Reading Borough Council has reaffirmed its commitment to children and young adults in its care.

Children come into care either through children being put up for adoption, or them being taken into custody due to the diminished responsibility of parents.

The council’s duty to look after children in care is called ‘Corporate Parenthood’.

Recently, Reading Borough Council committed to protecting children in care and providing tax reductions for care leavers.

The council has extended tax relief for care leavers from age 21 to age 24.

The change means those leaving care aged 18-20 do not have to pay council tax. Meanwhile, 21-22-year-olds will receive a 66 per cent tax ‘taper’, and 23-24-year-olds will receive a 33 per cent tax taper.

Councillor Rob White (Green, Park ward) the leader of the opposition, said that the Greens had campaigned for council tax reduction for care leavers, which he introduced at a policy committee meeting in October 2018.

The council tax relief is expected to cost approximately £72,000, a cost which has been factored into the council’s Medium Term Financial Strategy.

Furthermore, the council has agreed to make care experience a protected characteristic, affording children in care and care leavers protection from discrimination.

These measures were agreed unanimously at a full council meeting on Tuesday, October 17.

It was the first full meeting for cllr Finn McGoldrick (Labour, Norcot), who spoke passionately about the council’s important work in being a corporate parent, reflecting on her own experience being the adopted mother of two boys.

Cllr McGoldrick said: “Adoption is fantastic, 10/10 would recommend, but isn’t the right path for the vast majority of children in our care, and we cannot allow care to become a second class destination, or challenge too great to deal with.

“We should all be proud that rather than crossing our fingers and hoping for the best, we are taking the positive action needed to improve the outcomes for care experienced children and adults in our community.

“Care-experienced children have real barriers faced in their way, and therefore we steps we take to alleviate those barriers must be real as well.”

Cllr Jan Gavin (Labour, Caversham said: “The question we need to keep asking is would what we are doing be good enough for our own children?”

On making those in care and care leavers a protected characteristic, cllr Gavin said: “It sends a very clear message to care-experienced young people that we recognise their unique situation and the challenges they face.”

The council tax relief for carers will apply from April 1, 2024 onwards, the beginning of the 2024/2025 financial year.

Childrens services in Reading Borough are managed by the company Brighter Futures for Children, which was established in December 2018.