Under the plans, the Department for Education would impose a legal duty on councils to provide financial support for every care leaver who wants to stay longer with foster carers until their 21st birthday (“staying put” arrangements). This duty is due to come into force from April 2014 and local authorities will be given £40million over the next three years to put the support arrangements in place.
Coram and Coram Voice were among 40 charities which called on the House of Lords to amend the Children and Families Bill, allowing foster children to remain with their families until the age of 21.
Wendy Lewington, Deputy Director of Policy at Coram Voice, part of the coalition that supported the plans, said:
“This could be truly life changing for many young people in foster care at a vital time in their lives.
“Through our helpline we constantly hear from young people who, as soon as they turn 18, are told they must leave the foster home where they have lived for many years, often having been given little notice or support to prepare for life on their own.
“Whilst foster care isn’t for all, many children and young people need the support and stability that good foster care can provide and extending support until the age of 21 gives young people the opportunity to stay in a supported environment.”
Coram Voice (Helpline 0808 800 5792) offers help to young people who are living in care or have recently left care and to those who can no longer live at home and need extra support and services. The helpline is staffed by trained advocates who are independent from Children’s Services.
Coram’s Supported Housing gives young homeless people secure accommodation and ongoing support to restore their hope and protect them from the dangers their precarious situation may have exposed them to, such as sexual exploitation and violence.
Coram Children’s Legal Centre (CCLC) specialises in law and policy affecting children and young people. CCLC provides free legal information, advice and representation to children, young people, their families, carers and professionals, as well as international consultancy on child law and children’s rights.