The argument that a young person needs continued support within a family setting even after the age of 18 is easy to accept when we look at the average age children leave a parent's home being in their twenties.
There are various reasons why a young person may remain in a parent's home years after turning eighteen. The cost of living in the UK is quite high currently, and the job market is still recovering to a pre recessionary state, while wages are yet to catch up!
Young persons may find employment, but not with a desired starting salary or with an income that is too low to move out into suitable private accommodation. It can be almost impossible to save while trying to pay high rental prices so the best option for many may be to stay in the family home after securing a first professional job. This ofcourse is provided one is able to stay in the family home. Many young persons in foster care may feel this option is not available to them as they are not fully family members or even a burden on the foster family. This is where the 'stay put' provision, where young persons may remain with their foster carers until the age of twenty one plays a vital part.
This provision came into law earlier in 2014 and can help to ease some of the financial burden of foster carers continuing to care for young persons after the age of eighteen. It also can help those foster carers, for whom the issue is not financial, but rather would like to have the security of law protecting them if they choose to have a young person stay within their household after the age of eighteen. Foster carers can also become attached to foster children and think of them as equally part of the family, it therefore becomes difficult to have that young person leave when they turn eighteen.
Young persons coming form care as well, deserve the support and the opportunity to go onto further education. From choosing the best institution, to the right courses and paper work, young persons can use advise and guidance from parents when making this important decision. Applications for schools often require recommendations and supporting statements of character, which for teenagers and young adults from a care background may not be as easy to come by.
Children coming from a care background may not have many supportive adults from their past that they can turn to for help with supporting documents or may feel shy about asking former foster carers for help whom they have only spent little time with. It can then be an even more daunting process of application for an adolescent without a supportive adult. Giving young persons more time at this crucial age of adolescence to spend with foster parents, can give them more time to explore options for further education and develop a relationship with an adult who may support them throughout the educational course and in the first steps in adulthood.