Making a home, finding a job: investigating early housing and employment outcomes for young people leaving care


Jim Wade,
Social Work Research and
Development Unit,
Alcuin College, B Block,
University of York,
York YO10 5DD,


This paper presents findings from a new study of outcomes for young people leaving care funded by the Department for Education and Skills. It reports findings for a sample of 106 young people in relation to progress made in housing and employment some 12–15 months after leaving care. The generally poor employment outcomes of care leavers are acknowledged, but ingredients that make for success are also highlighted, including the value of settled care and post-care careers, sound career planning and, significantly, the value of delaying young people’s transitions from care. Early career paths also interconnect with how young people fare in housing, in developing life skills and with other problems in their lives after leaving care. Housing outcomes were more encouraging and predominantly shaped by events after leaving care, and faring well in housing was the factor most closely associated with positive mental well-being in young people. Some groups that are at risk of faring badly are identified, including young people with mental-health problems, young people with persistent offending or substance misuse problems and, in some respects, young disabled people. The implications of these findings for leaving care services are considered.