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St Christopher’s response to financial education recommendations

St Christopher’s is pleased to welcome recommendations from the All Party Parliamentary Group on Financial Education for Young People about how different groups can better support children in care with managing their money.

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Financial Education for Young People launched this inquiry with a call for evidence, which St Christopher’s contributed to in January 2019. The strength of our expertise then secured us an invitation to the next stage of their inquiry, where Chief Executive Jonathan Whalley met with MPs in March 2019 to share more detail about our experiences and recommendations for how we can better equip young people to manage their finances.

The report outlines 22 key recommendations for schools, foster carers, local authorities, government, charities and businesses. St Christopher’s is directly quoted in the report about the importance of where young people’s financial education comes from.

'Young people – and increasingly younger and younger – are getting involved with gang culture and county lines issues… The education they are getting about the value of money is coming all the time from the wrong side, where we do not want it to come from.'
Jonathan Whalley, Chief Executive

The APPG’s suggestions include making financial education a statutory part of the school curriculum, giving foster carers access to training, tools and resources, and providing government funding for people working with children in care and care leavers so that they are trained in financial education too. By recognising the roles that all these organisations and individuals can play in making financial education a success, we hope that there are more resources available for young people to make use of and more people supporting them to achieve.

The recommendations also outline how they want organisations to keep care leavers’ financial education central to their corporate social responsibility work and for banks to make sure it is easy for children in care to set up and access a bank account. At St Christopher’s we put children at the heart of all we do, so we are delighted to see this approach being recommended for other organisations too.

Whilst we support these suggestions and the introduction of a minimum standard, much more can still be done to ensure care leavers have the right support around them to help them succeed in independence. Leaving care is a process, not a one off event, so we need to keep listening to what young people say about their needs and wishes. We hope that all care professionals do what they can to go beyond these recommendations to create the bright futures that our young people deserve.

We look forward to seeing how these recommendations are implemented over the coming months.