To help understand the support needs of care leavers and ‘what works’ in supporting them into education and employment, The Prince’s Trust, with funding from The Big Lottery, is delivering the England-wide five-year research project ‘From Care to Independence’. The research will culminate in a final report published in early 2017.

Working with the National Children’s Bureau Research Centre, research is being undertaken into:

  • The role the The Prince’s Trust Fairbridge programme plays in helping care leavers develop the confidence and skills needed to engage with services and wider opportunities
  • How this support functions alongside other sources, and how it can be best delivered

This will help inform how care leavers are supported on Prince’s Trust programmes, as well as being a resource for other practitioners working with care leavers.

Read an executive summary of our interim findings (pdf, 2mb)

Reports

We are an active member of Access All Areas, a group of charities that work with care leavers. In 2012 the group  published a report (pdf, 1mb) showing what the Government needed to do in order to better help young people leaving care. In response to this, the Government published its Care Leaver Strategy in 2013. This set out what central departments would do to improve services for care leavers. Some positive changes came about and in 2014, a one-year-on report from the Department for Education summarised the key changes that had taken place.

Whilst many positive steps have been taken to help care leavers, we want to ensure their voices are heard in any decisions that are being made about them. We have recently consulted with care leavers and asked them what they would like to change about the care system and to highlight good practice. In May 2015 we published a report (PDF, 5mb) setting out the key messages from care leavers, which will be used to influence change.

Each year of the project we host the National Care Leavers’ Week conference, which is an opportunity for those working in the sector to share ideas and ways of working with care leavers.

Young Researchers

The Prince’s Trust has also been working with a number of young people who are interested in becoming “Young Researchers.” The Young Researchers, many of whom are care leavers themselves, received training about how to carry out research as part of The Trust’s From Care to Independence (FC2I) project.

The training provided the Young Researchers with an opportunity to:

  • Develop research and interview skills 
  • Improve their literacy and numeracy
  • Increase their confidence
  • Gain crucial employability skills

Following the training, the Young Researchers got to work gathering data from care leavers, as well as from statutory and non-statutory professionals across the country. All of their data was gathered through a mixture of focus groups, face-to-face interviews, and online questionnaires.

On 6th March 2017, The Prince’s Trust launched a report summarising the findings of the Young Researchers’ work.

The Young Researchers were also involved in analysing the data and deciding what should be included in the final report, writing some of the content for the report, and designing what the report should look like. 
 

Read the report here (pdf, 706kb)


Please note: the report released on 6th March 2017 summarises the Young Researchers’ findings only. It is separate from, and is not attached to the research report being produced by the National Children’s Bureau (NCB) as part of From Care to Independence. The report written in partnership with NCB will be published in May 2017.

Throughout the five years of the programme we are working in partnership with Headliners, a charity who work with young people to inspire and encourage their personal development through journalism. They are offering up to 200 care leavers who are engaged with the Fairbridge teams at the Poplar, Middlesbrough, Kennington and Newcastle centres the opportunity to explore and share their experiences of being in care through photography and media courses. The young people who have been on the courses report having increased confidence in expressing their opinions and had increased social and communication skills.

If you work with care leavers and would like more information on how our programmes can support care leavers please contact: charlotte.lee@princes-trust.org.uk.

If you are a care leaver or are supporting care leavers and need additional help, the following organisations may be able to help you: