Gym passes and tax cuts to help former children in care

Tax exemptions and free access to gym and pool facilities are among the new initiatives set to be extended to looked-after children and care leavers in Harrogate.

Friday, 15th February 2019, 11:37 am
Updated Friday, 15th February 2019, 11:42 am
Harrogate Borough Council will for the first time share duties with the county when it comes to children or former children in care.

The moves are part of a broad strategy by Harrogate Borough Council to offer services for the first time to children and young people who have been or are currently in care.

It comes after a change in legislation in 2017 extended responsibilities for children in care to both county and district authorities for the first time.

Previously the sector had wholly been the responsibility of the county.

Borough staff have been working over the last several months to formulate the Looked After Children Strategy, which was endorsed at a meeting of Harrogate Borough Council's cabinet on January 6.

The council will also support care leavers getting preferential status on housing lists, extended opportunities for children and care leavers to undertake work experience at the council, and guaranteed interviews for vacant council roles if the applicant has all the minimum requirements.

Campaign to save future of threatened Harrogate school steps up another gearAccording to a report presented at the meeting, HBC currently has 82 looked after children and 44 care leavers living within the Harrogate Borough Council area.

A freedom of information request to North Yorkshire County Council last year further revealed that 413 children were in care in 2018 up until November.

Of that, 329 had spent time with foster parents, 51 were at home with their parents under the supervision of social services, 22 were in residential children's homes, and 11 were in other residential settings like secure units.

The total number of children in care from 2016-2017 was 580, compared to 611 in 2017-2018.

Lachlan Leeming, Local Democracy Reporting Service