The government will invest an extra £305m over the next four years in looked-after children’s services with a heavy emphasis on education, a white paper published today by Alan Johnson promised.
Education will receive the largest slice of the pot – over £66m – with £56m promised from 2008-11 to provide looked-after children who do not reach expected standards with £500 each a year to fund extra learning.
The white paper also promises a much bigger role for the private sector in improving educational and training opportunities for looked-after children. HSBC global education trust will provide £1m to fund private tuition for looked-after children in Dudley in the West Midlands, Merton in south London, Gateshead in the North East and Warwickshire.
The white paper, Time for Change, is a follow-up to the Care Matters green paper, published last October.
Other proposals include:
Looked-after children will have a veto leaving care before 18 and the chance to stay in foster care until 21.
Social care practices will be piloted over at least two years. The government’s preferred model is practices of six to ten partners, mostly social workers, who would contract with councils to provide field social work for looked-after children.
A newly qualified social worker status to give practitioners more support in their first year.
Legislation at the earliest possible opportunity.
Reaction to the white paperHave Your Say – In its white paper on children in care, the government has unequivocally made increasing educational support its top priority for looked-after children. Do you think this is the right emphasis?
Essential information on Care Matters: Time for Change