support/participation that the House Project had within Coventry.

The partnership with Citizen Housing Association was critical to the Coventry House Project. Citizen had pledged to provide properties to the young people on the project and they are also a steering group partner. There had been discussions with the Strategic Lead for Housing and a plan to reapproach all housing providers in Coventry given the success from cohort 1 and 2 of the Coventry Project. 

During discussion it was suggested that there was an opportunity to include ‘Care Leaver’ as a protected characteristic and agreed that this be recommended to the Cabinet Member.

The Board also discussed and agreed to ask the Cabinet Member to investigate the possibility of increasing the £2k setting up home grant for care leavers.  In addition, it was also agreed that it would be beneficial to engage with other housing providers in order to expand the accommodation offer.

Councillor P Akhtar, in his role on the West Midlands Combined Authority Transport and Delivery Committee, undertook to investigate the possibility of securing free travel for Care Leavers as Manchester City Council currently do. On behalf of the Board, the Chair thanked Alex, Paris and all attendees for their excellent and informative presentation.


RESOLVED that the Board:


(a)  Note the content of the report and presentation.


(b)  Commended all those involved in the House Project and expressed support for work being done to expand the Project.


(c)  Recommend that the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People investigate the possibility of the Council including ‘Care Leaver’ as a protected characteristic.


(d)  Recommend that the Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities encourage other social housing providers to be involved with the House Project.


(e)  Recommend that the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People and the Cabinet Member for Strategic Resource and Finance investigate the possibility of increasing the £2k Setting Up Home grant for Care Leavers


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