Skip to content
Scroll to the top of the page
Learn about what an estranged or care experienced student is and what support the Union offers to these groups of students.

Care Experienced & Estranged Students

Learn about what an estranged or care experienced student is and what support the Union offers to these groups of students.

What is a Care Experienced Student?

The term “care experienced” refers to anyone who has been, or is currently in care. This care may have been provided in many different settings, such as:

  • Kinship care – living with a relative who is not your mum or dad.
  • Looked after at home – with the help of social work.
  • Residential care – living in a residential unit or school.
  • Foster care – living with foster carers.
  • Secure care – living in a secure unit.
  • Adoption

The University of Strathclyde was the first educational institution in Scotland to sign up as an 'official friend' of Who Cares? Scotland. As an advocate for care experienced students, the University has developed Strath Cares, a page dedicated to offering help and support to care experienced students throughout their learning journey.

Strath Union Cares

This policy passed at Student Parliament and replaced the previous policy titled USSA supporting Who Cares? Scotland.

View policy

Care Experienced and Estranged Students Society

The Care Experienced and Estranged Students Society (CE/E Society) was set up to merge two previously small societies, ESoS and the CE Society, into one cohesive network of support, opportunities, and social events. Learn more about the CE/E Society, or become a member on their society page. If you wish to contribute to the further development of this society, please get in contact with the current committee.

CE/E Society

The Care Leavers' Foundation

The Care Leavers’ Foundation Trust Fund exists to provide young people who have been in care with opportunities and ‘second chances’. It aims to enhance the life chances of care leavers and reduce their experience of social exclusion. Cash grants will be made where the applicant meets the criteria set out in the framework and funds are available to meet the request.

Grant applications will be accepted from care leavers aged 18 – 29, although strong preference is given to those age 21 and over. The maximum single award is currently £400.00 and there will be a maximum limit of £400.00 in a twelve month period payable to any individual, whether in stage payments or as a result of separate applications.

View framework

What is an Estranged Student?

Estranged students are those who are studying without the support and/or approval of their family network, due to a breakdown in relationships. This might be their biological, step or adoptive parents, or wider family members, who have been involved in their care.

The University of Strathclyde was the first university in Scotland to sign the Pledge to Stand Alone, a charity that supports adults who are estranged from their families. As an advocate of estranged students, the University offers a range of help and support opportunities for any students who identify as estranged.

Find out more

Manifesto For Change

In November 2021 we became the first Student Union to sign the Manifesto for Change. Read more about the manifesto and our relationship with Stand Alone.

Stand Alone pledge

Estranged and Care Experienced Students Network

They are a peer support network and a platform by and for students who are estranged, care experienced, care leavers, orphaned and at risk of/wishing to become estranged. They also seek to raise awareness of CE/E existence and to encourage colleges/universities, governing bodies, widening access programmes and schools to up their support. Their project covers the UK and Ireland.

Their mission is to provide a central space that signposts support and guidance that is accessible to the CE/E community in all areas of their lives, with a particular focus on supporting access to further and higher education.

Their network grew out of an Instagram community set up back in 2017 by estranged, orphaned, refugee and care-experienced students and graduates to help fill in the gap in support for students like them. Then they created the EaCES Handbook during the first COVID-19 lockdown in June 2020.



EaCES Handbook

This virtual guide is written by over 40 estranged and care experienced students - as well as those from orphaned, refugee and kinship-care - to bring together information and advice to help other students from the same background: including official support, their own experiences, and practical tips. The Handbook is designed to support students like them pre-entry, throughout their time in education/apprenticeships and post-graduation.

View handbook

They also have a page with ways to support the community through the festive period and holidays and a pen pal exchange which you can sign up for.

Learn about support

Pen pal exchange


Since 2020 we have celebrated Estranged Student Solidarity Week and Care Experienced Week respectively. These weeks help us not only reach out to current CE/E students, but also help to highlight and demystify the experiences of CE/E students in order to increase understanding, and ultimately, to enact change.

Accessibility Tools