The government has no plans to allow children in care homes to stay until they are 21, Education Secretary Michael Gove has declared.
Speaking to the Education Select Committee, Mr Gove said a recent announcement that children in foster care could stay with their carers till the age of 21 could not currently be extended to those living in care homes due to ongoing concerns over standards.
“Until we are absolutely certain that we’ve got the situation right with residential homes – residential care and residential care homes – and the policies are properly aligned, we won’t extend the age there. We have to get the system right before extending the age. Fostering is different, but in due course I have a completely open mind about matching the two.”
Work was underway to improve standards in care homes, he added:
“We need to know what will definitely improve things before we instantly act, so we are in the process of working out exactly what is wrong and what is required.”
The government was examining the lead set by some local authorities, he explained.
“The most important thing to recognise is which local authorities are doing the right things, in the right way, for the right reasons, and how we can encourage others to do exactly the same thing.”