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Family Law

The leading authority on all aspects of family law

17 NOV 2009

Ed Balls writes to every child and young person in care

The Children's Secretary Ed Balls has written to every child and young person in care promising them that they will not be stopped unnecessarily from taking part in activities their friends do.

The letters come after the Ministers met with young people who raised concerns that they miss out on many experiences their peers have because their carers are unsure of the rules around how they can spend their free time. They also told ministers that if they have to move from a foster parent to a children's home they are often given a bin-liner for their belongings rather than luggage.

In addition, all care leavers are now to be given a guaranteed opportunity to get training, mentoring and access to jobs through the From Care2Work programme. Thirty of the country's biggest employers have committed to supporting care leavers into employment, including Tesco, O2, Aviva and Marks and Spencer.

The Children's Secretary is now asking all local authorities to support the scheme to ensure the 6,000 young people leaving the care system in the next year have the opportunity to succeed and thrive.

Mr Balls said: "I want Local Authorities to put children and young people in care in the driving seat by empowering them to directly contribute to making the care system better.

"If a child or young person has to change placements during their time in their care they must be given appropriate luggage. It might seem like a small step but it is a big and important gesture for the vulnerable children in our care to feel respected and loved.

"Children in the care system also tell me they are banned from sleepovers at trusted friend's houses and feel they miss out on occasion nights which are an integral part of growing up. Children in their care should be sharing the experiences of their peers wherever possible."

Mr Balls confirmed that children and young people in care will have to be consulted and their views considered before any major change can take place in their life.

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