Aftercare is a range of services provided to a young person when they leave care at age 18.
These services support young people while they make the transition from living in foster or residential care, to adulthood, with the same opportunities as other young people their age.
Leaving home for most young people means always having somewhere to come back to - for weekends, celebrations, advice and support. For many young people leaving care has not provided this support.
They leave the safety and security of “home” (sometimes the only home they have known) and cannot go back.
Those leaving care, just like any other young person leaving home, need a range of practical supports to build skills to help cope with challenges of moving to independent living.
They may also need financial support, accommodation, assistance in gaining employment or training, emotional support and general advice and information to help them make good, informed decisions about their future.
Not every young person will need all of these but EPIC believes having access to these supports should be their statutory right.
At the moment there is no statutory obligation on the HSE to provide aftercare services to young people. Young people’s access to aftercare has, in the past, been patchy and depended on where in the country they were living. Research shows that leaving on a gradual basis or staying on for a short time beyond the age of 18 where needed, has a positive outcome for care leavers.
EPIC provides help, support and information for young people aged 17 and a half and over as they prepare to leave care, and to those who have left care. If a young person needs help with things such as education, health , employment or tenancy, EPIC can put them in contact with the right services for their needs.
Here are some examples of the supports available to young people through EPIC :
For more information please contact Brenda Kneafsey - our Aftercare Network Support Co-Ordinator