After the headline-grabbing findings of the inquiry into institutional child abuse in Lambeth care homes and Lambeth foster placements over the decades, it appears that the council is still resisting allowing some foster care abuse claims to be made through the Lambeth Scheme
While Lambeth Council has acknowledged the damage done to hundreds of vulnerable young people, it has decreed that not all of those who suffered will have the right to claim redress via the scheme. The council has decided that only those who were first placed in Lambeth Children’s homes before moving on to foster care will qualify. Those who were placed directly into foster care will not qualify for Lambeth’s Redress Scheme.
Naturally, this continues to be met with dismay by the organisations trying to bring justice for the survivors, and the Shirley Oaks Survivors Association (SOSA) claims that the Lambeth scheme discriminates against many black former foster children in particular due to this sequencing of eligibility for foster care abuse.
An unlikely alliance
Despite an alliance of opposition councillors banding together to try and push the vote through to extend the scheme, Lambeth Town Council decided to push ahead with the policy to maintain the current scheme position on foster care abuse at a meeting on Wednesday September 22. Both Conservative councillor Cllr Tim Briggs and the main opposition Green Party failed to push the vote through to extend the policy. The extension was opposed by Labour councillors. However, this isn’t the end of the road for foster care survivors.
In recent developments, Raymond Stephenson of SOSA has informed Verisona that they now have the inroad to the politicians to take their challenge further up the political food chain, and push for the justice that survivors of Lambeth deserve. Previously, discussion was being held at officer level, but the issue is now being debated by councillors thanks to Verisona Law and other solicitors writing to place pressure on councillors to properly understand the injustice and pain being caused by the differential treatment relating to foster care abuse. Verisona specialise in civil claims for foster care abuse as well as Lambeth Scheme claims and were able to make clear to councillors the adversarial nature being applied by Lambeth Council in dealing with civil claims, as opposed to Lambeth Scheme claims, which accept abuse allegations at face value in the spirit of the scheme, trying to ensure transparent and compassionate redress. The council is of course also digesting the findings of IICSA.
We continue to push for the scheme to provide for all of the survivors of foster care home abuse, and not discount those who went straight into foster care.
Verisona – committed to seeking justice for all Lambeth survivors
We’ve redoubled our commitment to work with SOSA to ensure that everyone, regardless of whether they were in residential or foster care, is compensated and given the recognition they deserve.
We’re indebted to SOSA and their ongoing efforts, and applaud their work to shine a light on the pain unjust scheme restrictions relating to foster care abuse continue to cause. At Verisona, we are committed to continuing the fight and to work with SOSA to ensure every survivor’s voice is heard. SOSA is also dedicated to keeping up pressure on Lambeth Council – this is not an issue that will simply ‘quietly go away’.
We will be issuing regular updates and keeping our clients fully informed of developments, and of course, contribute wherever possible towards a successful outcome and recognition of the suffering of all Lambeth Care Homes & Foster Care survivors.
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