The green paper on looked-after children is likely to propose a new tiered framework for foster carers, with those at the top looking after some children who might currently be considered for residential care, Community Care has learned.
The framework will be underpinned by a set of new qualifications, leading to foster carers at the higher end of the framework becoming increasingly professionalised, according to a source.
The green paper, which is expected to be published on 9 October, could also introduce a presumption for local authorities that looked-after children remain with their foster carers beyond the age of 16.
The document is likely to be very “green”, in that it will set out the government’s principles and priorities but will ask for the input of stakeholders on the finer details, and will focus strongly on the need to prevent children coming into care.
Under the scheme, local authorities must currently inform HM Customs and Revenue when children come into their care for the first time.
Where a child is first eligible for an account because they were in care, they have £500 automatically paid into their account, and all children in care on their seventh birthday receive £500.
Economic secretary Ed Balls said looked-after children “often miss out on the financial and support networks taken for granted by others”.