The number of care leavers in St Helens is expected to rise by 40 per cent by 2020, a new report has revealed.
Currently there are 128 care leavers receiving support from St Helens Council.
A new cabinet report says this is forecast to grow to 180 by 2020.
Speaking at cabinet this week, council leader Derek Long said the forecast increase was “absolutely astonishing”.
At Wednesday’s meeting, cabinet approved the local authority’s updated financial assistance policy for care leavers in St Helens.
The policy sets out the council’s responsibilities in providing support for young people leaving care and sets out the entitlements care leavers will receive.
The revisions to the policy will ensure that practice in relation to care leaver support is compliant with legislation including the wider responsibilities introduced in the Children and Social Work Act 2017, which includes the development of a local offer for care leavers.
Coun Joe Pearson, cabinet member for developing young people, said the policy provides a “foundation” to ensure the council supports its care leavers.
Coun Pearson said: “We now have a duty to ensure the council has a local offer for our care leavers, provide information and advice on the key areas such as housing, health and wellbeing, education and training, and how we as their corporate parents will support them to move on to independence.
“The policy sets out clearly the support the care leavers are entitled to and the help we will provide such as council tax support, support for our care leavers who go on to further education, and how we will offer practical support like helping our young people to learn how to drive.
“This policy states that we will help our care leavers like any parent would.
“This is an important message to this group of young people.”