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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.
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.
A radical shake-up of the care system will see children in foster care 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 turn 18, children and families minister Edward Timpson said.
Young people in care will now be able to leave their foster families when they feel ready rather than when they reach a pre-determined age limit, a Department for Education spokeswoman said.
A care charity has hailed the measure as the most significant reform for children in care in a generation.
The Who Cares? Trust said allowing youngsters to stay with foster parents until they are 21 means they will receive security and support at a "crucial time" in their lives.
Britain is facing a shortage of 9,000 foster carers this year as many people mistakenly believe myths about who would be allowed to foster children, a children's charity has said.
At sixty-four, foster mother Maggie Webster, wrongly believed she would be too old and says, "I still think I've got loads to give a child".
ITV News' Sejal Karia reports.
Action for Children found that people in the UK incorrectly believe they will not be allowed to foster children due to a number of "myths".Read the full story ›
Tracy Davison, who with her partner Jenny Godbold became one of the first same-sex couples to foster in Scotland, called it "the best job I have ever done".
Ms Davison said: "Anyone can foster ... Nobody should be afraid, as long as you can provide a safe, secure and loving environment it really is worth it.
"Having foster children is like having your own child - you have to have an open heart and each child is unique."
Former Dragons' Den star Richard Farleigh told Daybreak he views foster care as "society's band-aid".
Farleigh, who was taken into foster care at an early age, said fostering "repairs cases and puts children back into society".
He said being fostered "completely changed my life":
The charity Action for Children said members of the public incorrectly believe that you cannot foster a child if you are:
- Living in rented accommodation
- Not in full-time employment
- Over 55-years-old
The UK is facing a shortage of 9,000 foster carers this year as many people mistakenly believe they would not be allowed to foster children, a children's charity has said.
Action for Children wants to dispel the "myths" surrounding fostering in a bid to encourage more people to think about taking in a child.
The charity said 96% of those asked also did not know how many children are currently in care, which is around 91,000 in the UK.