The government has announced extra funding to help councils cover the cost of extending support for children in care and care leavers. Personal adviser support will be extended to care leavers who are not in education or employment up to the age of 25. Children’s minister Nadhim Zahawi said the government will provide an extra £7m a year up to 2020 for the extension of the virtual school heads scheme. The government will also increase funding for care leavers’ personal advisers until 2021 to more than £12m, to cover their new responsibility for care leavers not in education, employment or training (Neet) up to 25. Both roles are being extended through provisions contained in the Children and Social Work Act 2017, which are due to come into effect from 1 April.
Personal advisers currently provide care leavers with support until they are 21, or up to 25 if they are in education or training. But from 1 April they will be required to provide that support to all care leavers until they are 25. Virtual school heads are currently in charge of promoting the educational achievement of all looked-after children in the care of the council that employs them. However, the duty is to be extended to cover children who were are no longer looked-after, possibly because they have been adopted or returned home, up to the age of 18. This change has been made to take into account the impact that their experiences prior to care have had on their emotional wellbeing and school attainment. Read more.