Thursday, 23 May 2013

A need to help those leaving foster care.

Last week week I backed I backed the Foster Care Fortnight 2013 which runs from the13-26 May). One huge issue which has been raised by the Fostering Network about children in care is that they are not supported past the age of 21. I recorded my own experiences on video for the Fostering Network of a young girl badly affected by this policy in Hyndburn some years ago which had a profound impact.

That young female had been abandoned by her parents at a young age with no siblings; had had a succession of foster parents; could not read or write; had no one who loved her or cared for her and no prospects of a job. She lived in mouldy damp terraced property which she could not afford to heat and was for the most part of the week hungry with no where to turn - all due to a greedy landlord who would not do repairs and whose only interest was receiving his sky high rent. It was fair to say I was both delighted when she found a genuine boyfriend who showed her love and scarred by the fact the fact that her life - in Hyndburn - when I was asked to intervene as a councillor was shocking. She had been let down by her parents; the state; and society and I think we all have to accept some responsibility.

The average age for leaving home is 24, yet only one in twenty young people in foster care stay with their foster carers beyond their 18th birthday.

The Fostering Network recently provided MPs with an opportunity to voice our concerns as part of their Don't Move Me campaign.

I have raised this issue within the Labour Party. My video about fostered children staying longer with their foster carers is at this link http://youtu.be/0Qgvx0euGKI , and in time will be launched on a website along with the other MPs.