Plans to allow foster children to stay with families until 21

B&W familyLabour MP Paul Goggins has tabled an amendment to the forthcoming Children and Families Bill which would require local authorities to fund foster care for all children until the age of 21.

Currently most children in foster care only receive funding for their placements until the age of 18, with arrangements differing after that point.

If the amendment entered law, around 530 children a year would benefit and campaigners say the government would recoup the £2.6 million cost in social savings as fewer foster children would turn to crime or become homeless.

The move follows the recent launch of the Don’t Move Me campaign by charity the Fostering Network. Aimed at lengthening funding for children in foster care, the campaign notes:

“Many children in foster care leave their foster carers on or before their 18th birthday.

This means that every year, some of society’s most vulnerable young people are in effect having to leave at 17 – if not before – despite the average age for leaving home across the UK being 24. We wouldn’t treat our own children like this, so why should children in foster care be any different?”

Mr Goggins, the MP for Wythenshawe and Sale East, said:

“It seems to me so wrong that just one in 20 young people who have found some stability in a foster placement are able to stay there when they reach 18. A lot of effort goes into looking after these children, but having invested all that time and money and care, they’re forced to exit the system too soon, and we all know the difficulties that can result from that.”

The  amendment will be debated by MPs tomorrow (June 11) if selected by t he Speaker for debate.

Photo by Thomas Leth-Olsen via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence

Marilyn Stowe

The senior partner at Stowe Family Law, Marilyn Stowe is one of Britain’s best known divorce lawyers with clients throughout the country, in Europe, the Far East and the USA.

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