Don't Move Me - A foster carer speaks
"I foster with my partner in London, and we had to fight to keep our foster child after she turned 18 so that we could see her through her education. We were not allowed to continue to look after her unless we agreed to a supported lodgings arrangement, which brings with it a significantly reduced allowance. Not many carers can afford this cut in their income, so many children have to move on at 18.
"We are very proud of our foster child who, when she came to stay with us, had had a difficult start in life and was failing in education due to non-attendance. However in 2011, despite her previous lack of attainment and after working really hard catching up with her peers, she overtook them and gained 14 GCSEs at A* to C grades.
"She is currently studying for her A levels and is again expecting A* to C grades and has been accepted at several universities. She wanted to remain with us until 21, but social services will only continue to fund her at a much lower rate until September. She has no one else, and nowhere else to go.
"Therefore once at university she will be returning to us on weekends and holidays at our expense, but if we had not been able to afford this then she would have been out on her own. This system is so wrong. The State looks after them until 18 and then sets them up to fail with little or no support.
"We spend a great deal of time helping our children to catch up and to attain the milestones in life they have missed, often due to traumatic experiences. The State then expects them to behave as adults at the magical age of 18 when they are simply not ready. Many become homeless and involved with the criminal justice system. This is such a false economy!
"Young people could be far more prepared without worrying about where their future home might be whilst trying to study for their exams. They deserve extra time to allow for the previous historical neglect or abuse that they may have suffered.
"Our foster child hopes to be a teacher; we have encouraged these dreams and aspirations.
"All foster parents need the time to make a difference, to instil values, and to help young people to develop the skills they need to make a difference in society. I believe it is essential to amend the law to make it easier for young people to remain with their foster carers up to the age of 21, and I urge MPs to support this amendment."