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Opinion: Care-leaving age, Teenagers are children too

31 January 2022


“There should be a national outcry about the government’s decision to withhold the entitlement to care from the over-15s” says The Guardian in the opening to their editorial on care being withdrawn from children at age 15.

They go on to point out “The Children Act of 1989 allowed for unspecified “other arrangements” to take the place of foster or children’s homes in some cases. But the increase in such arrangements is unprecedented: in the decade from 2010 to 2020, the number of non-care placements rose 89%”

“Between 2018 and 2020, while living in this type of setting, 22 children aged 16 and 17 died. The government won’t say which councils were responsible for these children, but a review following the death of Caitlin Sharp criticised Worcestershire social services, and said that she should not have been living independently, partly due to her epilepsy. Forcing children to manage life on their own leads to other forms of harm too. Last year, the Together Trust found that 3,253 16- and 17-year-olds were not in education, employment or training while living in non-care settings. More recently, Ofsted published research showing that more than a third of care leavers don’t know where to turn in an emergency, and that money worries make many feel unsafe.”