Young People Leaving Care

We have a dedicated focus on preparing young people to leave care. Find out how to apply for funding on this page, or click here to learn more about our grants and support

The Fostering Network

Our aim

We want to see care leavers supported - by the system and by their own networks - to feel emotionally stable and be financially secure, and ultimately make a more successful transition to independence. To contribute towards this, we are focusing on three outcomes for young people in and leaving care.

  1. Young people in and leaving care are more easily able to form healthy relationships that help them make a successful transition to adulthood
  2. Young people receive a consistently high standard of statutory support that has been informed by their views
  3. There is greater alignment and coherence in the work of the voluntary sector in ensuring a successful transition to adult life for care leavers

We don't expect applications towards outcome 3 - it's something we're going to apply our own financial and non-financial resources, including convening and supporting collaborative work, to achieve.

What we will fund

Funding is limited to the charitable work of organisations, and could be for core or project costs, including staff salaries and overheads. There are no limits on grant size or length, with our median active grant being £168,000 over 3 years. Most support is likely to be in the form of grants, but we would consider making social investments.

Current grantees can apply for funding from the leaving care stream provided the request doesn’t duplicate the grant we have already given. Please speak to your grants manager before applying. 

We will support:

Work that develops long lasting, supportive relationships for young people in and leaving care, e.g.

  • good practice models of how family relationships (including relationships with siblings) can be nurtured rather than broken by the care system
  • development of existing non-family relationships with friends and significant adults, such as teachers, previous foster carers, sports coaches etc
  • development of practical, informal networks that allow care leavers to receive advice, make friends, reduce isolation and grasp positive opportunities
  • policy and practice for looked after children that values and prioritises long lasting supportive relationships and the positive role the care system can play in nurturing and developing these relationships

Work that has a positive impact on the support that care leavers receive from their local authority and other statutory services, e.g.

  • involving care leavers in decisions about their own lives and in the design of services, in order that they influence the structures and processes that govern how they are treated
  • advocating for young people leaving care to obtain what they are legally entitled to and need
  • influencing broader policy, particularly in relation to standardising best practice across the UK
  • collecting and sharing data and knowledge about care leavers and benchmarking local authority services for care leavers
We are looking for work which:
  •  combines good practice with impact that is wider than the immediate beneficiaries by, for example, developing models that can be replicated more widely or influencing local and/or national practice and policy;
  • is clear about the impact it will make and how this will be measured, providing an evidence base for the effectiveness (or not) of the work;
  • is done in partnership with local authorities and other organisations, including fellow grantees, that have responsibility for care leavers.

Making an application

Applications should be submitted via our first stage application process. During the online application process you should select "Young People Leaving Care" as the funding priority.

You will need to answer four questions in no more than 1,200 words (or 2.5 sides of A4):

  1. Give a brief description of your organisation and its relevant track record
  2. What do you want to achieve with our funding?  
  3. How will the grant be spent? 
  4. How will the work you propose help achieve the outcomes of the "Young People Leaving Care" funding stream?

What to expect from our funding

This focused funding stream is a new way of working for Esmée. We want to understand and learn from what makes a real difference to the lives of young people leaving care, and improve future practice as a result.

Our  approach to supporting this work will be developed alongside the organisations we fund, but funded organisations can expect to:

  • come together to share learning with others in the programme regularly

  • co-create shared measures of impact with others in the programme and collect and share data and evidence

  • take part in an external evaluation

  • have access to additional funds to recognise the costs involved in taking part in additional learning and evaluation work

We do not fund:
  • Commonly delivered work such as mentoring or supported housing style projects
  • Applications from local authorities. We do not directly fund local authorities, however, expect that voluntary organisations we fund may be working closely with their local authority and engaging them in the work (particularly in regards to the improving statutory practice outcome).