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Children's Plan

Volume 697: debated on Monday 17 December 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How children and young people now looked after by local authorities will be included in the new national Children's Plan; and how the status of and support for foster parents and workers in residential children's homes will be improved. [HL961]

The Children's Plan sets out our plans for a step change in the way children, young people, parents and families—including foster carers and those working in residential children's homes—are supported to deal with the challenges they face. Our White Paper, Care Matters: Time for Change (2007), sets out the detail of how we will achieve this for children in care and those who look after them.

We are working on a number of policies to improve the status and support of foster carers and residential workers. For foster carers, we have introduced a national advice line (Fosterline), measures to improve the support and information given to foster carers subject to allegations and a national minimum allowance. We will be funding a national rollout of Fostering Changes, a training package to help foster carers deal with challenging behaviour, and plan through the Children's Workforce Development Council to extend the training, support and development standards for foster carers and to link these to the national minimum standards for fostering service providers. The Children and Young Persons Bill introduces provisions to improve the enforcement of standards in children's homes and we will be piloting a social pedagogic approach to working with children in residential homes.