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Lib Dem success as Surrey County Council agrees new support for care leavers

March 21, 2018 1:50 PM
Originally published by Surrey County Council Lib Dems

Will & Chris, Care Leavers campaignLiberal Democrat county councillors are celebrating after a package of measures to support care leavers was adopted by Surrey County Council. As part of a new Charter unanimously agreed by the County Council, young care leavers will be exempted from council tax, as well as given support with continuing education, managing a household and work skills.

Cllr Will Forster, who proposed the original motion calling for the council tax relief, said today:

"I am pleased that the County Council unanimously supported proposals to make life better for care leavers in Surrey. As corporate parents, we need to do everything we can to try to make the start of their transition to adult life is as smooth as possible. Aside from the other measures proposed, taking care leavers out of council tax will make a huge difference to their lives and give them a sound financial footing in their new life, rather than putting them in danger of falling into debt.

"The County Council is a corporate parent to children across Surrey and it is one of the most important duties we have to discharge as a local authority. This Charter could help change the lives of care leavers and we will work closely with the County Council and districts & boroughs across Surrey to make sure that it is a success. Our children deserve no less."

NOTES

The wording of the amended motion which was passed unanimously was:

This Council notes that:  

Last year 170 young people (aged 16 or over) left the care of Surrey County Council and began the difficult transition out of care and into adulthood.  
This Council has statutory corporate parenting responsibilities towards young people who have left care up until the age of 25. 
The Children and Social Work Act 2017 places corporate parenting responsibilities on district and borough councils for the first time, requiring them to have regard to children in care and care leavers when carrying out their functions.  

The Council resolves to use its convening powers and expertise in corporate parenting to work with the district and borough councils and other statutory authorities in Surrey to improve support for children in care and care leavers and to produce a countywide "Charter" of available entitlements and support in preparation for independence and adulthood, to include continuing education and training, managing a household and looking after money, starting work and keeping safe and staying healthy.