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Extra measures agreed for continued care

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By Marc McLean, local democracy reporter
Extra measures agreed for continued care

EXTRA measures are being put in place to ensure that looked after children have ongoing support beyond the age of 18 from Dumfries and Galloway Council.

The local authority will next week acknowledge that looked-after children have the right to request to stay in their care placement until the age of 21.

With legislation requiring that all councils in Scotland commit to providing this continuing care to all eligible young people, Dumfries and Galloway’s social work department are working to ensure that sufficient places are available each year via a supported lodges arrangement.

A report on the matter is due to be tabled at the council’s social work committee next Thursday. It reads: “In Scotland, the average age for young adults to leave home has gradually increased to age 26 years old and rising.

“However, for those young adults who are looked after, the average age of leaving care is a little over 17 years old.

“Leaving care too early without the proper levels of support, and with the pressure and responsibilities that come with instant adulthood can be traumatic and damaging.

“The importance of emotional readiness, resilience and ongoing relational support is fundamental.

“Research tells us that raising the age at which young people move on from care is the most direct way of increasing their likelihood of a successful transition into adulthood.

“Evidence shows that extending care placements is associated with sustaining better educational and employment outcomes than leaving care early, and with young people receiving more assistance after leaving care.”

This year, 32 young people are eligible for this ongoing care beyond age 18, however just 12 individuals are currently using these council lodgings.

The council is projecting an increase of ten continuing care spots over the next three years with a projected increased cost of £161,000.

Councillors will be asked to note these costs and plans.

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