Children in foster care will be able to stay with their carers until they are 21. Teenagers in England will no longer be forced to leave their foster families when they are 18, children and families minister Edward Timpson announced.
The Who Cares? Trust charity has welcomed the government's plan to allow children to stay in foster care until they reach 21, saying it is "the most significant reform in a generation."
This is absolutely fantastic news for thousands of young people in foster care, giving them vital security and support at a crucial time in their lives. It represents the most significant reform to the support children in care are given in a generation.
Time and again we hear from young people who are extremely anxious about having to leave their carers when they turn 18 and effectively no longer having somewhere they can call home, especially when the average age for young people who aren't in care to finally leave home is 24 to 27.
When the state takes children into care, we have a moral duty to do our best to ensure that they are loved and cared for and to provide them with support and a home beyond their 18th birthday, like all good parents do, including somewhere to come back to in the vacations if they go to university.
It is excellent news that the Government has agreed that young people leaving foster care should not be left to fend for themselves at 18.
– Natasha Finlayson, chief executive of the Who Cares? Trust
The children and families minister Edward Timpson, whose family fostered nearly 90 children, said allowing those in foster care to stay with their carers until they are 21 gives them "sufficient time to prepare for life after care."
I know from the many foster children I grew up with how crucial it is for them to be given sufficient time to prepare for life after care.
A growing number of local authorities already offer young people the choice to stay but with little financial support it can be challenging for their foster families.
Now all councils will have to follow their example, and we are giving them £40 million towards the cost.
This will allow the 10,000 young people leaving stable and secure homes to make the transition from care to independence when they are ready, rather than when their council tells them to.