Proactive Grants:
Care Leavers

This initiative is not open to enquires or applications

Care Leavers is our newest Proactive initiative. Its aim is broadly to support organisations and projects that help young people leaving the care system to transition successfully to adulthood and to be the best they can be.


Since a significant number of young people entering the care system do so as a result of suffering abuse and/or neglect, it is not surprising that they also are amongst the most vulnerable in society when they leave care.

Leaving care support is currently driven by age and legal entitlement, not need. A child legally becomes an adult at the age of 18. The leaving care age across the UK is also 18, although young people can choose to leave care up to two years earlier – and many young people do so. Care leavers are forced to be independent at a much younger age than their peers.

Outcomes for care leavers have been a policy and service focus for some time because they are known to be poor when compared with those of the general population. However, despite an increasing awareness of the outcomes, there is evidence that there is a significant variation in care leavers’ experiences of support and services.

The Care Leavers initiative will partner with organisations that work towards ensuring positive outcomes for young care leavers.


The Care Leavers initiative is focused on education, training and employment for care leavers as well as standardised professional training for people working with and for care leavers.


The first Care Leavers grants were awarded in December 2018 to:

  • Catch22, £536,000, to work in partnership with The Children’s Society to develop and implement a bespoke new apprenticeship scheme for young people leaving the care system over a two year period
  • Catch22, £96,000 for the specific purpose of funding the salary of the Director of the Lighthouse for a three year period. The Lighthouse is a new start-up organisation which is ‘incubated’ by Catch22. It will establish a new, innovative not-for-profit care home model to the UK which is based on a proven approach adopted in Denmark and Germany where care leavers achieve far better educational outcomes than their peers in the UK
  • Drive Forward Foundation, £151,000 for a three year project supporting young people aged 14-16 in care to transition to adulthood and further or higher education and/or work

In 2019, we awarded the final grant in the Care Leavers initiative to:

  • BECOME, £530,000 (including an initial £30,000 to develop a theory of change exercise for the project) for a five-year pilot to develop a training programme for Personal Advisers who work with young people leaving the care system

The Care Leavers budget has now been fully committed, and we have engaged nfpSynergy to undertake ongoing evaluation of the Care Leavers projects at their start, mid and end points.

Care Leavers Case Studies

Drive Forward Foundation
Drive Forward Foundation
Drive Forward Foundation