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Naomi Taylor, a creative for brand agency Mr President, came to our attention after being featured in Campaign – a magazine for the advertising and media industry.
The number of care experienced young people in England who are benefiting from a piece of flagship legislation designed to enable them to stay living with their foster carers until the age of 21 is woefully low and simply not good enough.
What’s the problem?
Young people are missing out on the chance to stay living with their foster families after they turn 18. Although the law says young people can remain under Staying Put until they are 21 if both parties agree, financial and cultural barriers mean this is not happening often enough.
According to our 2018 State of the Nation survey:
Until the beginning of this decade, the majority of fostered young people were required to leave their foster home as soon as they turned 18. This is far earlier than young people outside the care system, who on average leave home at 24, and too early for many fostered young people who often need more support and time as they transition into adulthood.
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- The Fostering Network was instrumental in convincing the committee of the need for this Inquiry.
- Written evidence was invited up to the 25 November and we encouraged our supporters and members to contribute.
From April 2016, young people in Wales will have a right to stay with their foster families beyond the age of 18, known as the When I am Ready scheme. This change to the law came into force with the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014, and is the result of a joint campaign between The Fostering Network and Action for Children.
A new duty on local authorities in England came into force on 13 May 2014, in part 5 Welfare of Children (98) of the Children and Families Act 2014.
This requires local authorities in England to facilitate, monitor and support staying put arrangements for fostered young people until they reach the age of 21, where this is what they and their foster carers want unless the local authority considers that the staying put arrangement is not consistent with the welfare of the young person.
Caring for a person aged 18+: the challenges
Once a young person reaches their 18th birthday, they are legally no longer a looked after child and their placement with a foster family can no longer be classed as a foster placement.
This is the case even if the young person is staying on with their carers for a few weeks or months – to finish their education, for example.