Narey slams 'lazy philosophy' of care home campaigners

By Derren Hayes

| 04 February 2014

Martin Narey, the government's adviser on children, has criticised a group of activists for playing politics over their campaign to extend post-care support to children living in care homes.

The government children's adviser Martin Narey is critical of the tactics used by the group campaigning for the extension of staying-put rights to children in residential homes.

Writing in CYP Now, Narey, the former chief executive of Barnardo’s, said it was "inaccurate and unfair" for the Every Child Leaving Care Matters (ECLCM) campaign group to portray government ministers as “uncaring” over their reluctance to extend to young people in residential care the right to stay living in a home and receive support up to 21.

Narey said: “The Education Secretary, who has just found £40m to support children in foster care, is, apparently, ‘sitting in his ivory tower, blocking out the truth’.

“This is the sort of politics that sees every member of the coalition government, but particularly those from the Conservative Party, as necessarily mendacious.

“The lazy philosophy that suggests all Tories are uncaring is as inaccurate as it is unfair.”

Last November, the government announced councils would be funded to continue supporting fostered children to stay with foster carers up to 21 for the next three years.

ECLCM campaigners believe the right should be extended to children in other forms of care placement as it otherwise discriminates unfairly against them. It has collected more than 5,000 signatures to a petition and secured a debate in parliament on the issue last month.

Despite initially rejecting the calls for the right to be extended to children’s homes, children’s minister Edward Timpson announced at the parliamentary debate he’d commissioned an independent study to assess whether it was possible.

The move was welcomed by the ECLCM campaign, but Narey believes "fundamental issues" need to be resolved before the right could be extended to children in care homes. 

He is also disdainful of the ECLCM campaign's petition: “Those apparently so angry at the government have resorted to a petition to demonstrate support, collecting 5,000 signatures. But does that really do very much for the cause?

“Elsewhere in government, we have more than 107,000 signatures supporting a petition to prevent the sale of kittens without their mother being present.

"That's the problem with petitions. With meagre support, they can undermine the case for change."

The ECLCM campaign declined to respond to Narey’s comments.

See the current issue of CYP Now for the full article or click here to read online.

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