The recently enacted Adoption and Children Act (Northern Ireland) 2022 (“the Act”) provides for additional support to be made available to care leavers. As a consequence, the Children (Leaving Care) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2005 require amendment to give effect to this additional support. Consultation on the proposed content of the Act was carried out in 2006 and again in 2017.
This consultation seeks your views on two additional important issues which have not previously been consulted on and which it is considered should be reflected in the amendment to the Leaving Care Regulations.
The first issue concerns a growing number of care leavers who may have been victims of human trafficking or are unaccompanied asylum-seeking children. Those young people have very particular needs because of that status. We want to ensure that Health and Social Care Trusts, when undertaking an assessment of the care leaver’s needs, consider any needs the young person may have as a result of that status.
The second issue relates to the suitability and affordability of accommodation which the care leaver will be living in when they leave care. Every child and young person should have access to a stable and secure placement in suitable accommodation that can meet their needs and, most importantly, keep them safe. We consider regulations should stipulate the factors a Trust must take into consideration in relation to accommodation before a care leaver moves to that accommodation.
Your views will assist the Department in deciding how the Regulations will be amended.
Comments on the proposals can be submitted using the consultation response form via e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org
The closing date for Consultation responses should be provided by Thursday 19 January 2023.