The new Children and Families Bill currently being passed through Parliament is to include an amendment that will allow children in foster care to stay put after their 18th birthday.
The changes to the Bill have come after a very successful campaign, “Don’t move me” drew attention to the plight of young people forced to move out of their foster parent’s homes when they turned 18.
Many young people struggle to live independently at such a young age, and it was felt that the system was not helping young people to make the transition into adult life successfully.
Many children’s charities were involved in highlighting these issues through the “Don’t Move Me” campaign. Lord Listowel, a peer, supported the amendments whole-heartedly, and thanked the charities for their involvement during the debate held at the House of Lords:
“I am grateful to the coalition of charities which made this possible, including Barnardo’s the NSPCC and the Who Cares? Trust, and most especially to Robert Tapsfield, chief executive of the Fostering Network, who led the charge. The help offered by his officer, Vicki Swain, was faultless.”
Lord Nash said on behalf of the Government:
“We are continuing to work with sector organisations on the guidance to ensure that it supports the effective implementation of this important new duty. We are committed to doing more to support care leavers, and I believe that the proposed new clause is a crucial step forward.”
The Children and Families Bill is currently passing through Parliament and it is hoped that it will come into force in spring 2014. Under the new legislation, young people in foster care will be able to stay put after the age of 18 if both they, and their foster families, agree.
The Government have pledged an extra £40 million for local authorities over three years to ensure that foster carers will not be out of pocket as a result of offering staying put placements.