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As well as their ongoing individual needs, it is also likely that vulnerable young people will often be faced with the prospect of leaving the formal state care systems (care leavers) or carry the stigma of being ex-offenders.
In the 2007 White Paper “Care Matters: Time for Change”, the Government recognised the need to help young people in care to “reach their potential by providing … a high quality education, opportunities to develop their talents and skills, and effective support for their transition to adulthood.”
Young people leaving care are amongst the most vulnerable in society, and face considerably worse outcomes than those who have not had a background in care. Many take on ‘adult’ responsibilities (e.g. independent living; early parenthood) a great deal sooner than other young people, and without any emotional or financial support. Indeed, the average age for a young adult to leave home is around 22 years old. For young people in care it is around 16 years-old.
In England, during the year ending March 2008, 8,300 young people aged 16 and over, left social care. Of this group, 2,400 moved to independent living in supported accommodation, 1,000 moved to independent living without support, 470 moved in to care provided by adult services and 350 (nearly 5 per cent) were sentenced to custody
Furthermore, homelessness is a very real prospect for vulnerable young people, with 43,075 16-24 year-olds being classified statutorily homeless in 2007 – young adults from minority ethnic groups, and young men being the most likely groups to be homeless.
Recent changes to the funding of adult housing provision and proposed changes to the funding of adult support services (known as “Personalisation”) in 2010 are likely to result in significant shifts in the UK landscape of adult social care provision.
Birmingham City Council as part of the Coalition’s plans for savings, will need to achieve a 25% budget reduction and this is likely to translate into a £12 million reduction in Supporting People funding over the next 3 years.
Therefore, despite the recommendations of the 2007 White Paper, it is clear that the UK’s current social services and care systems are failing many adults, both young and old.
 Department of Health, 1999
 Department of Children Schools and Families, 2008
 Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2008
 Personalisation of budgets is intended to provide service users with greater control, choice and flexibility in respect of the level of care/support received. Each service user will become responsible for the selection of their own care provision.