David Cameron has announced a “zero tolerance of state failure” overhaul of the care system with changes to adoption laws and social services. The Prime Minister wants to put an end to the tendency for children in care to fall into crime, the sex trade and homelessness in later life.
The measures, which are expected to be contained in the Queen’s Speech on Wednesday, are part of the social justice legacy Mr Cameron has spoken about leaving in his last term at Number 10.
Writing in The Sunday Times, Mr Cameron said he would:
:: Enshrine in a covenant the provision of extra support into adulthood for children leaving care
:: Provide mentors until age 25 and help those leaving care to find homes and jobs
:: Create a new social care watchdog
:: Cut red tape for social worker training
:: Introduce adoption changes to allow children to be placed with new families – rather than search for distant relatives.
Mr Cameron wrote: “For too long, whether through misguided notions of what is right or sensitivities about not wanting to cause offence, we have let the most vulnerable in our country down.”
While praising the work of foster parents, he cited a near 50% fall in adoption numbers over the last two years and said new laws would “tip the balance” in favour of permanent adoption in the right circumstances even when that means overriding family ties.
He added: “These are not someone else’s children; they are all of ours, so every part of society should be stepping up to help care leavers get a shot at building a decent life.”