New reforms for children in care ‘most significant in a generation’

Children in care are to be allowed to stay with foster families until they are 21 years old, the government has announced

Local authorities in England will be given £40m over the next three years and will have a legal duty to provide financial support. Previously authorities only provided financial support to foster families until children reached 18.

Natasha Finlayson, chief executive of the Who Cares? Trust, which aims to provide a voice for young people living in care in the UK, said: “This is absolutely fantastic news for thousands of young people in foster care. It represents the most significant reform to the support children in care are given in a generation.”

According to the Department for Education, children in care typically achieve much lower educational outcomes and are more likely to be out of education, work and training compared to those who don’t require care. The Who Cares? Trust also reports that 30% of homeless people were once in the care system as children.

Following the announcement by the children and families minister, Edward Timpson, in December 2013, the Scottish government followed suit in January this year. Scotland’s minister for children and young people, Aileen Campbell, said the step would help “give young people in care the same opportunities and positive future that their non-looked after peers enjoy.