Robert Tapsfield of the Fostering Network has criticised the requirement for all post-care pathway planning for looked-after children to be completed by their 16th birthday, branding it “obscene”.
Tapsfield said the Children and Young Persons Bill had missed a golden opportunity to aid the transition of young adults from care to independence.
Care leavers support plan
Under the 2000 Children (Leaving Care) Act, social workers should draw up a support plan in consultation with the young person on matters such as employment, training and post-care living arrangements by his or her 16th birthday, to help them when they leave care between the ages of 16 and 18.
Tapsfield said that preventing young people from remaining in foster care after they reach 18, and forcing them to make important decisions about their future at such an early age, were “not conducive to stability or increased achievement”.
Speaking at Community Care Live Children and Families in London, he said: “How many of us as parents would expect to talk to our children before they finish their GCSEs about when they will be moving out?
“This is an obscene requirement.”
He reiterated his disappointment at the rejection of an amendment for young people to remain with their foster carers between the ages of 18 and 21. A three-year, £5m project was launched in ten pilot areas across England in June, to test out the proposals. However, Tapsfield felt a national roll-out should have been included in the bill.
Fostering Network – official website