On the 1st February 2018, the Drive Forward Foundation (DFF) relaunched its Ambassador’s Programme at Somerset House, London. DFF helps young care leavers find suitable employment in their chosen career through individually tailored programmes of support, training, work inductions and opportunities. As part of this Programme, the Policy Forum, facilitated by Forward Thinking, was established in 2017 to help communicate the disconnect between policy makers, parliamentarians and the realities facing young care leavers on the ground.
The objective is to provide a supportive space for young care leavers to discuss challenges, and opportunities to overcome those challenges to those who can make effective and positive change, thereby improving lives and decreasing the sense of isolation and marginalisation faced.
To help launch the initiative, DFF was joined by Mark Riddell MBE, a care-leaver himself and the National Implementation Adviser to national and local government, whose role is to develop stronger support for care leavers in Government.
In the last 18 months, the forum has tackled diverse issues facing young people as they leave local authority care, with a focus on improving access to adequate local authority housing which suits the needs and aspirations of young care leavers. Participants in the Forum have seen their issues raised in debates in the House of Lords and discussed at the highest political level, including with: Anne Longfield, Children’s Commissioner for England and Wales, Edward Timpson, former Minister for Children and Families, Matthew Ryder, Deputy Mayor for Social Integration, and Lord Francis Listowel.