UK Fostering welcomes the news that children in foster care are able to remain with their families until the age of 21. This will make a significant difference to thousands of foster children who will benefit from the ongoing support, warmth and love of their foster family as they reach young adulthood.
However, questions still remain as to whether the additional funding provided by the government will be enough to support the stretched local authority budgets. Will local authorities be happy for children to remain in foster care as foster children or will they expect to pay a ‘supported lodging’ level allowance? If so, can we be sure that the foster carers could afford to support these young people under that basis without the full fostering allowance? Our experience suggest that although some can, many foster families will not be able to.
Central government passing regulations is one thing, practical application of regulation at local government level is something else. Let’s hope we have some joined up thinking at government level and as a sector we pull together to really make the legislation work as it is intended.