Many children and young people in care are still disadvantaged and experience significantly poorer outcomes in comparison to their peers. The CLA believes that children in care and care leavers should have access to the same opportunities as all other children. The CLA believes that the government should accept nothing less for every child in care than they would accept for their own children.
The CLA believes that the voice of the child should be at the centre of care.
We are in support of the following reforms:
- Increased training and support to enable foster carers and residential workers to value and support the needs of the children in their care.
- A pledge of the level of support that they will provide to the children in their care should be mandated on all local authorities. The pledge should be legally enforced, with penalties
- Improved links between children and adult services, particularly in relation to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS)
- Access to an adequately trained independent advocate for every child, should they require it
- A reduction in the amount of placement moves for children in care. We acknowledge that sometimes it may be necessary to move a child. However, moves should be kept to a minimum in order to improve the stability of the child’s care experience
- The option for young people to remain in care up to the age of 25, where appropriate
- The option to return to care, should a young person leave before the age of 25 and later feel that they were not ready
- Where young people do leave before the age of 25, they should be able to access support, should they wish it, up until that age. This should include financial assistance and help with housing, training and employment, even if the young person is not in further or higher education
- National Leaving Care Accommodation Standards should be introduced to ensure that all care leavers are housed in suitable and safe accommodation
- Providing young people in care and leaving care with a meaningful choice of care options
- Ensuring that all children in care, whether British national or foreign children, are accommodated under the appropriate legislation and are entitled to equal levels of support and care services both in care and when leaving care
- The introduction of adequate monitoring and evaluation processes across the range of care provision, including residential and foster care.