Social Agenda Issue 53 - EN

Magda a care leaver now in a management position After a childhood spent in the care of innovative public services, Magda is now a manager in a social enterprise co-funded by two EU funds Across Europe, many young people struggle to make the transition to independent adult life. Madga (26) is one of the lucky ones. A gastronomy manager in a busy Gdańsk hotel, in Poland, she is about to get married and she and her husband-to-be are doing up an apartment where they will start their life together. In most parts of Europe, prospects for young people like Magda are bleak. That is because she spent her childhood in the care of public services, looked after by the local authority, as her parents were unable to care for her. In many countries, the life chances of these young people are poor. Eurofound research shows that they are a consistent sub-group within the overall “not in education, employment or training” figures in Europe (see page 6). In Poland, the Social Innovation Foundation estimates that 46% of care-leavers became unemployed on leaving education. Neighbourly house Fortunately for Magda and others like her, recent developments have worked in their favour, in particular Poland's policy commitment to deinstitutionalisation. In cities like Gdańsk, this has encouraged a shift away from large orphanages and care homes to smaller, more manageable units. In Magda's case, this meant spending her early adulthood in a ‘neighbourly house’ with a small group of other children and a 'guide'. Instead of sleeping in a bunk-bed in a large dormitory, she had an upbringing more similar to children in family homes. It also meant that, instead of a constant churn of social support staff, she was able to form strong bonds with her carers, who were there to provide support on all the issues teenagers need help with. How to earn a living One issue is trying to work out how you are going to earn a living and – more fundamentally – what you are interested in and good at. Magda was lucky again here. Not only because she had an engaged and supportive adult to speak to but also because the Poor life chances: In Poland, the Social Innovation Foundation estimates that 46% of care-leavers become unemployed on leaving education. EU FUNDING BENEFICIARY © Belga Image 2 4 / SOC I A L AG E NDA / NOV E MB E R 2 0 1 8