Responding to the BBC article ‘Thousands of teenagers in care living without adults’, Kevin Williams, chief executive of The Fostering Network, said: ‘I am shocked at the number of looked after children living independently in England, especially those under 16. It is difficult to imagine a situation where this would be in the young person’s best interest and I therefore believe this situation must be driven either by a lack of other preferable living arrangements, a lack of funding, or a combination of both.

The Fostering Network is today launching its Keep Connected principles which it hopes will become embedded in the practice of children’s services, with the aim of all children and young people who are moving on from foster families to be enabled to keep in touch with them – and with other significant people in their lives.

The Fostering Network warmly welcomes the announcement by the Minister for Children and Young People in Scotland, Maree Todd MSP, that there are plans to strengthen the law in relation to keeping brothers and sisters together when they are placed in care when it is in their interest to do so. The changes will also mean that there will be the same duty on local authorities to promote contact between brothers and sisters in care as they have to promote contact with parents.

Step Up Step Down aims to prevent children who are on the periphery of the care system from being taken into care, enabling them to stay with their families at home instead. The programme is currently delivered to families in Northern Ireland and provides them with support by highly trained and experienced foster carers who offer bespoke, preventative support care for 12 - 15 months.