Education Secretary urged to act decisively on care standards

Charities running the #KeepCaringTo18 campaign have today written to the Education Secretary, Nadhim Zahawi, urging him to accept the care review’s recommendation that every child in care receives care where they live, and accelerate its implementation so that the whole care sector is clear about what is required to meet the needs and fulfil the rights of every child in care. 

The #KeepCaringTo18 campaign, backed by nearly 70 organisations and many thousands of individuals, was launched in 2020 to press for all children in care to receive care where they live. In September 2021, the law was changed so that children in care aged 15 and under must always live in settings which are regulated and provide care. But this protection was deliberately withheld from children aged 16 and 17, and is the subject of a legal challenge brought by Article 39.

On 23 May 2022, the children’s social care review led by Josh MacAlister recommended that every child in care be given a guarantee of care through a universal set of care standards – to be implemented from 2025.

However, the Department for Education, Ofsted and local authorities are currently preparing for the introduction of ‘care-less’ standards for supported accommodation for children aged 16 and 17 from 2024 – at a cost of more than £140 million.

Today’s letter urges the Education Secretary to accept the care review’s recommendation that every child be guaranteed care where they live, and to implement this as a matter of urgency. 

The letter (set out below) was sent by:

Carolyne Willow, Director, Article 39
Annie Gibbs, Founder, Amour Destiné
David Graham, National Director, The Care Leavers’ Association
Louise King, Director of Campaigns and Policy, Just for Kids Law
Mark Lee, Chief Executive, Together Trust