Wales politics

Treat Welsh teens leaving care like your own, commissioner says

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Media captionSally Holland says all teenagers leaving care should be given a 'decent start in life'

Authorities should give teenagers leaving care the same support they would give their own children, a report has said.

Children's Commissioner for Wales Sally Holland said it did not make sense to care for these youngsters only for them to be let down at the last hurdle.

Official figures show nearly half of 19-year-olds leaving care are not in education, employment or training.

The Welsh government agreed teenagers becoming adults needed stability.

Ms Holland said councils need more money to improve support they give.

"We must take seriously our collective responsibility towards looked after children and young people," Ms Holland said.

"We must care for them and give them as much of a chance in life as we'd want to give our own. It is their right and our duty.

"It makes no sense to invest in supporting young people throughout the care system, meeting often quite complex needs, only for them to be let down at the very last - at the point where they may need our support most in order to achieve their goals."

Ms Holland also called for over-18s in residential care homes to be allowed to stay if they wanted.

Ministers have already made such a commitment to young people in foster care.

A Welsh government spokesman said: "We are examining the issues raised by the commissioner and will be looking to learn from experiences in Scotland and England so we can carefully consider the practical and financial issues being raised."

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