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Care leavers and young people in transition

Whatever a young person’s support needs, many young people find Shared Lives is an ideal way to maintain independence whilst having support. It is an ideal opportunity for young people leaving care.

Shared Lives Plus has recieved two years of funding from the Rayne Foundation to develop Shared Lives for care experienced young people across the UK. (Jump to Care Leavers Development Project information)

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Shared Lives for young people

There are more than 80,000 children are children in care in England alone, Young people usually need to leave care at age 18, and for those with learning disabilities, mental ill health or life-limiting conditions, the transition from child to adult services can be challenging. Shared Lives can support this transition and ensure that young people have consistent support and help throughout these challenging transitions.

Shared Lives matches young people to a family or individual who celebrates that young person’s unique gifts and identities. It helps them to get involved in local youth and leisure opportunities, so they develop their strengths and build on this.

Shared Lives gives young people safe spaces and communities where they can make mistakes, learn lessons and forge their own characters and assets.

Lee's Story

“If you get a good family it will change your life”

- Lee

Lee had a complicated and turbulent childhood, so moving in with Shared Lives carer Maz and her family was his first real chance at a stable home.

“I was scared. I was frightened of being rejected. But it’s been amazing.”

As well sharing homelife with Maz’s family, Lee was also given the chance to travel the world with them.

“I’ve been to Orlando, Spain, Turkey and Egypt. We went to Canada; we visited New Brunswick, Halifax, Toronto and Niagara Falls. It’s very special if you go at night because it lights up.”


Read more about Lee and Maz on

Tom's Story

“I can be myself and feel comfortable. ”

- Tom, 18

“I moved into a flat when I was 18 years old and met people who I thought were my friends, but I did not feel safe. I also found it hard to manage my money. I needed more support and the leaving care team helped me move in with Richard and his family.

They have helped me to build my confidence. I know that I need to trust people to ask for help and advice. I am also so excited as we’re going to Turkey, this was so not expected!

I did have a choice of who I wanted to stay with which helped me feel that it was my decision. I thought it would be down to the size of the bedroom, but I decided to stay, as they were so welcoming and friendly.”

Becky's Story

“It's amazing!”

- Becky

In this lovely film below, Becky, 21 talks about her shared life with Ali and Dave who have helped her exceed her own expectations, and build strong, healthy friendships with people her own age.

What is Shared Lives like for a young person?

Each young person will be provided with support and opportunities to live the best life possible within a family environment. The person will be supported to:

  • Exercise choice and voice in everything that they do.
  • Make mistakes and learn from them in a safe environment.
  • Build confidence, knowledge, and independence skills.
  • Be part of a loving, stable family
  • Access a range of support that they need to manage and improve their wellbeing, mental health, education, employment, and training opportunities.
  • Be connected to friends, family and a wider network of people who provide friendship and support.
  • Be supported to fulfil their interests, hobbies, and leisure activities.

Care Leavers Development Project

Shared Lives Plus has received two years of funding from the Rayne Foundation.

The aims of the care leavers project/ programme are to support local authorities and local partners in the NHS, voluntary and community sector and housing to develop Shared Lives for care experienced young people with learning disabilities and mental ill-health, enabling us to deliver this programme at scale.

Our work with survivors of trauma and those with adverse childhood experience has shaped our approach in developing the Shared Lives model for care leavers and young people will be supported in a way which respects and supports their experience of being in care.


To find out more about the project contact Ali Miller: