Robert Goodwill's announcement that foster children will be entitled to the same amount of free childcare as other children has been welcomed by Barnardo's.
The Government had announced in September that it was increasing the potential number of free hours of childcare for three and four year olds up to 30 a week, but the flagship policy had contained an exclusion 'if the child is your foster child'.
The announcement by the children and families minister came during a Westminster Hall debate, tabled by the Labour MP Lisa Nandy.
In the debate, Goodwill called the issue “vital” and said that children in foster care “should have access to the same support and opportunities”.
Robert Goodwill said:
"Since it was brought to my attention, I have been looking carefully at the issue of the current exclusion from the 30 hours policy for children in foster care. I have instructed my officials to work up plans to allow children in foster care to take up the additional hours where it is right for the child to do so."
In response to the announcement, Barnardo’s Chief Executive Javed Khan said:
"Barnardo’s welcomes the Government’s rethink on childcare provision for foster carers.
As we know from our services, foster carers are often looking after children with significant levels of vulnerability.
Fostered children must have access to the same opportunities as other children. They must not be discriminated against due to their difficult start in life, or the circumstances that brought them into care.
Both carers and children may benefit from this extra childcare, especially where fostering is provided by family members and those providing long-term care.
Placing the needs of the child should be at the heart of all Government policy, and we are glad the Government has made this vital change."
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