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Young women in care

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AVA is excited to have been awarded a grant by The Pilgrim Trust to work on a new project aimed at improving the support provided to young women in care who have experienced parental domestic violence, teenage relationship abuse, or sexual exploitation.

The project will work to ensure that so they can get the support they need earlier and reduce the risks of intersecting issues such as self harm, substance misuse, teenage pregnancy and trauma.

We will be working with a group of young women in care and recent care leavers to develop this work. They will receive and awareness raising support programme around domestic and sexual violence and trauma. They will then co-create a thematic training programme for social workers, care home staff and foster carers as well as resources for young women in care.

We also recognise that those caring for these young women also need support, and we will also set up an online support forum for foster carers including thematic newsletters, blogs, support on specialist issues and vicarious trauma. We will add information about supporting young women in care to our award winning prevention platform site.

Why have we chosen to work specifically with young women in care?

  • Looked-after children and care leavers are between four to and five times more likely to self-harm in adulthood and looked-after teenage girls are 2.5 times more likely to become pregnant than other teenagers.
  • In one study, the majority of adolescent girls living in care reported experiencing some form of dating violence, with 28% reporting severe victimisation.
  • Around 10,000 young people leave care in England each year aged between 16-18 years old. This is an abrupt transition and many young people are particularly vulnerable and have already experienced multiple disadvantages.
  • The government’s care strategy states that “research and inspection reports show that the quality of support care leavers receive is patchy and that their journey through the first decade of adult life is often disrupted, unstable and troubled”.

We will be starting this important piece of work soon. If you are a social worker or foster carer and would like more information about this project please contact joanna.sharpen@avaproject.org.uk.