Wefan Gymraeg

Policy Motion: Care Experienced Young People in Wales

Proposed by Welsh Young Liberals

Conference notes that:

  1. There are around 7,265 children in care in Wales, an increase in 2% from 2020.
  2. Wales has the highest rate of looked after children away from home in the UK at 115 per 10,000 of the under-18 population.
  3. Around 20% of homeless people in Wales are care leavers.
  4. Almost 25% of the adult prison population have previously been in care, and nearly 50% of under 21-year-olds in contact with the criminal justice system have spent time in care.
  5. 41% of care leavers aged 19-21 years are not in education, employment, or training (NEET), compared to 12% of all 19-to-21-year-olds.
  6. 7% of care leavers aged 17 years are in accommodation considered to be unsuitable.
  7. NYAS Cymru’s ‘Listen if you Care’ report states that 45% of respondents chose a word that suggested a negative experience in care overall, such as ‘dreadful’ and ‘horrible’.
  8. Care-experienced children and young people have consistently been found to have much higher rates of mental health difficulties than the general population, including a significant proportion who have more than one condition.
  9. Many care leavers rely on Universal Credit once they turn 18, in the absence of support from their families.
  10. There is a lower rate of Universal Credit for all under-25-year olds.
  11. Many care leavers on Universal Credit are five times more likely to be sanctioned than other claimants, and are less likely to appeal their decision.
  12. There are huge problems in recruiting and retaining social workers, and staff turnover is high.

Conference believes that:

  1. Care-experienced young people can be more vulnerable than their non-care-experienced peers. They require support from all levels of government, local, devolved, and national.
  2. Care-experienced young people need more support on average, compared again to their non-care-experienced peers. As they may not have a strong family network to support them and their wellbeing.
  3. Care-experienced young people deserve at least equal access to basic support and opportunities e.g. education, welfare benefits, mental health support.
  4. All children and young people deserve support in reaching their full potential, no matter what their circumstances may be.
  5. That no-one should be enslaved by poverty, ignorance, or conformity.

Conference resolves that:

  1. The Liberal Democrats should continue working towards a federal UK, so Wales can have its own justice system and/or control over welfare benefits for example.
  2. In the meantime the Welsh Government should encourage the UK Government to give care leavers under the age of 25 the higher rate of Universal Credit. In order to compensate for the fact they may not have a strong support network, or family to help them with everyday living costs or one-off essentials.
  3. The Welsh Government should also encourage the UK Government to stop benefit sanctions for care leavers. Unless they regularly break their claimant commitment, then if a sanction is to be applied it must be agreed upon by a young person’s adviser.
  4. Every local authority in Wales makes a commitment that their care-experienced young people are given high-priority need for housing, up until the age of 25.
  5. Care-experienced young people should be taught basic knowledge of what they are entitled to in regard to an array of issues e.g. education, healthcare, housing.
  6. Professionals e.g. social workers, teachers, young persons advisers who work with care-experienced young people need to have consistent, adequate, and trauma-informed mental health training.
  7. All care-experienced young people should have access to CAMHS up until the age of 25.
  8. Every care-experienced child or young person will be offered the best support to try and maintain meaningful contact with their siblings and other family members.
  9. The Welsh Government should provide every care leaver a ‘Leaving Care Grant’ of a minimum £2,000, in order to support care leavers to buy furnishings and white goods for their first home. This grant should increase every year by 2%, and then be reviewed after every 5 year term.
  10. University entry requirements should be lowered for care leavers, with appropriate accommodation and all-year round support for all those pursuing higher education.
  11. There should be a guarantee of a job, apprenticeship, or training for all care-experienced young people when they leave school. Alongside the aim of having at least 20% of care leavers going to university.
  12. Any care-experienced young person from Wales going to university, in any part of the UK should receive an annual bursary of at least £1,500 from the Welsh Government. This should also increase every year by 2%, and be reviewed after every 5 year term.
  13. The Welsh Government should create a strategy on how to retain and recruit more social workers, with the aim of recruiting at least 500 more social workers over a 5 year term. Alongside, we also give social workers a 2% pay increase every year.

 

Amendments to this motion should be submitted to [email protected] by 1pm on Wednesday 29th June.