It was wonderful to hear confirmation yesterday that all forms of care will be extended to the age of 21 with further support up to 26. Well done to all who worked on the Children and Young Peoples bill, in particular the young care leavers who shared their experience.
The Scottish government announcement means hundreds of Scotland’s most vulnerable young people are to be given greater rights to continuing their care placement into early adulthood from next year.
Leaving home can be a challenging and lonely time for a young person. This change recognises our children and young people in care should be given the same kind of support those living in a stable family home benefit from. Continuing care when moving on to make their way in the world will substantially increase chances of a smooth transition to independent living and a successful adult life.
From April 2015, teenagers in residential, foster or kinship care who turn 16 will be entitled to remain looked after until the age of 21 under new provisions proposed for the Children and Young People Bill.
This increased support, to be funded by £5 million a year up to 2020, is in addition to the Scottish Government’s recent commitment to provide support up to the age of 26-years-old for care leavers to help them move into independent living.
New provisions to be introduced through the Children and Young People Bill include:
- The right to aftercare support available to all care leavers to be extended from those up to the age of 21 to those aged up to 26.
- All young people in care born after April 1999 to have the right to stay in foster, kinship or residential care until the age of 21.
- Amended legislation to ensure that those leaving care aged 16 will become eligible for aftercare immediately, closing a loophole due to the age limit being determined by school year terms rather than birthday.
- A Review Group to look at any further legislation needed to deliver overall ambitions and the way information on looked after young people is used to improve services.
- This package of measures also goes further than recent moves to extend foster care support in England.