Loughton announces revised guidance for those working with care leavers

Streamlined regulations for professionals working with care leavers have been published today, children’s minister Tim Loughton has said.

Speaking at the second annual Leaving Care Conference, Loughton said the new guidance is 7,000 words shorter and has cut bureaucracy so practitioners will have more time to work directly with children.

It will allow more flexibility for frontline staff to use their judgement when making decisions based on young people’s needs, he added.

“These new regulations come into force next April, and bring together the key responsibilities to give children in care the right support as quickly as possible,” Loughton said.

He went on to outline three key areas of reducing red tape, improving the quality of placements and greater fairness to improve outcomes for care leavers.

“These are the three main areas that we know can help us ensure that care leavers get a better deal in the future,” he said. “Making it easier for councils to support, focusing on quality over making a fast buck, and by institutionalising fairness in the way we operate.”

Loughton‘s speech comes a week after it emerged the Care Matters budget will by halved by 2014.

In a letter sent to local authority leaders last Wednesday (20 October), Communities Secretary Eric Pickles revealed that by 2014/15 cash shared between councils under the Care Matters grant will fall to £28.2m — a cut of 48.6 per cent on this year’s level of £54.9m.

The grant is intended to improve the care system and narrow the gap between children in care and their peers.