The Labour Party is unlikely to raise the care home leaving age to 21 if it returns to power next month, the Shadow Children’s Minister has announced.
Speaking to Children & Young People Now, MP Steve McCabe said the Party was not convinced that allowing children living in residential children’s homes to remain there until the age of 21 would be beneficial.
This contrasts with the approach taken by the current coalition government. Last year children living in foster care within England and Wales gained the right to ‘stay put’ till their 21st birthdays, in the Children and Families Act 2014. This followed a determined campaign by charity the Fostering Network, who argued that the additional three years would benefit the welfare of care leavers.
A subsequent analysis, launched in January has now recommended that this right be extended to those living in children’s homes.
But the Labour Party would prefer to improve the support available to care leavers, McCabe declared.
The MP for Birmingham Selly Oak said:
“We recognise that the anomaly created by the Staying Put fostering arrangement will have to be addressed and I think it is very unlikely that the present arrangement would withstand a legal challenge.”
There could be, he claimed, “much better transition arrangements to help young people leave care.”
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