Thank you to those who have contacted me about Staying Put arrangements.
As you may be are aware, the Staying Put initiative came into force in May 2014, through the Children and Families Act 2014. It requires local authorities to facilitate, monitor and support arrangements for fostered young people staying with their foster carers until they reach the age of 21, where this is what they and their carers want.
I am aware that a recent report by the Fostering Network, Staying Put: An Unfulfilled Promise, argues for the need to create a culture where it is the norm that young people stay on with their foster family after they reach the age of 18, just like their peers who are not in the care system. The 2018 review, Foster Care in England, found that many young people had suggested that there was a lack of information surrounding Staying Put, as well as their rights and entitlements.
The Government stated in January 2018 that there had been “no assessment of the adequacy of National Minimum Allowances for foster carers or whether it would be appropriate to set minimum allowances for those providing Staying Put arrangements”. It has pledged to keep the funding under review and use the emerging evidence from the national rollout of Staying Put to “refine the policy”.
I am concerned that the Government is currently failing to develop a strategy for the wholesale improvement of the care system that delivers for all.
The Labour Party has called for Staying Put arrangements to support all children and young people in residential and other forms of care until they are 21. It further committed to promote the care and educational achievement of our most vulnerable children and increase support for children in kinship and foster care, and their families.
I remain committed to pressing for reform to the care system which takes a long-term, holistic view of the entire care system and ensures that adequate support is provided to every child and their family. I hope the Government carefully considers the concerns raised by the Fostering Network.