on Lords to stop postcode lottery on leaving care
40 leading charities,
organisations and academics have written to the House of Lords
calling on them to seize their once in a generation opportunity to
change the lives of thousands of vulnerable young people this week,
as they discuss an amendment to the Children and Families Bill that
would allow care leavers in England to stay with their foster
families to the age of 21.
Currently most young people are forced to leave their foster homes
at the age of 17, unless they are one of the lucky ones supported by
their local authority or their foster carer can fund them to stay
out of their own pocket. This leads to a postcode lottery across
England, with the percentage of young people staying with their
foster carer by the age of 19 ranging regionally from just 1 to 10%
of all care leavers.
In contrast, the average age for leaving home across England is 24.
Living independently, these young people are often reliant on
benefits. Less than a third of care leavers are currently in
education, training or employment at the age of 19.
"Staying Put" - a scheme that gives young people the option
to stay until 21 – has already been piloted in 11 English local
authorities with great success. It showed that young people who
stayed with foster carers were twice as likely to be in full time
education at 19 compared with those that did not. Studies have also
found that allowing young people to remain in care until 21 is
associated with increased post-secondary educational attainment,
delayed pregnancy, and higher earnings.
Now an amendment to the Children and Families Bill provides an
opportunity to change this for future generations, by giving young
people who live with foster carers the chance to stay until they are
21, if both parties agree. But in order to have any chance of
success, the amendment needs widespread support in the House of
Lords, where the Bill is about to enter committee stage.
Robert Tapsfield, chief executive of the Fostering Network, said:-
"Every single year that this change in the law is delayed, the
Government is potentially condemning thousands more vulnerable young
adults, who have had experiences that most cannot even contemplate,
to a life of overreliance on the state and under contributing to
society. 3 years of extra support may seem like nothing, but
it can be the real difference between someone quitting college to
cope with the demands of living alone, or staying with a foster
family, continuing with education and flourishing as a contributing
member of society. Currently only around 7% of care leavers go into
higher education compared with 40% of the general population, and
this must change."
When the Bill was in the House of Commons, children's minister
Edward Timpson MP, himself the son of foster carers, said that he
would consider legislation if the voluntary approach was shown not
be working. New Department for Education statistics show that only
10 more young people stayed with their foster carers in 2012 to 2013 than
in 2011 to 2012. In total, just 5% of all care leavers were still with
their foster carers by the age of 19.
Tapsfield added that:- "Every local authority across the
country has the responsibility for their children in care. At the
current rate of voluntary progress being made by local authorities,
it would take 140 years until enough provision was made for these
vulnerable young people. Care leavers are
overrepresented in prison populations, and are more likely to be
unemployed, single parents, mental health service users and homeless
than those who grew up within their own families. Corporate parents
should not continue to give their children a raw deal."
Charities joining the call include the Fostering Network, Coram,
NSPCC, Action for Children, Barnardo's, the Children's Society and
NO PAY RISE FOR
NHS STAFF WILL BE THE FINAL STRAW THAT LEAD TO CALLS FOR INDUSTRIAL
A tax break to married
couples will cost £600m per year compared to £500m per year saved by
reneging on the promised pay rise to NHS staff says GMB. GMB,
the union for workers in the NHS, responded to news that Government
has told the NHS pay review body that it will not honour the promise
for an across the board pay rise for NHS staff from 1 April 2014.
Rehana Azam, GMB National Officer for the NHS, said:- "The NHS
pay review body is an independent body which receives evidence which
then recommends pay rises in the NHS.
You only have to spend time with a paramedic, nurse, theatre porter
or any other frontline NHS worker to see their number one priority
is to deliver quality care and the best outcomes to patients they
Why then does Jeremy Hunt want to berate and bully staff while they
are trying to do a good job often under difficult circumstances.
This is just wrong and will not be tolerated.
If the Secretary of State wants to employ bullying employer tactics
to dictate to this independent pay review body how pay should be
determined in the NHS our response is simple; we will fight this.
Government's attacks on the NHS are already significantly
undermining the delivery of care. GMB members are already totally fed up with this government's cuts
to NHS services and jobs which staff recognize put patient wellbeing
If the Government now wants to attack NHS staff pay while offering
tax cuts to married couples it will be the final straw that will
lead to calls for industrial action.
Offering a tax break to married couples will cost £600m per year to
the Exchequer compared to the £500m per year that could be saved by
reneging on the promised pay rise to NHS staff."
Landlords asked to combat anti-social behaviour
PRIVATE landlords in
Liverpool have been urged to join with the City Council in dealing
with anti-social behaviour.
At a meeting of 20 landlords they were reminded of their
responsibilities in preventing and remedying problems.
This was the 1st of landlord awareness session, organised by CLASS
(Citywide landlord accreditation safety scheme), and was held as
part of a 10 point pledge adopted by the Council.
The landlords were urged by Councillor Ann O'Byrne, cabinet member
for housing, to take action in carrying out adequate checks to cut
the risk of letting to someone likely to behave anti- socially.
Tenancy agreements should also include appropriate clauses about
anti – social behaviour.
"Anti-social behaviour causes misery for neighbours and damages
communities. This year our enforcement officers have made more than
600 visits to homes of victims of this type of behaviour to provide
reassurance and see what action can be taken. We are looking to
landlords to work with us in tackling this issue. We expect all
landlords, to take reasonable action to prevent and, where
necessary, to remedy anti -social behaviour. Most landlords are
responsible and want to work for the good of their tenants and the
wider community. We will support them in carrying out their
responsibilities so that together we can stop anti-social
behaviour." said Councillor Ann O'Byrne.
The session was also addressed by Tom Reynolds from the National
Landlord Association about good practice for dealing with