Charity Chiefs Support Opportunity to Change Fostering Laws
40 charity chiefs and experts have written a letter to The Telegraph in a bid to get the House of Lords to change the law regarding foster care. The organisations argue that the change would give foster children a better start in adult life.
Once foster children turn eighteen, they can often be forced to move out from their foster families. Charities such as Barnardo’s, the NSPCC and the Children’s Society, are concerned that the effects this can have on foster children as they are often already vulnerable. The charities fear that this could mean that some of them turn to crime, end up homeless or face bleak employment prospects.
As the article in The Telegraph makes clear, foster children can stay with their foster families after they have reached 18, however, the foster family will no longer be entitled to any allowances and they can’t get the practical support that they might need either. The article goes on to point out that some foster families also have pressure put on them to make space for another foster child.
The charities have called on the House of Lords to back an amendment to the Children and Families Bill. The amendment was due to be heard last Wednesday and if it is successful, it will mean that foster children can stay with their foster families until they are 21 years of age or older.
Pilot projects have already been set up and it is estimated that if the changes were brought in throughout the UK, then it would cost the tax payer more than £2 million annually. However, it is argued that the amendment would save money on Housing Benefits and unemployment benefits.
The campaign to amend the bill has got the support of the Minister for Children and Families, Edward Timpson. Commenting in a statement on his website, Mar. Timpson said: I regularly meet with a group of care leavers and they have helped me learn a great deal about the real difficulties that care leavers face as they make their way in the adult world.
“Some of these difficulties are rooted in early traumatic events before they entered care, others arise from the unintended consequences of policies that don’t join up, or from the inconsistent application of policies across the country.
“What has been most striking about this group is that they don’t come to me to complain, they come to share their experiences and propose solutions. They were behind the concept of the ‘New Belongings’ project, which we are delighted to fund.”