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Project Definition

There are approximately 60,000 children in care at any given time and there is a significant gap between their quality of life and future prospects than those of other children:

  • In 2006, only 12% of children in care achieved 5 A*-C grades at GCSE (or equivalent) compared to 59% of all children;
  • Their health is poorer than that of other children. 45% of children in care are assessed as having a mental health disorder compared with around 10% of the general population
  • Over 50% of children in care responding to Care Matters said that they had difficulties accessing positive activities
  • 9.6% of children in care aged 10 or over, were cautioned or convicted for an offence during the year – almost 3 times the rate for all children of this age; and
  • 30% of care leavers aged 19 are not in education, employment or training (NEET);
  • Disabled children and some ethnic minority groups are over-represented in the care population.

Children are particularly vulnerable leading up to, and immediately after the point they leave care at 16 or 18-years-old. This is an important life event which carers and support services are increasingly focused on in order to enable more care leavers to obtain and sustain, settled accommodation, access to employment, training or education.

On 12 September 2007 North Lincolnshire Council, the Digital Inclusion Team and RSe Consulting held a workshop focused on children in care, particularly focusing on care leavers.  The aim was to explore the barriers to care-leavers life chances and to generate tangible ideas about how to improve the lives of this group through the innovative use of technology. The workshop was attended by a broad cross-section of experts including social workers, voluntary organisations, technologists, central and local government officials, and care leavers themselves.

A key idea that emerged from the workshop was to enhance the level of ‘life-skills’ and emotional support to children in care and care leavers through a mentoring scheme supplemented by technology – ‘e-mentoring’. The key aim is to build resilience and independence before and after the point of leaving care, in order to smooth the transition to employment, education, housing and stable settlement outside care.

This paper expands the initial concept and:

  • defines the user and business need for an e-mentoring programme,
  • presents evidence on the efficacy of mentoring, the value-add of technology and the existing marketplace for e-mentoring products
  • defines some requirements, the potential operating model and the roles/ responsibilities for an e-mentoring scheme
  • identifies the implementation options and their relative merits
  • presents the high-level business case for the preferred option
  • and presents some key questions that need to be answered at each stage of the project

Download the full project definition document (Word)

Download an example business case (Word)

Download an example project definition (Excel)



Linolnshire eMentoring Project