On 4th July 2016 the House of Lords considered the Government’s Children and Social Work Bill in Committee. The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, spoke in support of an amendment from Labour Peer Baroness Armstrong of Hill Top on young parents who are care leavers. The amendment was withdrawn following debate. The Bishop said:
The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, I feel that I could already write the Minister’s response by saying that of course these needs are already met in Clause 3(5)(a) or (b), as the subsection refers to meeting “his or her needs”. However, when, year after year, report after report notes that these needs are not dealt with, surely we reach the point where they need to be specified—hence I support the noble Baroness’s amendments. The needs of these young parents have so consistently not been adequately met that we now need to specify them so that they are. Continue reading “Children and Social Work Bill: Bishop of Durham supports amendment on young parents leaving care”
On 4th July 2016 the House of Lords considered the Government’s Children and Social Work Bill in Committee. The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, spoke in support of an amendment from Labour Peer Lord Warner on corporate parenting. The amendment was withdrawn following debate. The Bishop said:
The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, I also support this amendment. I apologise for not being here for day one* but at Second Reading I explained that I would not be able to be present last week. At Second Reading, there were a number of clauses—this is one of them—where I was concerned that the work of independent fostering agencies, adoption agencies and the voluntary sector as a whole, which provides increasing support to children in care and leaving care, was hardly noticed. Continue reading “Children and Social Work Bill 2016: Bishop of Durham supports amendment on corporate parenting”
On 19th May 2016 the Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, spoke in the first day of debate on the Queen’s Speech. He focused his response on the Government’s life chances agenda, including poverty, children and welfare reform.
The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, the gracious Speech makes several commitments to improving life chances for the most disadvantaged. There is also a renewed commitment,
“to support the development of a Northern Powerhouse”.
It is in welcoming these that I shall make most of my remarks.
Children need the best possible start in life. They need to be loved and cared for above all else. Where this is best found in an adoptive family, seeing this established as well and as quickly as possible is important, so I welcome the proposed measures here and look forward to the details. For some, care ends up as the best loving option. We need to ensure that life chances for those in residential or foster care are as good as for all other children. When the time comes to leave care, it is often traumatic. A move to provide care leavers with a personal adviser until they are 25 is therefore a very welcome proposal. Continue reading “Queen’s Speech 2016: Bishop of Durham responds on welfare, children and life chances”
On 21st March the House of Lords considered the Government’s Immigration Bill at Report Stage. The Bishop of Norwich, Rt Revd Graham James co-sponsored and spoke in support of a series of amendments on care leaving support for young people in the immigration system. Introducing the amendments the Earl of Listowel said:
“These amendments ensure that young people leaving care are able to continue to access leaving-care support from their local authorities in circumstances where their departure from the UK is not envisaged. This includes young people with pending applications to remain in the UK whose long-term future may be in the UK, and young people who cannot leave the UK because there is a genuine obstacle to their removal.”
The amendments were not put to a vote. The Bishops’ speech and the Minister’s response are below.
The Lord Bishop of Norwich: My Lords, the situation of most young adults in this country reveals why this group of amendments is needed. I am glad to add my name to it and pay tribute to the noble Earl for his introduction. In 2015, half of all young people aged 21 in this country and 40% of all 24 year-olds were still living with their parents. As many Members of your Lordships’ House will know from personal experience, even adult children who have left home often return when need arises. Indeed, my own personal experience of adult children is that territorial control of bedrooms continues even when they have got married or have their flats elsewhere—I am thinking of introducing a bedroom tax in Bishop’s House in Norwich. Continue reading “Immigration Bill: Bishop of Norwich supports amendment on supporting care leavers”
On 27th January 2016 the Bishop of Portsmouth, the Rt Revd Christopher Foster opened the second day of Report Stage on the Government’s Welfare Reform and Work Bill with an amendment in his name. The amendment, supported by Labour, Liberal Democrat and Crossbench Peers, proposed exemptions from the two-child limit for new claimants of tax credit and universal credit for kinship carers, bereaved parents, those fleeing domestic violence and disabled children. During his response to the amendment the Minister Lord Freud offered a number of concessions, most notably on kinship carers, and as a result the Bishop did not press the amendment to a vote. A full transcript of the Bishop’s opening and closing remarks, the Minister’s response and an intervention from the Bishop of Durham, are below.
Continue reading “Welfare Reform Bill: Bishop of Portsmouth proposes exceptions to the two child limit”
On 10th December 2015 the House of Lords debated a motion from Baroness Wheeler “That this House takes note of the quality and viability of the residential care sector in the light of the Government’s decision to delay the implementation of the care cost cap.” The Bishop of Bristol, Rt Revd Mike Hill, spoke in the debate, calling for Government to give more priority to residential care standards and funding.
The Lord Bishop of Bristol: My Lords, I join other Members of your Lordships’ House in thanking the noble Baroness for securing this debate. I admired her high-paced delivery of a lot of information without losing any clarity. Like the noble Baroness, I hope that this will not become a debate where we just trade statistics across the House, because in the end, as the noble Lord, Lord Filkin, has just drawn our attention to, this is about people and their lives, and therefore it is a matter that should be, and is, of great concern to us all.
If I stand in my bathroom and look out across the fields in north Bristol, I see the shell of Winterbourne View standing there as a testimony of what can go wrong with residential care when the business model is bust and the whole thing falls apart. It pains me to look at that building day by day. Continue reading “Bishop of Bristol calls for greater priority on standards and funding for residential care”
“We know that transitioning to adulthood is challenging and demanding for all young people today, but how much more so for care leavers” – Bishop of Leicester, 12/3/15.
On 12th March 2015 the Bishop of Leicester, Rt Rev Tim Stevens, spoke in a debate tabled by Baroness Eaton, “to ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to help young care leavers not able to “stay put” in foster care to make a successful transition to independence.”
Continue reading “Bishop of Leicester speaks about challenges facing young people leaving foster care”
Baroness Wheeler asked Her Majesty’s Government how they will ensure Clinical Commissioning Groups’ strategies and implementation plans support carers and take account of their needs and aspirations.
The Bishop of Norwich asked a supplementary question:
The Lord Bishop of Norwich: My Lords, the census revealed a substantial increase in young carers, some of whom may not even recognise the term but are simply doing what is expected in their family. Does the Minister agree that CCGs should consult and connect with schools to ensure that those noble but often vulnerable young adults get the support they deserve?
Earl Howe: I fully agree with the right reverend Prelate. The Government’s carers strategy sends out a strong message that education, health and young carer services should work together with families better to identify and support young carers, to prevent them taking on harmful caring roles. Young carers’ education, development or employment opportunities should not be diminished because of their caring role, and the right reverend Prelate may like to note that one of the initiatives recently put in train has been to recruit school nurses who are reaching out to schools to ensure that young carers’ needs are recognised in schools.