Holly has met with the Every Child Leaving Care Matters (ECLCM) team to sign their petition to stop discrimination against children in residential children's homes and support all children and young people in care to 21 years of age.
On the 4th December, 2013, the government announced that children who were in foster care would be allowed and supported to remain with their foster carers until they were 21 years of age. There was much celebration amongst campaigners when the announcement was made. However, those celebrations did not extend to children and young people in children’s homes. Children in residential care were not included in this change even though the residential sector often cares for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged young people who may be unable, or indeed choose not to be fostered.
Since then, the ECLM team have campaigned to end the two tier system which they believe would create an underclass of children in care who have to leave care at 18. They were consulted by Sir Martin Narey in the course of his review into residential care and put forward proposals for children in residential care to stay in touch or stay close to the primary care staff they had grown to trust.
His report, ‘Residential Care in England’, published on Monday, urges the Government to commit to introducing Staying Close and recommends ECLCM should help officials in the Department for Education (DfE) to develop the reform including advising on the pilot schemes.
“I am very pleased to support the great work being done by the Every Child Leaving Care Matters team. Although they are a small group of volunteers they are making a big difference to improve the lives of children who live in residential care.
"I am pleased to see that children in residential care are a step closer to being offered the same rights as those who grow up in foster care. But we must keep the pressure on until the system is fair for every child leaving care.”
You can find more details about the group by checking out their website ECLCM.org or on Twitter @rescareto21 or on Facebook.
Their petition can be found at https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/equality-of-leaving-age-for-all-children-in-care