Call to give care leavers easier access to records

The government has pledged to review guidance on care leavers’ access to their records after peers demanded that the system be strengthened.

During a House of Lords debate on the Children and Young Persons Bill yesterday, peers called on the government to place a duty on local authorities and voluntary organisations to provide access to records.

Baroness Barker said existing laws and guidance governing access were “frequently interpreted in vastly different ways”, leaving many care leavers without adequate information.

Policy of openness

She called for local authorities to operate a “policy of openness” and to maintain and make care records accessible.

But junior education minister Lord Adonis said there was already a statutory framework in place and claimed the integrated children’s system – now being rolled out – would improve record-keeping. He also said the government would review the way present guidance was implemented.

But Adonis rejected a proposal to register foster carers with the General Social Care Council, despite widespread support among peers who are set to keep up the pressure.

The four-day debate completed the committee stage of the bill’s passage through parliament and it will move to report stage in the House of Lords on February 4.

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