- Posted by: Mike Hedges MS
- Category: Press Releases
MIKE HEDGES WELCOMES NEW RIGHTS FOR YOUNG PEOPLE IN FOSTER CARE TO STAY WITH FOSTER FAMILIES AFTER 18
Young people in foster care will be able to stay with their foster family until they are 21 as part of a new ‘When I Am Ready’ scheme which is being rolled out across Wales, Welsh Labour’s Health and Social Services Minister Mark Drakeford has announced.
Mike Said ‘ I welcome this announcement; I have met many people who have been in Care in Swansea East and it is clear that there has been an issue for people who would be forced to leave the families they have lived with, in some cases for years, as they reach 18. These new arrangements will allow people to stay with their foster families, providing many young people with the extra support that they need at this age.’
The new ‘When I Am Ready’ arrangements will allow young people to continue living with their foster carers in a stable and nurturing family environment after they turn 18 to the age of 21, or 25 if they are completing an agreed Programme of education or training. This will help to ensure that young people do not experience a sudden disruption to their living arrangements, which can have a negative impact on their education, training or employment or in developing their skills to live independently.
The changes are being introduced as part of the Welsh Labour Government’s wide-ranging reforms to Welsh social services in April 2016, when the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 comes into force. Under the Act, local authorities will have new duties towards young people in foster care who wish to continue living with their foster parents beyond the age of 18.
As a result of the changes, local authorities will have to:
• Ascertain when carrying out pathway assessments and drawing up pathway plans for young people aged 16 and 17, whether the young person and their foster carers wish to enter into a When I Am Ready arrangement.
• Provide advice and other support to facilitate these arrangements, where the young person and foster carers wish to enter into them and provided the local authority is satisfied this is not inconsistent with the young person’s wellbeing.