‘Change in rules is great news for foster children’

A CHILDREN’S charity which pioneered fostering in Lancashire as an alternative to residential care, has welcomed announcements by the Government to extend foster caring to the age of 21.

Child Action Northwest, based in Wilpshire, was one of the first organisations to offer foster care placements after phasing out its children’s homes and the old Blackburn Orphanage.

The Government announced on December 4 that all young people who live in foster care in England will be able to stay with their foster carers until the age of 21.

Previously, young people had to leave their foster home at the age of 18 years when they were often not ready to move into their own home and live in the community without a great deal of support.

Local authorities have been worried about the cost of keeping young people in care until the age of 21 years but the Government is offering £40 million over the next three years to help put these arrangements in place.

Andy Bennett, operations director at Child Action Northwest said: “It is great news for young people who live in foster families.

“Young people have told us how anxious they become as they reach the age of 18 years and are expected to move from their foster home, although many do not want to.

“Now they will be able to prepare for their future knowing that they will have the support of their foster carers until the age of 21, when they will feel much more confident about moving into their own place.”

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