The government is to consider a research report, backed by the Department for Education, which explores extending the Staying Put laws for children in residential care. The report supports children remaining in residential care until the age of 21.
The report explores the prospective options for young people in residential care and the potential challenges and costs that will need to be taken into account for effective implementation. It identifies four different options formed in response to consultation with young people and costing considerations. It suggests that the predicted annual cost of the extension would be £76m.
The report urges Ofsted to work with stakeholders to clarify the registration implications for homes should they cater for young people over 18 years old, and how this would impact on inspections.
The children’s minister, Edward Timpson, referenced the research in a Commons debate about an education committee report this week stating “I will of course consider carefully the scoping study and its recommendations. I have only just received that advice and cannot comment further at this stage. We commissioned that important work and I look forward to considering it in the next few weeks.” He said that due regard would be given to the research despite the potentially high cost implications.
The report follows the change in legislation last year allowing children to remain in foster homes until the age of 21. Many campaigners argued that the change discriminated against young people in children’s homes who are only allowed to stay until the age of 18.