Council moves to protect young people with ‘care experience’ from discrimination

A motion was recently passed by Enfield councillors to introduce a new “protected characteristic” for youngsters who have experience living in care

credit Amir Hosseini via Unsplash
credit Amir Hosseini via Unsplash

Enfield Council’s cabinet member of children’s services has hailed a move to protect young people who have experience of living in care from discrimination.

Children and young people in Enfield who have spent 13 weeks or more in local authority care will now be protected from discrimination in the same way age, disability or religion are currently protected.

A motion brought forward by Abdul Abdullahi, cabinet member for children’s services, gained cross-party support at a full council meeting last week and will be embodied in all the future decisions and policies made by Enfield Council.

During the motion, Cllr Abdullahi said the council recognised children who have spent time in local authority care such as foster care, or residential children’s homes, are likely to face discrimination.

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Commenting on the successful motion, Cllr Abdullahi said: “I am proud that we have committed to recognising care experience as a protected characteristic. We want every child and young person to be able to thrive, including those that have experience of the care system. We have however seen that those who have been in the care system often have a harder start in life, face discrimination and social stigma.

“‘Care experience’ is not currently on the list of protected characteristics in the Equality Act. While we await such a time as it may be introduced by legislation, Enfield Council is acting now to ensure any policies are made after thorough equality impact assessments to prevent discrimination.”

The motion committed to a review of the council’s ‘Fairer Enfield’ policy and equality objectives to reflect this commitment to recognise the impact its decisions will have on care experienced people.

In addition, Cllr Abdullahi has formally invited partner agencies to treat care experienced people as those with protected characteristics.

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