The Welsh Government is currently trialling a scheme which allows young people in foster care to stay longer, called When I am Ready. The Fostering Network Wales and Action for Children-Gweithredu dros Blant want this scheme to be available to young people across Wales. As such, they are asking the Welsh Government to include an amendment to its Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Bill to make it clear in law that young people can stay with their foster families until they are at least 21.
The Chance to Stay - Cyfle I Aros report shows that young people who stay in foster care achieve more qualifications (55 per cent) and are less likely to be involved in alcohol and substance misuse than those who leave by the age of 18.
The report also reveals that those who leave care at 18 could cost the UK and Welsh Governments an estimated £131,000 more per person in benefits and public service support than those who leave care later, demonstrating the wider economic value of the proposed amendment.
Freda Lewis, director of the Fostering Network Wales, said: “While most young people now stay with their families until at least 24, some of the most vulnerable in society – those who have been in care – have to leave by the time they are 18.
“We want Wales to be the best place for a young person to enter independence. If the Welsh Government provides stability for young people by allowing them to stay with their foster carers post-17, it will vastly improve their chances of a successful and prosperous adulthood.”
You can find out more about the campaign on the Fostering Network Wales Chance to Stay – Cyfle I Aros website.