Giving Every Young Person the Best Start in Life

An update on progress to give every young person in South Tyneside the best start in life will be given to the Borough Council next week.

The Best Start in Life strategy, which was launched in July of this year, sets out a shared ambition to build safer and stronger families,healthier communities and provide increased opportunities for enterprise, learning and skills.

Councillors will be told that, since the launch of the strategy, a number of initiatives are improving the lives of children, with a particular focus on looked-after children and those leaving care.

A report to Members highlights that one of the key achievements is that looked-after children and those leaving care are now offered free entry to leisure facilities in the Borough with a nominated friend, family member or carer.

In addition, young people leaving care are now exempt from paying Council Tax until the age of 25 so that the Council, as a corporate parent, can support their transition to adulthood.

Councillor Joan Atkinson, Lead Member for Children, Young People and Families, said: "When a child or young person is taken into care, the local authority becomes a corporate parent. Like any other parent, that means we constantly look at ways we can make their lives better.

"Although we already offered a lot of support, the Best Start in Life strategy has brought together a number of key initiatives aimed at improving the lives and life chances of our looked-after children and care leavers and that is something of which we should be very proud."

The report will be received by the Borough Council on 26 October.

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