Laura Sharman 04 December 2013

Foster children to stay with families until 21

Councils will be given £40m to allow children in care to stay with foster families until they are 21, the children and families minister Edward Timpson has announced.

The Government has pledged a £40m fund to provide financial support for those in care to stay with families past their 18th birthday.

The Local Government Association (LGA) has welcomed the news but warned that the initiative would need to be ‘fully funded' by central government given the restraints already on councils’ budgets.

Simmonds, chairman of the LGA’s Children and Young People Board, said: ‘Councils are working to ensure everything possible is done so that children in care have access to the same opportunities and life chances as their peers.

‘Many councils already provide the opportunity for care leavers to stay beyond the age of 18, mirroring what many families do, but we recognise that some care leavers will want to be more independent and we need to ensure we are supporting this too.’

The National Children's Bureau said the announcement would help provide a fairer deal for foster children. Enver Solomon, director of evidence and impact at the National Children’s Bureau said: ‘These reforms will provide much-needed stability to vulnerable young people, many of whom have had the hardest starts in life. Most importantly it will help put support for foster children on a par with other young adults and allow them to enjoy the emotional support of family relationships as they make the transition to adult independence.

‘It is a real step forward towards a fairer deal for foster children and a considerable contribution to improving their life chances.’

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