Thursday, June 26, 2008

Stability For Over 18s

This week I've been suffering from 'empty nesting' as last weekend our 24 year old daughter (pictured above in St Lucia) set off for 18 months traveling around the world and I expect when she comes back, or perhaps that should be if she comes back, she will finally be totally independent. Apparently 24 is the average age for young people to leave home. The nest won't be empty long, our son will soon be back home from university for the summer break.

Since leaving school both children have at some point brought home friends who for one reason or another have not had the stability of family support to help them make the transition into adulthood. They lived with us for periods ranging from a few months until over a year in two cases. Therefore thanks to a post by Jaqui Giliatt of Family Law Week I was delighted to learn that the Department for Children, Schools and Families has released an announcement that the UK Government is to pilot a programme to give young people the chance to stay in their foster families beyond the age of 18.

Kevin Brennan, Parliamentary Undersecretary for Children said: “Children in care have told us that they want the same sort of stability that other children have – and some of them need help and support beyond the age of 18 in order to make the transition into adulthood.

“On average, young people don’t leave home until they are 24. Given the poor outcomes that children in care have historically had, it is important that these young people get the support they need to remain in employment, education or training. They shouldn’t have to cope on their own when they have to make big decisions about their future.”

Minister of State for Children Beverley Hughes said: “We want to make this country the best place in the world for children to grow up, which is why we published our Children’s Plan. It sets out what we will do over the next ten years to achieve this ambition, and to make this happen we need to focus on the needs of our most vulnerable children.

“There is still a significant gap between quality of life and future prospects of children in care and that of other children. Tackling this is going to involve everyone who works with children having the same ambitions for these children as for their own.”

So the good news is that these children in care will be given the same opportunity many of their peers have. The downside is it relates only to England.


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