FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Office of Johnny Mercer MP
Phone: +44 1752 876979
Johnny Mercer, Cross-Government Lead for Care Leavers, Meets Plymouth Charity Pause
Johnny Mercer, the MP for Plymouth Moor View, has stepped up as the new cross-government lead for care leavers “to secure improved care leaver outcomes”. Today, there are over 80,000 children in a disjointed care system costing the government £10 billion per year. At the age of 18, young people leave local authority or foster care, however some young people can leave care as young as 16 or 17. Young people leaving care are known to experience poorer emotional and physical health outcomes and face barriers to education and employment. These challenges faced by care leavers remain a hidden inequality.
Johnny Mercer will act on the recommendations of the ‘Independent Review of Children’s Social Care’, which elevates the voices of care leavers into the policymaking process. Announcing his role at a meeting of the newly-formed cross-government care leavers board, Mr Mercer, stated: “I know the challenges that children in care can experience throughout their lives, which is why I’m delighted to be taking on the role of cross-government care leaver lead, championing the interests of care leavers from my unique position at the heart of government, as I have, and continue to do, for veterans across the country.”
In Plymouth, Mr Mercer attended a Meet and Greet with Pause on Monday, 25th September. Pause is a national charity that works with women who have experienced – or are at risk of experiencing – the removal of more than one child from their care. This is a heart-wrenching experience that care leavers disproportionately face.
Speaking on Mr Mercer’s visit, Chief Executive Jules Hillier said “We were grateful to be able to welcome Johnny to our Pause Practice in Plymouth earlier this week and are really pleased to see the government focus on the issues facing care leavers by creating this new role. A huge 39% of the women work with at Pause are care experienced themselves – we are working with women who have been in care themselves, who have then grown up to have their own children taken into care. Evidence shows that to break this cycle and to reduce the number of children going into care, support for birth parents must be more widely available.”
Reflecting on his visit, Mr Mercer commented “Pause do outstanding, brave and vital work with some of our most vulnerable women across the city, who end up having their children removed from their care. We have some truly special people in our city. Together with Trevi House, who I have supported for years, they really are a beacon of hope for so many vulnerable women and I’m so proud they are right here in Plymouth.” Working both locally and nationally, Mr Mercer is “determined” to use his new role “to make this the best country in the world to be a care leaver”.