Llamau was honoured to host Children’s Commissioner for Wales, Sally Holland, to launch her new report, Hidden Ambitions / Breuddwydion Cudd, challenging local authorities and Welsh Government to do more to meet the needs of young people leaving care.

The Commissioner was joined by Cllr Susan Elsmore, representing the Welsh Local Government Association, and a number of officials from Welsh Government and spoke to a group of young people who have left the care system and are now supported by Llamau.

The young people were able to talk about the barriers that they collectively face when negotiating the transition between being in care and leaving care, and ideas for extra support that could be offered by statutory services as part of the new £1 million pot for care leavers announced by Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children, Carl Sargeant AM.

In the Hidden Ambitions report, the Commissioner identified the following areas for improvement:

  • Support for all

All young people leaving care should be able to access support up to the age of 25, whether or not they are in education or training, as happens to young people in Scotland and is planned for in England.

  • Housing and income

All young people should have somewhere to live where they feel safe and secure. There needs to be more of a focus on gaining skills for independence including practical skills such as cooking, opening a bank account and paying bills. Young people leaving residential care should have similar opportunities to those leaving foster care and no-one should have to move in the middle of their A-level year.

  • Opportunities

Local authorities should act like large family businesses in terms of their role as corporate parents for young people being looked after. Like any family business, they should be prepared to offer training and job opportunities in their many areas of employment.

The commissioner will now meet with the leaders and chief executives of all local authorities in Wales over the coming weeks to discuss the report, and she was challenged by the young people today to come back and report on progress in one year’s time.