christmas care leavers coram

Supporting care leavers this Christmas

Supporting care leavers this Christmas

The UK is in the midst of an unprecedented cost of living crisis, and this winter, young people leaving the care system are among those set to be hit hardest by the rising cost of food, housing and energy bills.

Many of the thousands of young people who leave the care system every year risk falling through the gaps, facing the prospect of homelessness, hunger and a lack of opportunities. Often without a support network to turn to for guidance, the risks are even greater. In fact, one in three care leavers experience homelessness within the first two years of leaving care*, and many leave care in their final year of schooling, making it more of a struggle to access the same opportunities in higher education and employment as their peers.

Coram, the UK’s first and longest continuing children’s charity, is one of the organisations helping young care leavers this winter. As a specialist group of children’s charities, Coram is able to address the multiple challenges those in care face. This includes advocacy work through Coram Voice, which has already seen a 22% increase in the number of young people contacting its helpline, and anticipates that demand will increase further in the run up to Christmas.

Coram Voice supports over a thousand young care leavers each year in their transition to independence. This includes Emily**, who told the Coram Voice team that on the eve of her 18th birthday, her life had fallen apart and she felt ‘abandoned’.

Emily had been in care since she was a young child and felt happy and supported with her foster family. But when she turned 18, she was moved miles from her current home and college to a hostel where she felt unsafe. The support promised from Emily’s local authority to help her live independently hadn’t been provided and she found it difficult to manage her finances and keep up with her college work. Emily was often left with no money left to buy food, and feeling alone and unsupported, her mental health was negatively impacted.

Coram Voice advocates stepped in and reassured Emily that she had the right to support. They helped her to raise her concerns with her local authority who acknowledged they had let her down. She was allocated a new advisor who helped her settle into a new flat where she felt safe. She was given help to manage her finances and access her entitlements and to plan for the future.

There are still too many young people in care who, like Emily, face turning 18 without the support they need. Not receiving adequate support at this crucial juncture into adulthood can have a lifelong impact and whilst many of us would rely on family, young care leavers often face challenges alone.

Coram will continue to be there for young people in care, providing immediate support to help them access the services they need and ensure they have a safe place to live, so that every care leaver can look forward to a brighter future. Find out more about Coram’s work at


* Homeless prevention for care leavers, prison leavers and survivors of domestic violence. All-party Parliamentary Group for Ending Homelessness

** name changed to protect anonymity

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