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Care experience as a protected characteristic

Children and young people who have spent 13 weeks or more in local authority care will be protected from discrimination by Enfield Council in the same way age, disability or religion are currently protected.The motion brought forward by the Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Cllr Abdul Abdullahi, was overwhelmingly passed at November’s Full Council meeting and will be embodied in all the future decisions and policies made by Enfield Council.During the motion, Cllr Abdullahi said Enfield 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.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.  - Ends


 

The full wording of the motion was as follows:
13.26    Motion in the name of Councillor Abdul Abdullahi:  That Enfield Council recognises that Care Experienced people are a group who are likely to face discrimination.   That future decisions, services and policies made and adopted by the Council should be made after a thorough Equality Impact Assessments (EQIA) to determine the impact of any policies on care experienced people, alongside those who formally share a protected characteristic.   That the Fairer Enfield Policy and Equality Objectives will be reviewed to ensure that it is reflective of the Council’s commitment to recognise the impact its decisions will have on Care Experienced People and it will annually   publish information relating to people who share protected characteristics.  The council will treat Care Experienced individuals as well as those with protected characteristics fairly and equally.  To formally invite our partner agencies to treat Care Experienced people as those with protected characteristics until such time as it may be introduced by legislation.   For the Council to continue to proactively seek and listen to the voices of Care Experienced people when developing new policies.

‘Care experience’ can include but is not limited to those people who:
spent time in the care of the local authority (e.g., foster care or children’s home)

were ‘looked after at home’ under a care order

spent time in kinship foster care (where a friend or family member becomes the foster carer)

spent time in kinship care through a formal arrangement, recognised by a local authority

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