In October, the government clearly set out its desire to change the practice of children leaving care at 16, arguing in its Care Matters green paper that most should remain with their carers until at least 18, if not beyond.
It is shocking, then, to discover the two-tier system of support for looked after children apparently in operation at Hillingdon Council, under which unaccompanied asylum-seeking children are routinely forced to leave care soon after their 16th birthday.
These children have suffered more than most and are likely to need extra support as they approach adulthood, not less. And the worry is that, given the high number of asylum-seeking children in its care, Hillingdon could set something of a trend for other local authorities. With the long-awaited guidance on unaccompanied asylum-seeking children postponed again, the Home Office has a perfect opportunity to make the necessary amendments to nip in the bud this discriminatory practice and ensure proposed improvements to the system benefit all children in care, irrespective of where they were born.