Almost 100 north Wales care leavers eligible for basic income pilot scheme
Almost 100 care leavers across the region are eligible to take part in the Wales Basic Income pilot scheme.
The initiative, which was announced by the Welsh Government last week, will see young people leaving care offered a guaranteed income of £1,600 each month, before tax.
From Friday, 1 July, more than 500 people leaving care in Wales will be offered the basic income for two years to support them as they make the transition to adult life.
It is hoped the pilot will “set care leavers on a path to live healthy, happy and fulfilling lives.”
The £20 million pilot, which will run for three years, will be evaluated to “carefully examine its effect on the lives of those involved.”
Local authorities will be involved in supporting care leavers throughout the pilot. Care Cymru will also work with the young people to give them advice on wellbeing, education, employment and help them plan their future after the pilot.
Speaking in the Senedd yesterday (Tuesday 5 July), North Wales MS Carolyn Thomas asked what outcomes is the Welsh Government hoping to achieve from the universal basic income pilot for care leavers in North Wales and how they will be measured.
She added: “Anxiety and money troubles can be all-consuming and prevent people from thriving or living healthy, happy lives.
“Financial stability could mean the difference between care leavers learning new skills, being able to afford to network and socialise and build confidence and be happy.
” It is not always easy to measure these things, but they are incredibly important, nonetheless, particularly for young people, who could really benefit from emotional support and someone they can trust to turn to.
First Minister Mark Drakeford said as part of the scheme, the Welsh Government will be “collecting the lived experience of those young people” to find out how the pilot has benefited them.
Mr Drakeford said: “At the launch event that I attended with my colleague Jane Hutt, I talked there with a young woman who explained to me that she’d left care, she had a flat of her own and the tenancy came to an end, she’d secured another flat, but there was a two-week gap between the flat that she had to leave and the flat that she was going to move into.
“She said to me that other young people who have families behind them wouldn’t need to think about what to do in those circumstances; you know that you can go home for a couple of weeks and you can manage, and then when your new flat is available, you move in.
“For her, it was a disaster; she was homeless when the first flat ended, and by the time the next tenancy became available, her life had been so badly affected by those two weeks with nowhere to go that she wasn’t able to take it up at all. Giving young people a basic income that they know they can rely on will enable them to make different sorts of decisions, investment decisions, in their own future.
“But because this is a vulnerable group of young people, then, in our scheme, they will also have access to regular advice from those people who they know already, who’ve been part of their lives already and will continue to be part of their lives during the pilot period.
“So, when they are making decisions, they will not be making them alone or in isolation, they will be making them alongside the advice and the guidance that they recognise themselves they will need to draw on in order to be able to make the most of the opportunities that are now available to them.
There is an evaluation, a rigorous evaluation schedule that has been agreed for the pilot. It will include qualitative as well as quantitative research.
“We’ll collect the figures, of course, but we will also be collecting the lived experience of those young people in those interviews that allow them to speak for themselves and to make sure that we are able to draw the maximum advantage in terms of learning from the experiment that we will be trying here in Wales.”
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