A LACK of support for young people in care once they turn 18 has been branded “inhumane” by a council leader.

Earlier this year Monmouthshire County Council’s corporate parenting board met with care leavers to discuss how they are supported by the authority.

Young people who had left care told the council they felt abandoned and isolated at 18 – and councillors vowed to do more to help the transition period.

Council leader Cllr Peter Fox said he didn’t realise that care leavers were ‘cut free’ at 18.

“That’s inhumane,” he said. “The definition of a young person is right through to 25.

“So why is it that we cut that off at 18?

“It’s morally wrong.

“There needs to be a joined-up effort to change the law in these respects.

“There are some things we can do but I don’t like making false promises because resources are tight.

“It must be possible for us to identify dwellings which are suitable for training.

“I believe there are things we can do here, now.”

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The consultation found finding work so they are able to pay rent and support themselves was top priority for most care leavers. They also felt housing options were limited and insufficient, with several left in hostels until they could find somewhere more permanent.

Cllr Debby Blakebrough, who sits on the corporate parenting board, said there should be a review for a more flexible move from 18 to 21.

The council’s chief executive Paul Matthews said that he thought the council could address all the problems.

“Between the 40 of us there’s not a young person in Monmouthshire we can’t find a job for,” he said. “It’s nice to know some things are helping but, like the leader said, the distance between agreeing to do something and actually doing it should be a breath, it shouldn’t be a week or a year.

“I think we can address them all (the problems) if we really want to but it comes at an opportunity cost.

“In a month’s time or three months’ time for you as councillors and us as officers, will the last hour still be resonating with us?

“We have 200 people in our care at the moment, that’s a lot of young people but it’s not too many that we can’t know their names.”

Cabinet member for social care and health, Cllr Penny Jones, said: “It is well-known that young people in the care system face issues that can be really challenging, and this council wants to help in overcoming them and setting all of our young people on a path to the great life they want to lead.

“There are things that we can do, will do and are doing to help. Free access to our leisure/gym offer, access to the apprenticeship routes that we have as an employer and community leader, and housing designed for their needs are within our gift, and council re-committed yesterday to give these issues and others the prominence they need in our decision making.

“I look forward to our on-going work with all our care leavers to make continual improvements.”