HC Deb 18 November 1997 vol 301 cc174-5W
Mr. Dawson

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will seek to amend section 24 of the Children Act 1989 to impose an enforceable duty on local authorities to assist young people who have left care with cash or material assistance until their 21st birthday. [16648]

Mr. Boateng

In addition to carrying out their duties to advise and befriend care leavers, local authorities make use of their powers under the Children Act 1989 to provide individual care leavers with assistance in kind or in cash to supplement any income that the young person receives whilst in training, education, employment or from state benefits. The Government are aware, however, of the social exclusion experienced by many care leavers and consider that the question of providing cash or material assistance cannot be separated from issues of housing, education, training and employment and Income Support. These are all matters which the Government intend to address as part of preventing social exclusion and we have no plans at present to amend.