There is so much wrong with housing, it’s hard to know where to start so, for now, I will cover the topic of ‘a family home for all children’.
Other big policies will be needed over renting or renting a house (costs, property condition and availability) and finding places to build, For the latter, we need a whole Island policy which takes into account how many houses will be needed and what types and where – and data and projections from that must come from a coherent population policy.
We must ensure a family home for all children
The number of vulnerable children is increasing; reasons for this are various, and some have to do with housing stress. For those children unable to stay with their natural parents (for whatever reason), we need to provide secure foster homes and not send them off-Island.
We are short of foster carers and need to support a programme which gives them professional training, status and recompense. The whole scheme must be subject to rigorous independent oversight.
And what as they grow up? Horrifyingly, about 31% of the 13-15-year-old boys that are taken into care are placed into a Shelter at 16 years old, alongside adult men, including addicts and alcoholics.
(Some of these children, unsurprisingly, go on to lead troubled lives themselves, with all the associated costs of a journey through courts and criminal justice system.)
We aim to break that cycle and get in early by recruiting suitable Foster Parents, paying them proper professional rates and training some of them as qualified Therapeutic Foster Parents to deal with the most difficult cases.
We must also look at different post-16 options, such as age-appropriate hostels which also teach life skills (such as cooking, washing, spending within budget, and more.)