Supporting care leavers in Scotland during the pandemic and beyond
Date: 19th November 2020
Category: Social security, Mental health, Child poverty, Health and health services, COVID-19, Recreation, play and cultural activities, Family Environment and Alternative Care
COVID-19 has exacerbated the precariousness of many care leavers’ situations, and amplified the inconsistencies that exist in relation to support and services. This briefing highlights some of the key issues alongside several recommendations.
Key priority areas identified within the paper include:
- Digital connectiveness - COVID-19 has exposed an amplified the issue of digital exclusion for care leavers.
- Continuing care, housing and accommodation - Research shows continuing care is the single most important factor in improving outcomes for care leavers. . The impact of COVID-19 has led to some young people having their plans to move out of care to ‘independent’ living accelerated earlier than otherwise planned, whilst others who were ready to move were stuck in temporary accommodation.
- Care Experienced Student Bursary - COVID-19 has exacerbated issues of financial hardship and financial precariousness for many care leavers, including those who are in receipt of the Care Experienced Student Bursary.
- Mental health - Social isolation and loneliness are significant factors in relation to care leavers’ mental health and emotional wellbeing. Social and physical distancing restrictions have exacerbated this for many care leavers living more independently. This has been compounded by the impact of worrying about the health of family members; fear of the virus spreading; the loss of loved ones; uncertainty and lack of control.
- Relationship based practice - There have been some great examples of practitioners maintaining relationships whilst following public health guidelines, including socially distanced walks, sending personalised care packages, and engaging in fun online activities. However, rigid policies around ICT use have hindered some good practice efforts.
Read the recommendations made within the paper here.