Care experience now a protected characteristic at 58 councils
Nearly 19 million people in the UK now live in an area where care experience is recognised as a protected characteristic.
The number of councils adopting the policy has risen to 58* after a concerted campaign by Terry Galloway of Care Leaver Offer and other organisations involved in campaigning for the rights of those with care experience.
Their awareness drive is leading to increasing numbers of local authorities in England and Scotland agreeing to protect those in care or who have been in care from discrimination, and to consider the impact of their policies on children in care and care leavers.
PSW has reported on the progress of the campaign, from the delivery of a petition to Downing Street, to the first council in Cumberland (pictured above) to make care experience a protected characteristic in August 2022, to the latest sucess in Stirling.
Terry Galloway, who himself grew up in care, said in a post on X: “This is getting very real... from that very first council at Cumberland to Stirling Council last night.... Thank you everybody for making this happen."
A recommendation in England' Independent Review of Children’s Social Care to make care experience a protected characteristic was dismissed by the government, but Galloway refused to give up the fight.
He said: “This campaign is enabling us to be heard at the fundamental level, which is policy and service design. It’s those policy designs that have discriminated against us for decades.
“For me, the holy grail is when we get to that point where the system just works, where we are no longer butting up against a broken care system. Without protected characteristics, there is nothing that can make people open their eyes to the trauma and injustice we face on a daily basis.”
The decision in Stirling was a UK first in that two motions were tabled on the same agenda, one from the SNP and another from Labour.
Galloway added: “Politics was put aside as the parties united to create one motion.”
He shared the full list of councils who have made the move to protect care leavers, ahead of his appearance at the annual Labour Party Conference, where he continued to lobby for more councils to follow suit.
- Only six per cent of care leavers aged between 19 and 21 are in higher education compared to around 38 per cent of all young people
- Four out of ten in the same age group are not in education, employment or training compared to 12 per cent of all young people
- Nearly half of young men and two thirds of young women in custody aged 16 to 21 have been in care
- Nearly half of care leavers in England are at risk of mental health problems and more than one in four young care leavers have sofa surfed, with 14 per cent having slept rough
The Care Leaver Offer website allows social workers to compare different local authorities to find out what support is given to care leavers. You can search under multiple areas such as health and wellbeing, employment, accommodation, and education and training.
Since this article was written the number has gone up to 63. Full list below:
|Westmorland and Furness
|Ashfield District Council
|Redcar and Cleveland
|Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole
|Southend on Sea Borough Council
|London Borough of Sutton
|Telford and Wrekin
|Newark and Sherwood
|Bradford City Council
|Salford City Council
|Plymouth City Council
|Birmingham City Council
|Cambridgeshire County Council
|Gloucestershire County Council
|Hammersmith and Fulham Council
|Dudley Metropolitan Council
|Milton Keynes City Council
|Bassetlaw District Council
|Richmond upon Thames
|Bedford Metropolitan Council
|Broxtowe Borough Council
|Rochdale Borough Council
|Liverpool City Council
|Darlington Borough Council
|Tower Hamlets Council
|Slough Borough Council
|North Northamptonshire Council
|Devon County Council
|Brighton and Hove Council
|St Helens Council
|West Sussex Council