Response to the report into care leavers’ transition to adulthood in England
The Fostering Network welcomes the publication of the Public Accounts Committee’s report into care leavers’ transition to adulthood in England, and in particular their call for the Department of Education to conduct an early review of Staying Put.
Kevin Williams, chief executive of The Fostering Network, said: ‘We agree with the committee’s findings that, in too many cases, young people are being let down by the system which is supposed to support them.
‘We campaigned for many years for the Staying Put legislation and were delighted when it came into force. Many young people are not ready to leave home when they turn 18, and Staying Put is intended to ensure that fostered young people shouldn’t have to if they don’t want to. As the committee found, the quality and costs of support to care leavers varies unacceptably, and we are hearing too often that funding and good practice, especially in regards to the implementation of Staying Put, is patchy.
‘This is a systemic issue which needs tackling rather than simply a problem in a few areas, which is why we welcome the call for an early review of Staying Put with a particular focus on the financial and social impact of the policy for care leavers, foster carers and local authorities. The Fostering Network has established a working group to look at the impact of Staying Put which includes fostering providers, the Children’s Commissioner, ADCS and other charities, and the group would be delighted to input into a governmental review. We will also be continuing to push the Government to provide adequate resources so that local authorities can give as many young people as possible the opportunity to stay with their foster carers if they so wish, while at the same time ensuring that foster carers aren't being forced to fund this out of their own pockets.’