New ‘Going the Extra Mile’ card for West Sussex care leavers

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West Sussex County Council has launched a new card for care leavers in a national first.

The ‘Going the Extra Mile’ (GEM) card enables care leavers to access care and support to help with any difficulties they may face, even if they pass the age of council responsibility.

Before they reach 21 care leavers will now receive a letter containing their GEM card, explaining that if they have any difficulties in the future they will be able to visit the FindItOut Centres to receive advice and support.

Research shows that currently care leavers can feel isolated and abandoned when they leave care and a proportion are more likely to become homeless and have other negative outcomes.

The council currently has financial and resourcing responsibilities until the age of 21, but has followed its moral duty as ‘parents’ and will continue to help.

Peter Evans, cabinet member for children – start of life, said: “The Going the Extra Mile card is a safety net that will give care leavers a support network to help overcome any difficulties, just as any parent would of their own child.”

Those who left care since November 2014 will also receive a card.

For more details visit www.yourspacewestsussex.co.uk or call the Leaving Care helpline number on 01243 777800.

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