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MPs urged to give better protection to care experienced young people

08 February 2024

Plymouth MPs are being urged to support a change in the law to ensure care experienced young people are better supported as they become adults.

Councillor Jemima Laing, Cabinet Member for Children’s Social Care, is calling on the city’s three MPs to back a move that would give young people who have been in care the same protection against discrimination that the Equalities Act already gives on characteristics such as age, sex and race.

Councillor Laing, who also chairs the Council’s Corporate Parenting Group, said: “As a council we are an ambitious corporate parent and are fully committed to ensuring that the children and young people in our care can fulfil their potential.

“We have already agreed as an organisation that we will treat care experience as if it were a protected characteristic in the same way that other characteristics are protected but we now want to see this backed up by the law everywhere.

“The experiences of those who have been in the care system, in foster care and in residential care are varied but the challenges some face can have profound and lasting impacts.

“We believe it is vital to recognise the additional challenges and barriers that care experienced individuals face so we are calling on our MPs to support a change to the Equality Act (2010) that broadens corporate parenting responsibilities across a wider set of public bodies and organisations, as recommended by the Independent Review of Children’s Social – the MacAlister Review.”

Councillor Laing said the change would be relatively easy to make as it would simply require the Government to lay a statutory instrument to extend the list of protected characteristics under the Equality Act (2010) to include care experienced individuals.

She said: “This is a simple change that could make a big impact on the lives of many young people. It would give local authorities and other public bodies greater authority to put in place policies and programmes that would lead to better outcomes for care experienced people.”