Nearly half of the children surveyed for the After Care report say they left care too early and were also not prepared well enough to leave.

Children's Rights Director Roger Morgan compiled the report after surveying the views of 308 care leavers who had either recently left care or were preparing to leave. 

"Not being prepared to leave care and being made to leave too early were themes that came up again and again in our consultation" said Dr Morgan.

"Young people telling us about their experiences of leaving care have mentioned that loneliness is something that many are struggling to cope with. Having spent years living with others in care, many now feel as though they have moved to a life of isolation and limited support. It was interesting to hear that one care leaver commented that it might be better to leave care in stages rather than so abruptly."

In total, 46 per cent of care leavers thought they were made to leave care too early while 49 per cent thought they had been prepared badly for life after care.

Typically young people leave home at around 24 years old, but some care leavers in the survey had left as young as 16 with one leaver quoted in the report saying: "As a 16 year old I have gone from a children's home to a women's refuge and from having lots of support to having none."

Many care leavers said they wanted help with money and practical support as well as learning about how to obtain and use their important documents such as passports, birth certificates and national insurance card with one care leaver even saying they were unable to get a job having not received a national insurance number.

However, the report did show that 61 per cent of care leavers felt their lives had been made better as a result of being in care, but Dr Morgan added: "While this is encouraging, it is equally worrying that many felt they were treated so differently by society that they kept the fact they were in care a secret.

"Overall, half of the care leavers told us they sometimes, often or always kept it a secret that they were in care. It is worrying that in this day and age, care leavers feel they have to hide this."

Read the report in full on www.rights4me.org 

Posted 12/03/2012 by penny.hosie@pavpub.com