§ Mr. Tony Banks
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance is given to local authority social services departments concerning support for 17-year-old young people leaving care.
§ Mr. Mellor
The powers and duties of local authorities for children leaving care are set out in sections 27 to 29 of the Child Care Act 1980.
For the past six years the Department has given a grant to the voluntary organisation First Key to enable to promote effective planning by local authorities for young people leaving care and to develop good practice, through consultancy work with individual local authorities and through conferences and publications.
Proposals to extend and enhance the powers and duties of local authorities for children leaving care are contained in clause 20 of the Children Bill now before the House. If agreed, it is intended that a detailed circular of guidance will be issued to local authorities on implementation of the provisions.