Leeds City Council’s executive board is poised to endorse the establishment of care experience as a locally protected characteristic within the council, according to reports.

This development comes in the wake of a deputation made to the full council by care leavers, highlighting that individuals who have undergone the care system encounter similar obstacles as those faced by other groups with protected characteristics.

A ‘care experienced’ young person refers to someone who has encountered the care system, either on a temporary or long-term basis, encompassing both children presently in the care system and ‘care leavers’ – individuals who have previously been in care.

By formally acknowledging this status, Leeds City Council is aligning itself with 57 other councils, ensuring that the needs of care experienced young people are integral to all council decision-making processes, alongside other groups formally designated as having protected characteristics.

Councillor Fiona Venner, Leeds City Council executive member for children’s social care and health partnerships, said; “The council takes its responsibility to the children and young people in our care, as corporate parents extremely seriously, as all parents should.

“The recognition of care experience as a protected characteristic will further cement our commitment to care leavers, after young people brought a passionate and persuasive deputation to our January full council meeting. But it goes further than that, with this decision, we want to make sure that no-one with care experience is discriminated against, and that all children in Leeds have every opportunity to live fulfilling and successful lives without barriers.”