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Care Leaver Covenant 27 Oct 2023 The Council signs the Care Leaver Covenant

West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) celebrates National Care Leavers Week by signing the Care Leaver Covenant to formally pledge its commitment to support those who leave care to live independently.

The Council recognises the unique challenges that care leavers face and is committed to providing them with the help they need to thrive. WNC’s commitment to the Care Leaver Covenant goes beyond the standard support provided by local authorities, focusing on enhancing opportunities and improving outcomes for care-experienced individuals.

Cllr Fiona Baker, Cabinet Member for Children’s, Families, Education and Skills at West Northamptonshire Council said: “I am delighted that as a Council we have officially signed up to the Care Leaver Covenant as a further commitment to supporting our care leavers. We know that care experienced young people don’t always have the same access to supportive networks or that ‘parental’ guidance that many other children or young people might have access to – and that’s one of the reasons I am so pleased that we will be working together with the Care Leaver Covenant organisation to make support available for those who have left care.

“I am confident that together we can make a real difference and I strongly encourage other employers across West Northamptonshire to join us by signing the covenant too.” 

 Signing the Covenant is WNC’s pledge to support those leaving care to thrive by offering council tax and housing support to training and employment opportunities, work experience, partnerships with local businesses and much more.

Cllr Mike Hallam, Cabinet Member for Corporate Services and HR at West Northamptonshire Council added: “We take immense pride in serving as the corporate parent for over 650 looked-after children and almost 300 care leavers and recognise the vital role we play in safeguarding the welfare of children and our care leavers.

“Our commitment to care leavers extends beyond words. WNC has integrated care-experienced individuals into our guaranteed interview scheme, ensuring that job applicants who disclose their care-experienced status during the application process and meet the minimum essential criteria are automatically guaranteed an interview.

“We are also extending comprehensive support for care-experienced applicants throughout the application journey, including assistance with job application forms, interview coaching, and unwavering support during the entire process. Importantly, we maintain an open door with no age limit, providing equal opportunities for all.”

The Council is also actively developing a range of work experience, placement, and shadowing opportunities for care-experienced individuals, complete with general and tailored support plans to help them achieve their educational, employment, and training goals.

Vera Burford,  care experienced young person, said: “Leaving care and going out into the world on your own can be scary and overwhelming, but knowing that there are organisations that can provide extra support can really help. The Council have provided me a lot of support in my career, and I don’t think I would be where I am now without that. I hope that by signing the Covenant other care experienced people can get that help too, and other organisations will be encouraged to join the covenant as well.”

WNC’s commitment to supporting care leavers also extends to seeking social value through procurement opportunities and fostering partnerships with local businesses to create meaningful opportunities for care leavers.

To celebrate Care Leavers Week, the council will also illuminate its buildings in the vibrant colours of the Care Leaver Covenant on Saturday, 28 October.

Mark Rogers, Care Leaver Covenant Director of Legacy, added “The Covenant team is delighted to welcome West Northamptonshire Council into the universal family – a rapidly growing set of organisations across the public, private and third sectors that recognise the importance of making a broad and deep commitment to supporting young people into independent living and the rest of the adulthood.

“Whilst local authorities have a formal statutory role and associated set of responsibilities for this group of care-experienced young people, by signing up to the Covenant, West Northamptonshire Council is demonstrating its intention to go beyond these minimum requirements and show that it is acting like a true parent by offering the love, support and guidance that all children and young people deserve, regardless of their circumstances. We very much look forward to working with the council as it puts this commitment into practice.”

Residents and businesses can find out more about the Care Leaver Covenant here.

Contact Information

West Northamptonshire Council Communications Team
[email protected]