Petition is successful with 106,518 signatures
To: Rt Hon Justine Greening MP
Protect the rights of vulnerable children and care leavers
Please don’t let councils be excused from their legal duties to vulnerable children and care leavers.
Why is this important?
Parts of the Children and Social Work Bill allowed councils in England to be excused from their legal duties to provide for and protect vulnerable children and young people for up to six years. These protections have built up over 80 years and include many key laws passed by Parliament. They give vital rights to children living in their own families, including disabled children and young carers; children living in foster care, children’s homes, residential schools and custody; and young people leaving care.
On 8 November, the House of Lords voted to remove these parts of the Bill (the Government was defeated by 245 votes to 213). Our petition was mentioned twice in the debate. The Government then tabled amendments and used its majority in the House of Commons Committee to reinstate the clauses on 10 January.
The Committee had issued a call for evidence in December. 47 organisations and individuals submitted evidence; only one supported the clauses (44 opposed and 2 more expressed concern).
Seven parts of two Acts of Parliament were saved from opt-out in January (the Government selected these as 'core legal duties'). However, this leaves at risk every other legal protection for vulnerable children and young people.
The Government says the exemption clauses will encourage innovation, but we fear the loss of essential services and support for children and care leavers by cash-strapped councils.
There has been no public consultation and no evidence produced by the Government to support its plan to offer up for abolition virtually every legal duty made for vulnerable children and care leavers since 1933.