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Young Persons

Volume 982: debated on Wednesday 2 April 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what records are kept of children when they have left the care of local authorities on attaining 18 years of age; and if he is satisfied that there is adequate support of these children;(2) what advice and help is given to teenagers who leave the care of local authorities on reaching 18 years of age on housing and other problems they may face;

Local authorities are required to retain the case records of a child in their care who is boarded out for at least three years after the child has reached age 18. There are no statutory requirements governing the retention of the records of other children in care, but we understand that these records are generally kept for the same length of time as those of children who have been boarded out.Local authorities have a general responsibility to ensure that children who leave care on reaching age 18 receive advice on problems they are likely to face as adults, including housing. A local authority may contribute towards the cost of accommodation and maintenance of a person aged 17 up to 21 who has been, but no longer is, in the care of a local authority. The authority may also provide accommodation in a community home for a person up to age 21 if the home is near the place where the person works or proposes to work.We do not know the extent to which authorities use these powers, but the National Children's Bureau will shortly be carrying out a project which will include a look at the problems children face on leaving care and what arrangements exist, or are needed, to help them.