I was happy to recently join a panel at the Local Government Association Conference with the Care Leavers Covenant discussing Wolverhampton Council’s commitment to our care leavers and the whole Council approach to community corporate parenting.
We signed up to the Care Leavers Covenant in 2017 as trailblazers. We began looking at our whole council approach to corporate parenting and the ‘universal family’ concept and how all parts of society – civic, civil and business – would act as a universal family to those who have not enjoyed the love and support that comes from devoted birth parents.
Fast forward five years and we have achieved so much:
– our care leavers living in the city are exempt from paying Council tax up to the age of 25.
If every local authority did this for care leavers up to the age of 25, it would mean every care leaver in every city or town would have the same support as they begin their journey in to independence, no matter where that care leaver chooses to live.
– We’ve been working with utility company Severn Trent, which is the first utility company to join forces with local authorities in offering support to care leavers.
The Big Difference Scheme gives care leavers up to 70% off their water bill in the first year, and then further discounts until the age of 25.
– We work closely with Wolverhampton Homes who gives all of our care leavers a three-week ‘buffer’ on their rent account. To help prevent debt.
There’s much more that we do to support our children and young people who are care leavers and we’re proud of our commitment to love and support these children as their corporate parents.