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 2016-17

Annual Report 2015-16

Annual Report 2014-15

Annual Report 2013-14


The origins of Drive Forward date back to 1993 and the organisation Partners in Hope, which was established to tackle the problems faced by young people leaving institutional care in Russia. At that time, only 10% of orphaned care leavers went on to get a job and lead a normal family life.

But it soon became clear that this cycle was not unique to Russia and large numbers of young care leavers in the UK were also affected – despite the more developed social care system and charity ‘safety net’.

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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