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5.5 Provision of Staying Put Arrangements and Supported Lodgings

RELATED CHAPTERS

Recruitment, Assessment and Monitoring of Supported Lodgings Providers Procedure

Supported Lodgings Panel: Terms of Reference Procedure

RELEVANT GUIDANCE

Staying Put - Arrangements for Care Leavers Aged 18 and Above to Stay on With Their Former Foster Carers – Government Guidance issued by the DfE, DWP and HMRC (2013)

A Staying Put arrangement is where a Former Relevant child, after ceasing to be Looked After, remains in the former foster home where they were placed immediately before they ceased to be Looked After, beyond the age of 18.

This chapter was updated in September 2014, in line with the Children and Families Act 2014. Additional information was added in Section 1, Introduction and Section 2, Planning Transition to Adulthood for Care Leavers.


Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Planning Transition to Adulthood for Care Leavers
  3. Criteria for post 18 arrangements with foster carers
  4. Procedure for provision of other Supported Lodgings arrangements


1. Introduction

East Riding of Yorkshire Council is committed, wherever possible, to provide young people in foster care the opportunity to remain with their carers post 18 in a Staying Put arrangement. The intention of Staying Put is to ensure that young people can remain with their former foster carers until they are prepared for adulthood, can experience a transition akin to their peers, avoid social exclusion and be more likely to avert a subsequent housing or tenancy breakdown

The local authority is also committed to providing those young people who cannot access a Staying Put arrangement the chance to move into supported lodgings when their care placement ceases. This may apply to those in residential care, out of authority placement or other arrangements

The Children and young Persons Act 2008 and the Planning Transition to Adulthood for Care Leaves 2010 (Regulation and Guidance) require each local authority to have a Staying Put policy that sets out the detailed arrangements for Staying Put with foster carers. This chapter contains the detailed information on the criteria and arrangements.

East Riding of Yorkshire Council has an established supported lodgings scheme, see Recruitment, Assessment and Monitoring of Supported Lodgings Providers and Supported Lodgings Panel: Terms of Reference.

All Staying Put arrangements with former foster carers are assessed and approved by this panel.

Early discussion and preparation for post 18 arrangements is key to a successful transition. The Pathway Planning process will include discussion from the age of 16, and will involve the young person and their social worker. If the young person is already in a foster placement, the discussion will also involve the carers and the fostering linkworker.

When a young person reaches the age of 18 their legal status changes, and they are no longer legally 'looked after'. If they were in foster care at that point, the foster placement and foster carer status ceases. Young people continue to have a status as a care leaver - (referred to in the Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000 as Former Relevant - and they will continue to be supported by the Pathway Team at least to the age of 21 - or up to 25 if they remain in education or training. The term ‘arrangement’ is used rather than ‘placement’ post 18, as the term ‘placement’ denotes a situation where the local authority arranged and placed a child with a foster carer. Once a child reaches the age of 18 and legal adulthood, the local authority is no longer making a placement but facilitating a Staying Put or supported lodgings arrangement for the young person.

It is the duty of the local authority:

  • To monitor the Staying Put arrangement; and
  • To provide advice, assistance and support to the Former Relevant child and the former foster parent with a view to maintaining the Staying Put arrangement (this must include financial support), until the child reaches the age of 21 (unless the local authority consider that the Staying Put arrangement is not consistent with the child’s welfare).


2. Planning Transition to Adulthood for Care Leavers

The Staying Put policy, covers the following areas, and should be read in conjunction with this chapter.

  • The criteria for such arrangements;
  • Any financial contributions from the young person from their wages, salary, benefits or educational allowances;
  • How the income tax, national insurance and welfare benefits situation of carers may be affected by post-18 payments;
  • Insurance issues including liability and household;
  • The impact on foster carers’ fostering registration limits and status;
  • Safeguarding arrangements including Disclosure and Barring Service DBS checks on over 18 year olds and issues relating to fostered children in households.

When carrying out an assessment of an Eligible child’s needs, the local authority must determine whether it would be appropriate to provide advice, assistance and support to facilitate a Staying Put arrangement. Where they determine that it would be appropriate, and where the child and the local authority foster parent wish to make a Staying Put arrangement, then the local authority must provide such advice, assistance and support to facilitate a Staying Put arrangement.


3. Criteria for Post 18 Arrangements with Foster Carers

If all parties agree, young people who are in East Riding of Yorkshire Council foster placements will be given the opportunity to remain with their carers post 18 on a supported lodgings basis. This arrangement will involve the carers 'converting' to become supported lodgings providers. The financial support for this arrangement will be different to the pre-18 foster allowances, as detailed within the Staying Put policy. The guiding principle will be that the young person will gradually become more financially self-sufficient in a planned way, in order to help them prepare for an eventual move to independent living. At this stage, it is expected they will have had the opportunity to manage their own money and budget for living expenses at a realistic level.

If a young person reaches their eighteenth birthday during the academic year, there should be minimum disruption to their education or training, and plans should be in place and shared with all parties well before this date.

Fostering allowances will cease on the eighteenth birthday, as the young person legally ceases to be looked after on this date. Supported lodgings payments will be made to the providers as detailed within the Staying Put policy.

While Fostering Regulations will no longer legally apply to these arrangements, key standards should continue to govern the expectations of the placement when the young person reaches 18. These will include

  • Yearly reviews of the providers;
  • Reassessment and re-registration every 3 years;
  • New DBS checks every 3 years on all adult members of the household, regular visitors and children of the carers aged 16 and over;
  • Health and safety checks;
  • Regular supervision from the Supported Lodgings co-ordinator;
  • Attending required training.

The Pathway team social worker will liaise with the pathway team Supported Lodgings co-ordinator to complete conversion paperwork for any Staying Put arrangements and present to the Supported Lodgings panel for consideration prior to the young person’s 18th birthday. See Supported Lodgings Panel: Terms of Reference Procedure.

While a young person remains in education or training, Staying Put arrangements or supported lodgings can be provided for up to three years post 18. This will be subject to regular review and all arrangements will be covered by a Supported Lodgings agreement, drawn up between the young person, the provider and the Pathway team worker.

Every young person will be supported to make the appropriate benefit claims when they reach the age of 18, including Housing Benefit. They will receive clear guidance on financial arrangements post 18 and what they are expected to budget for from their weekly monies. For those young people who are likely to have ongoing care needs as an adult a referral will be made prior to their 17th birthday to Adult Services for the completion of an. Assessment.  Where appropriate, adult placement options will be explored;


4. Procedure for Provision of other Supported Lodgings

All looked after young people will, where appropriate, have the opportunity to access a supported lodgings placement when they leave their care placement. As with Staying Put arrangements, early consideration will be given to post 18 plans as a part of the pathway planning process. The Pathway Team social worker will liaise with the Supported Lodgings co-ordinator to identify suitable placements, and wherever possible, the young person will be involved in the decision making process. Any matching process will involve visits to the potential provider and discussion of house rules.

End