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Care leavers set to get extra support from council

EXTRA help could soon be given to young people living in Swansea who have left care.


There are proposals to ensure all care leavers aged between the age of 18 and 25 do not have to pay council tax as they start to live independently.

 Swansea Council has recently been praised for the way it supports care leavers. Many already do not have to pay any council tax for various reasons including being entitled to council tax reduction because of their financial circumstances or single person discounts as they live alone.

This change will ensure that those who do have an amount left to pay after these existing reductions have been allowed are, in future, treated the same as those who do not.

A report going to the council's cabinet on June 21 recommends the move.

Council leader Rob Stewart, who is also Cabinet Member for Financial Services, said: "Swansea Council values its role as a corporate parent to these young people who have already experienced great adversity and we want the same outcomes for those in our care as every good parent wants for their children.

"Some of the schemes we run to support care leavers have recently been highlighted by the Children's Commissioner for Wales as good practice in the report Hidden Ambitions. These include apprenticeship opportunities, additional support for those at risk of homelessness and the help available to all young people as they move to independent living.

"But we recognise we can do more.  The transition process for many young people moving out of care and into adulthood is extremely difficult and managing their money for the first time without the support they have previously had leaves them at genuine risk of falling into debt.

"That is why I am keen, and indeed sure, that my cabinet colleagues will support this change."

The Children's Society has recently been campaigning for care leavers across the UK to be granted council tax relief.

Cabinet Member for Children's Services, Cllr Will Evans, said: "The Children's Society states youngsters leaving care may find themselves grappling with the many challenges of living independently, including managing a household, continuing education or seeking employment, as well as managing their personal finances and paying household bills for the first time.

"Council tax debt can be a particularly frightening experience for care leavers. If they start to fall slightly behind in their payments it can escalate and become more serious. By ensuring they do not pay council tax we will remove this fear."

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