Government grants free childcare for foster families after Labour campaign
The Government announced a climbdown on its free childcare policy yesterday after sustained pressure from Labour’s Lisa Nandy over the exclusion of foster children.
In a debate tabled by the backbench MP, Families Minister Robert Goodwill declared that an extra 30 hours of free childcare for three and four year-olds would be extended to children in foster care.
The policy to increase childcare provision was announced in September but was not available to those in foster care.
The move to exclude some families was branded discriminatory by campaigners and faced opposition from MPs across the House.
Writing for PoliticsHome ahead of the debate, Ms Nandy urged ministers to change course.
She wrote: “The human cost of this oversight for some of the most vulnerable children in the country is beyond measure.
“That is why today, MPs will be calling on Ministers to think again.”
During the debate Mr Goodwill said: “Since it was brought to my attention, I have been looking carefully at the issue of the current exclusion from the 30 hours policy for children in foster care. I have instructed my officials to work up plans to allow children in foster care to take up the additional hours where 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 interest of the child and I will set out more detail on how we will deliver this shortly.”
Following the news Ms Nandy tweeted that she was “Grateful to Ministers for listening to our concerns today and including foster children in the 30 hours childcare offer.
“It will make a profound, lasting difference to some of the most vulnerable children in the country.”
She also tweeted the moment Mr Goodwill made the announcement, saying: "We did it!".