Young people who have experienced the care system have accused Edinburgh City Council of neglecting those in need once they become adults.
The council has come under fire from young people, who will be part of the authority’s new Looked After Children Champions’ Board, for its lack of support for people who move into adulthood.
Children can become looked after through a legal order issued by a Children’s Hearing or court, or because their parent is not able to safely look after them. The council insists it allows young people to live with their carers over the age of 18 where possible, and offers support to some up to 26.
Connor, who has been in care, including secure accommodation, pleaded with the council to “try and keep us out of hostels and B&Bs when we end up in the homeless system”. He said: “The actual level of care we receive when we leave care is actually very poor compared to other local authorities.”
More than 1300 children and young people are in care in Edinburgh, including 254 aged four years and younger. The city has 581 children and young people in foster care, 271 being looked after by kinship carers, friends or relatives, while seven are in secure care.
The council has had a corporate parenting plan in place since 2012, but will now heavily involve those who have experience of care in shaping policy.
Roseanna, who has experienced the care system in the Capital, said: “As far as I have seen in the past three years of being back in Edinburgh from West Lothian, Edinburgh City Council does little for care leavers and children in foster care.
“We need better engagement between adults and young, with adults taking more involvement in young people’s lives.”
The council has moved some services to its Young People’s Hub, including a weekly job club that has helped 64 young people to find employment.
Cllr Alison Dickie, vice convener of children and families, said: “The council recognises the importance of working in partnership with care experienced children, young people and their families to improve the ways in which we look after them and support them into adulthood. We want to get more young people involved in shaping services and that’s why we are establishing a Champions’ Board of care experienced young people.”
She added: “We are also recruiting two care experienced young people to work with us as participation and engagement officers and they will be located in the hub.”