Yippee Project: Care leavers and their pathways in post compulsory education
Yippee is a three-year research project funded under the EU Framework 7 Program on Youth and Social Inclusion. Its aim is to encourage and enable young people who were in out-of-home care at 16 to remain in post-compulsory education. This is becoming an essential step towards achieving social integration in adulthood. Five European member states, representing different welfare regimes form the project partnership. They are England (coordinator), Denmark, Sweden, Hungary and Spain
• In all countries the attainment of children in care falls far below that of others.
• Children in care are largely invisible because they make up only 1-2% of the population, and have not been identified as a marginalised group except in England.
• Most young people in care experience many disruptions in their educational pathways and fall progressively behind their age cohort.
• If there is no legal duty to provide social and economic support past 18 years, it is difficult for them to progress to higher levels of education.
• Administrative divisions between care and education create problems in all. countries. England is the only one to have joined them up administratively, both centrally and locally.
• Social workers generally give low priority to educational matters and focus on placement and relationship issues.
• Professionals have low aspirations for young people in care and routinely steer them into basic vocational training or short-term jobs.
• Children in care do better initially in countries with more highly qualified and well educated carers, but fall behind later due to low expectations and lack of support.
• A Europe-wide policy is needed, highlighting the education of young people in and after public care as a key issue for social integration
• Statistics on attainment and participation should be collected and published to enable comparisons with the general population
• Care and education systems should be synchronised and work together to provide maximum support and encouragement
• Teachers and schools need to understand the special circumstances of children in care and social workers should give priority to education
• Foster and residential carers should play a central role in supporting and promoting educational progress