The Scottish Government has revealed that all forms of care in the country will now be extended to the age of 21, with additional support to the age of 26.
The change will come in to place from April 2015 and will see teenagers in residential, foster or kinship care who turn 16 entitled to remain looked after until the age of 21 under new provisions proposed for the Children and Young People Bill.
Minister for Young People Aileen Campbell said: “It is important that the support available to young people leaving care will help make the transition to independent living as comfortable and successful as possible.
“Care leavers in Scotland currently receive care and financial support up to the age of 21 and we have already committed to extending this to 26.
“We are now able to announce that, from April next year, those 16 year olds in foster, kinship or residential care will have a right to stay up until the age of 21 before receiving aftercare.
“We are committing £5 million a year for these improvements as we take steps with our partners in the sector to give young people in care the same opportunities and positive future that their non-looked after peers enjoy.
“The commitments we are making follow extensive work with key groups like Barnardo’s, Aberlour, Who Cares? Scotland and our local authority partners to help hundreds of vulnerable young people achieve their full potential.”
Duncan Dunlop, chief executive of Who Cares Scotland said: “The number young care leavers who will benefit from these changes is significant.”