The challenges and barriers that our care leavers and estranged students community face are numerous and often unknown and not understood by other students or staff members.
Currently only 6% of care leavers aged 19-21 go into higher education, and those that do are nearly twice as likely to drop out than their peers. [Source]
Students who are estranged or disowned from their family often feel unacknowledged, invisible and sensitive to judgement and stigma around their family situation.
As allies, it is crucial for us to support them in any way we can, using our positions of power and influence to improve their experiences. That's why we're asking you to pledge to educate yourselves and others to become allies of care leavers and estranged students.
There are a few things that you can do to support care leavers and estranged students, and we’ve put them together to give you a helping hand.
There are a few things that you can do to be a great ally and we’ve put some of them together to give you a helping hand. Use the form at the bottom of this page to pledge to be an ally of care leavers and estranged students.
There are lots of myths about growing up in foster care and being estranged. It can be difficult to understand the experiences of care leavers and estranged students without having that lived experience, however, you can still take time to research and educate yourself about some of the challenges care leavers and estranged students face. Become Charity have a range of information that can help you educate yourself more.
It's important to check in with your friends that are care leavers and estranged, ask how they are and be willing to listen. What every care leaver and estranged student decides to share will be different.
Be aware that everyone’s experiences are unique and that talking about family can be difficult for some care leavers and estranged students. If you say the wrong thing by accident, acknowledge it, apologise and learn from it.
Care leavers and estranged students do not have the conventional support of family that some of us take for granted. Be conscious over the holidays, and in times of difficulty, as care leavers and estranged students are often alone, and likely do not have anyone checking in to see if they are okay.