In the initial post-war period, the Children Act 1948 set out powers and duties which local authorities had in respect of those young people leaving care. However, following the reorganisation of social services in the 1970s research identified that many of those in care were leaving care at 16 with minimal support (Stein, 2012). The Children Act 1989 started to address this by providing a duty under s.24 to ‘advise, assist and befriend young people’ leaving care between the ages of 16 and 21. However, rather than giving local authorities specific duties to support care leavers it instead largely gave them discretionary powers.
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