Charity believes pilots needed for post-17 residential care


Following ongoing debate about staying put in residential care, since the Government in England announced that fostered young people could stay with their foster carers until 21, the Fostering Network would like to make the following comment to clarify its position:
“The Fostering Network is delighted that the Government in England has agreed that young people can remain with their foster carers until they are 21 and that foster carers should be supported to be able to offer this. The new legislation and proposed guidance has been able to build upon the experience of the Staying Put pilot sites, which have shown what is possible and how young people, foster carers and local authorities can work together to overcome some of the challenges.
“There has been lots of discussion about making the same change for young people in residential care in England. We believe that there is a strong case for trying this out in residential care before simply changing the legislation as the issue is complex and we need to ensure that in practice it is feasible, and beneficial, to offer young people in residential care the option of staying. How will this change residential care and what are the arrangements for putting these changes into practice?
“The Fostering Network believes that all young people in care deserve the same quality of care throughout their childhoods, and equal opportunities and support as they enter adulthood. This does not, however, mean that the same approach is right for all. Our belief is that, just as staying on was piloted in foster care, it should be piloted in residential care. By piloting staying until 21 in residential care, we will be able to see whether this does indeed work for young people.
“We will be expressing our views in evidence that we will be submitting to the education select committee looking at post-16 care options in England.”