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Rcr jchr extract

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Parliament's Joint Committee on Human Rights: extract about my Staying Close proposals in my recent review of residential care for children in England

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Rcr jchr extract

  1. 1. 47. The Government also points out that, since the Bill was introduced, its provisions relating to care leavers have been welcomed by Sir Martin Narey in his review of children in residential care. The Government has also accepted his recommendation that further work be done to explore “Staying Close” options which would allow care leavers to remain close and in touch with their former care home, to complement the “Staying Put” provision in the Children and Families Act 2014 which allows care leavers in foster care to remain with their carers up to the age of 21. 48. The Government’s “Staying Put” initiative was a welcome recognition of the need to do more for care leavers when they reached the age of 18, by enabling young adults to remain in their foster home, where they wished to do so. However, the arrangements did not apply to those in residential care (children’s homes) as opposed to foster care. Sir Martin Narey’s Report recommends that, subject to some satisfactory pilots, the Government now commit to introducing “Staying Close” for those leaving residential care, which would enable those reaching the age of 18 to live independently, in their own flat, but very close to the residential home that they have left. The Narey Report explains the compelling justification for enabling care leavers to “stay close” to the residential care setting that they leave at the age of 18: We cannot allow young people, often just weeks from childhood, to be left to navigate life on their own. And nor should we sit by and allow them to drift home when that is patently not in their interests. When visiting homes, and when talking to staff and to care leavers, I was frequently struck by the resigned approach to a child becoming eighteen and the probability of that child gravitating to their parental home, despite that home having been at the centre of their earlier neglect. But that happens because–from the young person’s point of view–there is often little alternative. Staying Close would provide that alternative. Children reaching adulthood and living in children’s homes are relatively small in number. But they are the most profoundly challenged, disadvantaged and often damaged children in the country. Offering them continued care and support alongside a growing independence, and in a way comparable to that experienced by eighteen year olds when they leave home for University, would be dramatically to improve their life chances. 49. We welcome the Government’s recognition of the need to do more to facilitate contact between care leavers and their former carers, and its acceptance of the recommendation that care leavers should be enabled to stay close to the residential home that they have left. The Staying Put initiative for children in foster care required statutory provision to be made in the Children and Families Act 2014. We recommend that the Government bring forward an amendment to the Bill to pave the way to the implementation of the recommendation it has accepted in Sir Martin Narey’s report, that would enable residential care leavers to remain close and in touch with their former care home.

Parliament's Joint Committee on Human Rights: extract about my Staying Close proposals in my recent review of residential care for children in England

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