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.
Every instance highlighted in the article is another example of local authorities in their role as corporate parent acting differently to a birth or adoptive parent, and we believe that no child aged 14 or 15, or even 16 or 17 years old, should be living away from home independently, having to support themselves and fend for themselves. Children and young people need a stable foundation of love and support, as well as boundaries and guidance from positive role models, to enable them to make a successful transition into adulthood – this is especially necessary for those who have experienced trauma, as many in foster care have. That is why we believe, that the vast majority of young people will do better in a family setting, which, yet again, points to a need for more foster carers.
With the rising number of children coming into care and council budgets having been severely cut, there is no indication that this situation will improve anytime soon, and it shows the urgency for better funding for councils and further investment in fostering – especially in supporting foster carers to look after young people with more challenging and complex needs.’