On Tuesday, December 19 2018, Robert Goodwill the Children’s minister announced that children in foster care in England, aged 3 and 4 years old, would now be entitled to the extra 15 hours of free childcare. The free childcare will be available to use from September 2018.
The announcement made in Parliament brings closure to an ongoing battle to end a discriminatory policy that excluded fostered children being able to access the free childcare that was allocated to non-fostered children of the same age in England. The policy came into force in September 2017. Children in England had the potential of receiving up to 30 hours of free childcare. Before the latest change, the policy included an exclusion stating the discriminatory words “if the child is your foster child”. Labour MP Lisa Nandy led the campaign to see the policy updated to included fostered children.
Fostered Children Not to Be Discriminated Against
The change of policy is welcomed news. Fostered children should not be discriminated against and given the same rights as their peers. The Fostering Network is delighted with the news and thanked everyone who decided to back their campaign to ensure fostered children were not excluded from the free childcare hours. At the debate that was chaired by Lisa Nandy, Goodwill said that it was a vital issue and that fostered children should be given access to the same support and opportunities as their peers.
The Government shall work together with local authorities and fostering service providers and other members of the sector to implement the change in the best way for the interest of the child. More information on how these changes will be delivered will be announced at a later date.