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24 March 2011
Looked-after children can look forward to a brighter future, as the government commits to a savings account scheme for children in care, says Action for Children.
On Tuesday the chancellor responded to Action for Children and Barnardo's On Our Own Two Feet campaign, which has received widespread parliamentary and public support, by announcing that the government will establish savings accounts for looked-after children and provide funding in the region of £5m for this scheme.
Action for Children and Barnardo's released a report on March 9 which set out a costed proposal for a savings account scheme for looked-after children, with annual government contributions. More than 500 MPs have been contacted by their constituents asking them to support the campaign, and many parliamentarians of all parties have pledged support, recognising that children in care are amongst the most disadvantaged and marginalised young people in the UK.
Having adequate financial security (in addition to emotional and practical support) is vital for young care-leavers, if they are to succeed as they enter adulthood. A savings account scheme will help care-leavers make positive choices about their future and foster financial education and responsibility. Financial support makes a significant difference to care-leavers' access to education and employment – things that are vital for breaking cycles of disadvantage.
Action for Children are delighted that the government has recognised its role as the corporate parent of these vulnerable young people and committed to invest in their futures in the same way that other parents save for their children.
Action for Children and Barnardo's will be working with the government to ensure the proposed scheme becomes a reality and is effective in providing much-needed financial security to all looked-after children in the UK, as they face the ‘cliff edge' of leaving care.