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This Care Experienced Week find out how a bursary is helping our young people achieve.

Just over 25% of young people working with our Leaving Care Team are now in higher or further education thanks to the Care Experienced Student Bursary.

Initially launched in 2017 to support care leavers going on to university, the bursary was extended to those in further education the following year.

In total 36 of the 140 young people working with the Leaving Care Team are currently studying at college or university. When the bursary first launched only three had places.

To be eligible for the bursary you must have been looked after by a Local Authority and be under 26 on the first day of the first academic year of your course.

Jenny Kane, Team Manager, Leaving Care Service, said the financial support the bursary provided was helping care experienced young people achieve their potential and avoid the poverty trap.

She said: “Going to college or university is helping improve the self-confidence and self-esteem of many of the young people we work with. Extending Continuing Care, introducing the bursary and the fact care leavers now do not pay Council Tax until they are 26 have all had a positive impact on the outcomes of our young people.”

In September, the Scottish Government announced its ‘2019/20 Programme for Government’ which included a series of proposals that aim to benefit care experienced young, which includes:

  • The removal of the age cap of 26 for the Care Experienced Student Bursary.
  • A job grant for those aged under-26 to help with the costs of starting work.
  • Parents being able to access early years learning provision for their children, once their child reaches the age of two.
  • Free access to dental health treatment up to the age of 26.
  • Legislative change to support brothers and sisters in care either staying together or continuing to see one another.
  • Access to discretionary housing benefit to help maintain tenancies.

Jenny said: “We welcome the proposals which support care experienced young people access and sustain well paid employment, as we know this is a key factor in helping them successfully transition to adulthood. The other proposals are also positive as they show a commitment, in practical terms, to Corporate Parenting and have come about following consultation with young people during the Care Review.

“Only by speaking to those who have experienced care can we ensure services and support at both national and local level better meet the needs of young people and their families. That is why listening and talking to those we support is at the heart of our Council of the Future Closer to Home strategy.”

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