Wednesday, 16 July 2014

While We Are Waiting

The Education Committee has published its report Into independence, not out of care: 16 plus care optionsInto independence, not out of care: 16 plus care options

ECLCM will publish a response to this very positive report on this blog very soon.

While we were waiting!

A very short history of Government involvement in the ECLCM campaign:
December 2013

Early in December 2013, the government announced that children who were in foster care would be allowed and supported to remain with their foster carers until they were 21 years of age. Local authorities now have a legal duty to give families financial help for every young person who wants to stay with their foster parents until their 21st birthday. A pledge of £40 million extra funding for councils over the next three years has been allocated to support the change, which has been added to the Children and Families Bill.

As supporters of ECLCM know, this did NOT apply to all children in care, i.e. those in residential children’s homes would still have to leave at 18, although in reality this is often as young as 16. ECLCM then launched a petition which was set up by us with support from 38 degrees.

January 2014

Following the support of the petition, the Education Committee announced 22nd January 2014, that there would be an inquiry on 16 Plus Care Options into the provision of accommodation and care for looked after young people aged 16 and above.

As well as many other professionals, individuals, foster carers, care leavers, care home providers, social workers, we were asked to submit written evidence which we did.

We were asked to address the following points:

· The kinds of accommodation that are provided for young people aged 16 and 17 who are looked after by local authorities.

· The suitability, safety and regulatory nature of alternative accommodation provided for young people who are aged 16 and 17 and looked after by local authorities.

· Whether the Government’s announcement to extend local authorities duties to support young people wishing to stay with foster carers until the age of 21 should apply to those in residential children’s homes.

· Whether provision of alternative accommodation should be extended to the age of 21.

April 2014

30th April 2014 saw the Scrutiny into 16 plus care options where Ben Ashcroft, Chair of ECLCM and others gave evidence.

This was the first session in the Committee’s short inquiry into accommodation options for young people over the age of 16 in care. Issues explored included the types of accommodation provided for young people aged 16 and 17 who are looked after by local authorities and whether the Government’s announcement to extend local authorities duties to support young people wishing to stay with foster carers until the age of 21 should apply to those in residential children’s homes or alternative accommodation.

May 2014
16 Plus care options were explored further when the Education Committee continued its inquiry into 16 Plus care options on Wednesday 14 May.

Edward Timpson MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families, Department for Education, was questioned on issues that had arisen in the course of the inquiry, including planning and preparation for 16 and 17 year olds moving to ‘other arrangements’; suitability, inspection and regulation of alternative accommodation; commissioning accommodation; and the Staying Put policy agenda.

You can watch the session here: Parliament TV: Watch the 16 Plus care options session

There are now nearly 7,500 people who have actually signed our petition to support equality for children in residential homes to have support until 21, the same as those in foster care. (Thank you). We suspect there are thousands of others who would support it if they were fully aware of the issue.

The question we have always asked is, would extending support to ALL looked after children to 21 reduce offending behaviour, homelessness, drugs and suicide? We know the statistics:

• up to 40% of 18-21 year olds in custody have been in care
• 27-35% adult male prisoners have been in care
• 57% of women in prison have been in care
• 1 in 5 homeless people have been in care

We believe the answer is a huge fat resounding YES. This campaign has always been about demanding equality for all young people in care wherever they may be placed: in foster care or residential care.

With the support of our members and signatories to the petition we are getting closer to achieving justice for children in residential care


ECLCM is a campaign group, without funding or political affiliations with any other group, formed to stop Government discrimination against children in residential care who want support to 21, the same as those in foster care.

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