Leap joins 'Keep Care Leavers Connected' Campaign

Catch 22 & Leap
Monday 28th September 2020
Open letter to:

Gavin Williamson MP, Secretary of State for Education

Vicky Ford MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families

Nadhim Zahawi MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business and Industry

 

Sign our Petition, calling to ensure care leavers are digitally connected

We are calling on government to:

-         Extend and improve uptake of the government scheme that provides digital devices and internet for all care leavers

-         Ensure every care leaver in England has a digital device and internet access for at least 12 months when they first live independently

-         Recommend that all local offers for care leavers include the right to a digital device and internet access

 

The world revolves around being digitally connected." data-share-imageurl="https://www.leapconfrontingconflict.org.uk/sites/default/files/field/image/Keep%20Care%20Leavers%20Connected%20%281%29.png">

Open letter to:

Gavin Williamson MP, Secretary of State for Education

Vicky Ford MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families

Nadhim Zahawi MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business and Industry

 

Sign our Petition, calling to ensure care leavers are digitally connected

We are calling on government to:

-         Extend and improve uptake of the government scheme that provides digital devices and internet for all care leavers

-         Ensure every care leaver in England has a digital device and internet access for at least 12 months when they first live independently

-         Recommend that all local offers for care leavers include the right to a digital device and internet access

 

The world revolves around being digitally connected. Having access to a device and being connected to the internet are essentials that our society cannot live without.

Care leavers are a part of our society – and the COVID-19 pandemic has shone a light on the digital exclusion that many care leavers in England are experiencing. There are still many care leavers who are not digitally connected.

The Government’s scheme to provide digital devices and internet access to vulnerable children in England at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic provided a lifeline to many care leavers.

Those previously without devices or connectivity had the opportunity to access online learning, apply for jobs and attend interviews, and connect with friends and family. These are things that the majority of people rightly take for granted.

But government has stopped issuing laptops, and the internet access is set to end in November 2020.

We also know that many care leavers were unable to access the devices – or secure an internet connection to go with them. In a survey of local authorities, covering more than 6000 care leavers between them, 40% said that none of the care leavers they worked with had received a laptop or tablet as part of the Government-funded scheme. This was due to a variety of issues, including IT problems, distribution delays and confusion over eligibility criteria.

Being connected to the internet is vital for the c. 80,000 care leavers in England aged 18-25. Not only does it mean they can continue studies or employment at home and in the absence of face to face learning, but it allows them to connect with their peers. Without a computer and internet access, care leavers who already face considerable challenges feel more isolated and are further disadvantaged.

-         As a first step, we want to see the government extend the existing scheme and commit to making sure care leavers can access it easily. That means clear guidance, fast delivery and appropriate training for users

-         We also want to ensure every care leaver in England has a laptop and internet access for at least 12 months when they first live independently

-         And we want to see government guidance setting out that all local offers for care leavers include the right to a device and internet access

Having reliable internet access makes a huge difference to those care leavers who have been able to take advantage. Taking it away would not only be a backwards step, but would have a potentially damaging effect on these young care leavers’ ability to learn, communicate and work effectively. It would plunge many into digital poverty.

Devices and internet access are crucial to minimise disadvantage and maximise opportunity. Digital access should be a right, not a luxury.

 

Signed:

Barnardo’s

Become

Carefree Fostering Independence Cornwall

Care Leaver Covenant

Care Leavers National Movement

Catch22

Children England

Children’s Rights Alliance England

Children's Society

Community Action for Refugees and Asylum Seekers

Coram Voice

Digital Access for All

Drive Forward Foundation

Esmee Fairbairn

Family Action

Family Rights Group

The Fostering Network

Greater Manchester Youth Network

Independent Children’s Homes Association

Just for Kids Law

Leap Confronting Conflict

Learning Foundation

Leicestershire Cares

Lighthouse

National House Project

National Network for the Education of Care Leavers

Partnership Young London

Plus One Programme: Derby Theatre

Pure Insight

Sea Cadets

St Christopher’s Fellowship

Together Trust

WhiteHat

Young Minds

Youth Work Unit

 

 

 

 

More news & blogs

Leap joins 'Keep Care Leavers Connected' Campaign

By Catch 22 & Leap
Monday 28th September 2020
Blog

Supporting schools and students through transition: In Conversation with Ella Peterman, West London Zone

By Madeleine Weaver - Communications & Policy Officer
Friday 11th September 2020
News

Transition Resource for Year 6/7 Pupils

By Alex McKell - Innovation Manager
Monday 27th July 2020
Blog

How do we effectively support vulnerable young people at risk of serious violent crime? In conversation with Jon Yates

By Alicia Edmund, Senior Communications and Policy Officer
Wednesday 1st July 2020
News

Put children and young people at the heart of coronavirus recovery

By Income and External Affairs Team
Tuesday 30th June 2020
News

Influencing policy, practice and ideas

By Ben Kernighan, Chief Executive
Tuesday 30th June 2020
News

Reflect, Connect & Direct: Reflection Pack for Prisoners

By Madeleine Weaver - Communications & Policy Officer
Tuesday 23rd June 2020

Sign up for our latest news