• February 23, 2024
 Should care experience be a ‘protected characteristic’ in law?

Should care experience be a ‘protected characteristic’ in law?

The Children’s Commissioner has launched a consultation on whether care experience should be a “protected characteristic” in law akin to that of age, disability, religion, and more.

The Commissioner says there is an argument that such a protection would prevent discrimination faced by those who have experience in care.

Others, however, suggest it would create additional stigma, or might simply be ineffective. Either way, the Commissioner is calling for care experienced people to be involved within the debate.

“I want to explore every possible avenue for ensuring that all the barriers that care experienced people face to achieving their ambitions are removed,” said Dame Rachel de Souza, Children’s Commissioner for England:

“People who have interacted with the care system have often had the hardest start in life, so it is up to all of us in positions of responsibility to ensure that nothing holds them back.

That is why I have set out my vision for care leavers, carried out research on children in care maintaining relationships with their siblings, examined the education of looked after children and it’s why I sit on the implementation board for the current reforms to children’s social care.

I established my own Care Experienced Advisory Board to make sure that the voices of children in care and care experienced people are central to all of my work. My team and I regularly visit children in care in a range of settings across the country to make sure their voices are heard and their rights are upheld.”

De Souza is now calling for care experienced people to say what they think about this proposal – whether they believe it would make a difference to their lives, or not, and why. “I will read all these ideas and want this to be the start of a rich conversation,” said de Souza, adding:

“To all care experienced people and children in care – please share your views. I want to hear directly from you because it is you who have the true expertise that we should be drawing on.”

Have your say here.

Jamie Lennox, Editor, Today's Family Lawyer

Editor of Today's Conveyancer, Today's Wills and Probate, and Today's Family Lawyer

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