DON’T ABANDON YOUNG PEOPLE LEAVING CARE
12 TOP child
care charities are urging the Government not to condemn young people
leaving care to a life of poverty and underachievement, by calling
for a change to the rules which currently see them fending for
themselves at 18.
In an open letter sent to children’s secretary Ed Balls, the
charities said:- “As MPs debate the Children and Young Persons
Bill today, hundreds of 17 year olds in care across England will be
packing their bags and getting ready to ‘go it alone’,
because local authorities are not required to look after them after
their 18th birthdays.
We urge the Government to take this opportunity to ensure all young
people have the option to remain with their foster carers until the
age of 21. This means giving a clear commitment to roll out proposed
pilots across England as soon as possible, to support the foster
carers looking after these young people and to provide the funding
required to make the ability to stay until 21 a reality.
We welcome many aspects of the Bill but failing to enable children
to stay with their foster carers beyond the age of 17 will have
serious consequences for this Government’s stated intention of
transforming outcomes for young people in care.”
The letter was signed by representatives of the Fostering Network,
NCH, Barnardo’s, NCB, The Children’s Society, BAAF, Voice, A
National Voice, The Who Cares? Trust, TACT, Rainer and The Frank
Robert Tapsfield, chief executive of the Fostering Network, added:-
“Many young people in care are pushed out into independent
living before they are ready, due to lack of local authority
In fact those that get to stay until they are 18 are in
some respects the “lucky ones”, as many children in care have
to fend for themselves when they are just 16 or 17.
significant personal sacrifices from foster carers, many others
would face the same fate.
This is just not good enough. We need a commitment from the
secretary of state to ensure all children in care have the option to
stay with foster carers until they are 21, and we need it now. Research and experience show that the longer young people stay with
their foster carers, the better they do later on.
cannot condemn another generation of care leavers to a lifetime of
poverty and underachievement.”
to do when you hear an emergency vehicle approaching can be a
Do you stay where you are and potentially block the
progress of an emergency vehicle?
Or do you move into a position
that may put you or other road users at risk?
Unfortunately, some drivers over-react to emergency service vehicles
travelling on "blues and 2s" (blue lights and 2-tone
horns). This is often because they don't hear or see the emergency
vehicle until it's too close, and then take drastic action to get
out of the way.
The IAM (Institute of Advanced Motorists) says that good driving
practice will alert you early to emergency vehicles: regular mirror
checks (side and rear) for example, and keeping the windows slightly
down around town, so you can hear sirens approaching.
Don't panic and just brake. It's natural to want to react. But
instinctively putting your brakes on immediately in front of an
emergency vehicle doesn't help:- it slows the progress of the
emergency vehicle and jeopardises other road users.
Think about where you are on the road. You should deal with the
problem in the same way that you deal with any other potentially
hazardous driving situation. What is the safest option available to
Don't cross red traffic lights or speed to get out of the way. The
emergency driver has training and legal exemptions that you don't
have. Bus lanes and box junctions can be problems too, but let them
resolve the problem of breaking the rules - not you.
If you are moving it may well be that you can continue at a
reasonable pace and the emergency vehicle can follow you out of a
pocket of congestion (such as a blocked one way system). In that
scenario, attempting to pull over too soon, or slow down, might just
cause a needless obstruction and so hamper the progress of the
Indicate your intentions clearly Don't pull in opposite other
obstructions, such as centre bollards.
If you are thinking about
pulling over across an entrance to a school or factory, you may be
unwittingly preventing the emergency vehicle reaching its
destination. And do think about where you are asking the emergency
driver to overtake you - on the brow of a hill or a blind bend can
be placing him or her in a very difficult position.
Get out of the way as soon as you can do so in safety.