HC Deb 29 June 2000 vol 352 c570W
Mr. Dawson

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on his plans to provide for young people to remain in foster care beyond the age of 18 years. [128315]

Mr. Hutton

Under the Children Act 1989, children can be looked after until they reach the age of 18. Foster care therefore comes to an end at 18. However, it would be possible, if desired, for the young person to continue to live with his former foster parents, for example under a supported lodgings arrangement. In addition, under section 20(5) of the Children Act a council can provide accommodation in a community home for a person aged between 16 and 21 should his welfare require it.

The Children (Leaving Care) Bill does not affect either of these provisions. However, the Bill does create significant new aftercare duties which will require councils to continue to assist care leavers, should their welfare require it, until they are 21, or beyond if they are still in an agreed programme of education or training.