HC Deb 13 December 1999 vol 341 cc55-6W
Mr. Dawson

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the cost of extending eligibility as defined in Clause 1 of the Children (Leaving Care) Bill[Lords] to young people up to the age of 21 years. [102201]

Mr. Hutton

It is essential that any new duties introduced through the Children (Leaving Care) Bill are fully and properly funded as part of our commitment to improving the life chances of these young people. Work is currently under way to estimate the costs of extending assistance to young people up to the age of 21.

Referring to the duty to assess and meet the needs of young people in and leaving care, our response to the Children's Safeguards Review stated the Government is also minded to extend this duty until the young person reaches the age of 21. However, it will first study the costs, limitations and affordability of doing so".

We remain committed to extending the duty to 18–21-year-old care leavers when finances allow. The Children (Leaving Care) Bill makes provision for this at Section 24A 4(a).