Children and Families Act 2014 – Fostering in the News Series
Last week, a new Children and Families Act was given royal assent, which means that new changes to the law will give vulnerable children (both in fostering and out-with) greater protection and will support strong families. It will improve services for those children in foster carer and adoption, and introduce changes to support the welfare of children with separated parents and those with special educational needs. The Children and Families Act 2014 will come into force in the coming months.
The new reforms will give children in foster care the choice to stay with their foster families until their 21st birthday, if carers and social workers all want to continue the living arrangement. Local authorities will continue to support such arrangements financially.
This change to the law was strongly lobbied by the Fostering Network in their ‘Staying Put’ and ‘Don’t Move Me’ campaigns. They argued that young people leaving care need to have more say about when they are ready to live independently, rather than being forced out before they have developed an appropriate level of maturity and life skills. Following this success, MPs in Scotland and Wales are looking to implement similar changes to the law in due course. This is an extremely positive move to support children in foster care and the foster carers that look after them.