What Makes Life Good? Care Leavers’ Views on their Well-Being

Linda Briheim-Crookall, Olivia Michelmore, Claire Baker, Oluwanifemi Oni, Sarah Taylor, Julie Selwyn

This report analyses 1,804 care leaver responses collected in 21 English local authorities between 2017 and 2019.

Over the past five years, the authors have collected over 10,000 care-experienced voices through the Your Life Beyond Care and the Your Life, Your Care surveys. Children in care and care leavers expressed how they felt about their lives and what they have shared gives an unprecedented insight into their subjective well-being.

Since the analysis for this report, understanding well-being has become ever more important. Although care leavers’ responses were collected before the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the issues raised by young people are likely to have been further exacerbated by the current environment. Almost half of working-age adults in the UK report that the pandemic has affected their well-being. It has impacted on people’s finances, relationships and rates of depression (ONS 2020e and ONS 2020f). Understanding how care leavers feel about their lives is essential in order to deliver high-quality services. It is now more relevant than ever to focus on well-being to support care leavers effectively through this difficult time and beyond.