The Children’s Commissioner, Dame Rachel de Souza, wants to know whether or not children in care and care experienced people think care experience should become a protected characteristic, and why. She is also interested in hearing from others, including adults who work with care leavers. It will only take 5-10 minutes to share your views.

The Children’s Commissioner wants to make sure that every care experienced person is able to thrive, and achieve all their ambitions. There has recently been a lot of debate about whether adding ‘care experience’ to the list of protected characteristics in the Equality Act would help to achieve this goal. The Children’s Commissioner wants to make sure that the voices of children in care and care experienced people are central to this debate. Your views will be analysed, and the findings will be published and shared with Government so that they can see what care experienced people think.

Everything you tell us will be kept private, and you don’t have to answer any question if you don’t want to.

What is a ‘protected characteristic’?
At the moment it is against the law to discriminate against anyone because of:
  • age
  • gender reassignment
  • being married or in a civil partnership
  • being pregnant or on maternity leave
  • disability
  • race including colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin
  • religion or belief
  • sex
  • sexual orientation
These are called ‘protected characteristics’.

If you think you’ve been unfairly discriminated against you can:
  • complain directly to the person or organisation
  • use someone else to help you sort it out (called ‘mediation’ or ‘alternative dispute resolution’)
  • make a claim in a court or tribunal
Public authorities must take action to prevent discrimination against those with protected characteristics - for example, by carrying out Equality Impact Assessments which detail how those with protected characteristics would be affected by a decision.

This call for action asks whether you think ‘care experience’ should be added to the list of protected characteristics.

What is ‘care experienced’?
By ‘care experienced’, we mean that someone has, at any stage of their life, and for any length of time, been in care. That means they were looked after by a local authority.

This includes, but is not limited to, 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 supervision 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.
If you have any other questions please contact us using the contact us form on our website.

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