Helping people find their normal

Since the beginning, it’s been our aim to make a difference in the lives of young care leavers. Regardless of background and circumstances, we’re here to help them make some momentum, find their way in the world and realise their individual potential.


We all remember the day we leave home. It’s a heady mix of excitement and apprehension at striking out in the adult world alone. But the trouble is, some of us are exactly that – alone – without the safety net of mum and dad, or gran and grandad to help dish out a little bit of advice, some support or even just a hug.

There are over 83,000 children in care in the UK, with 10,000 aged 16-18 branching out on their own in 2013 . And we’re determined to make sure that they have the support and help they need to stand confidently on their own two feet and not be thwarted by low expectations of what they can actually achieve.

Why we can’t sit still

The importance of the work we do at Drive Forward is even clearer when you consider the impact on the lives of young people if we didn’t do anything:


Only 15% of looked after children achieve 5 A*-C grade GCSEs and only 6% will enter higher education, compared to about 23% nationally. As a result, 34% of care leavers aged 19 and over are not in education, employment or training.[1]


[1] Source: Outcomes for Children Looked After by Local Authorities in England, as at 31 March 2013 (Department for Education)


37% of care leavers aged 19[1] are in independent living arrangements, often without any support. And 25% of people homeless on the streets have a care background.[2]



[1] Source: Statistical Briefing:  Looked after children and care leavers 2013 DoE September 2013
[2] Source: CRISIS: The hidden truth about homelessness


Though children in care represent only 1% of all children, they represent 40% of people in custody under the age of 21. Nearly a quarter of the adult prison population has been in the care system.[1]



[1] Source: Who Cares Trust 


Girls in and leaving care are at high risk of pregnancy, with 25% having a child by the age of 16. And young care leavers often enter the system with a poorer level of physical and mental health than their peers. Two thirds of looked after children will have at least one physical health complaint and nearly 50% will have a mental health disorder.[1]

We’re here to break the negative stereotype of what a care leaver is and show every one of them their potential to be successful and valuable members of society.



[1] Source: National Care Advisory Service (2009) Introduction to Leaving Care



Each year we produce a report which shows the difference we have made to the lives of young people leaving care. You can download our reports below:

Annual Report 2017-18

Annual Report 2016-17

Annual Report 2015-16

Annual Report 2014-15

Annual Report 2013-14


Drive Forward was originally called Partners in Hope, a UK charity founded in 1993 which has been working with vulnerable children and young people for the past 20 years. Its work was focused in Russia, specifically helping young people from institutional orphanage care.

Typically young people will leave, what is for most a lifetime in care, with reasonable educational qualifications but no independent living skills and limited job opportunities. Of the 500 orphan graduates in Moscow each year only 10% will make it through to a normal job/family life.

Our work was about finding and creating higher education and job opportunities with a view to challenging the statistics and developing an environment for real and lasting change on behalf of these young people.

When it was no longer politically viable to work in Russia, our founder wanted to make the most of the hard won corporate relationships to transfer the opportunities to UK care leavers and after 4 months of research Drive Forward was set up as a job brokerage in 2010 to help young London care leavers without professional networks to begin their careers.

So in 2010, after months of carrying out research on the challenges facing young care leavers in the UK, we launched our first employment training and personal development programme in London. As it emerged that more fundamental training and holistic support was required, Drive Forward was launched to provide more practical and emotional support to care leavers, helping them develop key skills, confidence and motivation for work, education or training.

That was in 2012 and we haven’t looked back since, inspiring, motivating and supporting hundreds of young care leavers as they make their momentum.


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We’re here to make a difference in the lives of young care leavers. Wherever they’re coming from, we’re on a mission to help open doors and give them the skills, confidence and inspiration to make some momentum and realise their full potential.


Drive Forward Foundation
14-15 Lower Marsh
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0207 620 3000
07848 889 191

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