Naomi Long, MP for East Belfast, has backed the launch of a national campaign calling for children in care to be given better financial support as they leave the care system. The On Our Own Two Feet campaign, led by children’s charities Action for Children and Barnardo’s, is calling for savings accounts to be set up to help young people as they leave care, by their corporate parent – the government.
The new targeted, savings account proposed by the charities would be more cost effective too. Estimates show that it would cost £6.7 million, compared with the previous Child Trust Fund costing £500 million.
The Alliance MP met with young care leavers at the launch of the campaign in the Houses of Parliament and has written to the Chancellor, George Osborne, asking him to provide for a savings account scheme for children in care in the Budget on 23rd March.
Naomi Long said “Without additional financial support, some of our most vulnerable young people leaving care will be left struggling at a time when they need support the most.
“Most of us have had some help from our parents over the years, and most people do what they can for their own children, but youngsters leaving care can’t rely on their parents. They need Government, who act as corporate parents, to give them some financial assistance to give them a good start in adult life. I fully support Action for Children and Barnardo’s’ call for a new savings account for this group of vulnerable children, and will do all I can to ensure they get the support they need to build bright futures.”
Dame Clare Tickell, Chief Executive of Action for Children said, “Leaving care can be a frightening time for young people – they are often alone and fending for themselves at the age of 18 or even younger. We owe it to them to make sure that they, like many of those who are not in care, have savings that help them to plan their future. We are very grateful to Naomi Long MP for her support on this campaign to get more practical help to help them stand on their own two feet as adults.
Action for Children and Barnardo’s are calling on the public to back their campaign to give children leaving care the support that they need to be able to stand on their own two feet.
To get involved please visit www.actionforchildren.org.uk/owntwofeet