MEMBERS OF THE #KeepCaringTo18 campaign steering group have written to Josh MacAlister, chair of England’s children’s social care review, expressing “deep concern” about the review’s recent failure to “accurately communicate” what campaigners are pressing for in respect of children in care aged 16 and 17.

The campaigners ask for a meeting with the review chair and members of its Experts by Experience Board, which includes several care experienced people.

The #KeepCaringTo18 campaign was launched in March 2020 to press for all children in care to receive care where they live. This followed the publication of the first of two Department for Education consultation documents on non-care accommodation for children in care. That document proposed to end the use of non-care settings for children in care aged 15 and younger. This came into force through secondary legislation on 9 September 2021.

The letter to Josh MacAlister says: “Our campaign rejects this age divide, and the effective lowering of the leaving care age to 16 (more aptly described as the ‘loss of care age’). It creates a two-tier system – one with care and one without.”

Article 39 is legally challenging the secondary legislation. The case comes before the High Court on 16 December 2021.

Earlier this year, the Department for Education ran a second consultation on non-care settings for 16 and 17 year-olds in care, proposing a set of standards which deliberately omit any requirement to provide care. That consultation closed on 19 July 2021 and the government has not yet announced the outcome.

* Read the open letter here.

* More information on Article 39’s legal action here.

* Source: Article 39