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Foster children will be eligible for 30-hours funding

By Rachel Lawler

Foster children will be eligible for 30-hours funding after a surprise U-turn on the policy.
When the 30-hours offer originally launched in September, it was made available to parents of three- and four-year-old children with working parents, with the exception of foster children.
Yesterday, this decision was reverse by children and families minister, Robert Goodwill. Labour MP Lisa Nandy, who had tabled a debate on the topic in Westminster Hall, asked Goodwill about the policy. He confirmed that scheme would now be opened up to foster children.
Goodwill said: “I have instructed my officials to work up plans to allow children in foster care to take up the additional hours when it is right for the child to do so. We will work with local authorities, fostering service providers and others in the sector to ensure we implement this change in a way that promotes the best interests of the child. I will set out more detail about how we will deliver that shortly.”
This means that an additional 3,030 three- and four-year-olds will be eligible for the 30-hours offer.
Nandy said that she was “grateful” for the change in policy. She said: “I am grateful to the Minister for what he has just said and in particular for the child-centred nature of his approach, which will reassure many people outside of this place that he has the best interests of the child at heart.”
The Alliance welcomed the U-turn. Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Alliance, said: “We have always said that all children, regardless of background, should get the best possible start in life and so we warmly welcome the government’s decision to allow foster children to benefit from the 30-hours policy.”
Neil added: “It is of course vital that, alongside much-needed general early years funding reforms, the sector is adequately supported to deliver the additional places that will be needed as a result of this change, and we await further information on how the government intends to ensure this – but we’re clear that this was the right decision to take.”
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