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5.6 Staying Put Policy

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This chapter outlines the Council’s duties in relation to the provision of Staying Put arrangements for care leavers.


Contents

Caption: contents list
   
1. Background
2. Definitions for the Purposes of this Policy
3. Policy Statement
4. Corporate Requirements
5. Staying Put Arrangements
  5.1 Planning
  5.2 Living Together Agreements
  5.3 Legal Status and Safeguarding
  5.4 Financial Arrangements
  5.5 Means Tested Benefits for Providers
  5.6 Housing Benefit / Council Tax Benefit
  5.7 HMRC Income Tax and National Insurance
  5.8 Ending of Staying Put Arrangements
6. Links with other Policies
7. Financial Implications
8. References
  Appendix 1: Staying Put Finance


1. Background

This policy outlines the Council’s duties in relation to the provision of Staying Put arrangements for care leavers.

A Staying Put arrangement is where a Former Relevant Young Person, after ceasing to be looked after at the age of eighteen, remains in the former foster home where they were placed prior to their eighteenth birthday.

The Children and Families Act 2014 requires the Council to:

  • Support care leavers who wish to stay with their former foster carers until the age of 21 and beyond in exceptional circumstances;
  • Monitor and support the Staying Put arrangement; and
  • Provide advice, assistance and support to the former relevant young person and the former foster carer with a view to maintaining the Staying Put arrangement (this will include financial support).


2. Definitions for the Purposes of this Policy

Former relevant young person – young adults aged 18 to 21 or (up to the age of 25, if they are still being supported with their educational training) who were previously eligible or relevant care leavers.

Staying Put arrangement – arrangement is where a ‘former relevant’ young person, after ceasing to be looked after at the age of eighteen, remains in the former foster home where they were placed prior to their eighteenth birthday.


3. Policy Statement

East Riding of Yorkshire Council is committed, wherever possible, to providing young people in care the opportunity to remain living with their former foster carers after the age of 18, up to the age of 21. If both the young person and the carer are in agreement that they want a staying put arrangement to be made, this will be put in place. The arrangements will be managed via the Pathway Team and overseen by the Supported Lodgings panel, and the East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s Foster Panel.

These arrangements will be continued up to 21 (and sometimes beyond, by individual agreement.) The young person will be expected to be engaged in education, training or employment but if they are not, this will not exclude them from these arrangements.


4. Corporate Requirements

This policy contributes to the following corporate requirements:

  • Supporting vulnerable people, reducing inequalities – supporting in times of need, protecting from harm and improving the quality of life;
  • Promoting health, wellbeing and independence – helping people to stay healthy, strong and fit for the future.

Equalities - This policy is in line with the Corporate Equality Policy and an equalities assessment has been completed.

Human Rights - This policy supports the right to respect for family life and is consistent with the Council’s duty to comply with the Human Rights Act.


5. Staying Put Arrangements

The intention of a Staying Put arrangement 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 move onto successful independent tenancies of their own. The procedures outlined in the following sections should be adhered to, when appropriate, prior to and during the Staying Put arrangements and in the event of the Staying Put arrangement coming to an end.

5.1 Planning

For a young person living in foster care, the first Looked After Review following his or her 16th birthday should consider whether a Staying Put arrangement may be an option. This will entail assessing the implications for both the young person and the foster carer. These discussions will be included in the Pathway Planning process co-ordinated by the Pathway Team social worker.

5.2 Living Together Agreements

When it is agreed that a Staying Put arrangement is to be made, a ‘living together agreement’ will be drawn up which will set out all the practical arrangements. Many of these will be an extension of the expectations of the young person when they were fostered, but will be explicit about the differing expectations and house rules. The agreement will cover arrangements such as:

  • Preparation for adulthood and independence tasks;
  • Finance - this will include financial contributions from the young person, and such issues as credit cards, loan agreements and mobile phone contracts registered at the address;
  • Income and benefit claims;
  • Friends and partners visiting and staying at the address;
  • Staying away for nights/weekends and informing providers of movements;
  • Education, training and employment activities;
  • Health arrangements;
  • Move-on arrangements; and
  • Issues related to young fostered children in the placement – i.e. safeguarding, being a positive role model and time-keeping.

5.3 Legal Status and Safeguarding

Following the young person’s 18th birthday, the legal basis on which they occupy the property (former foster home) changes. The legal term is that the young person becomes an ‘excluded licensee’ lodging in the home. This does not mean the young person will be treated differently than they were as a fostered child. In addition, the carer may also become, and be deemed, the young person’s landlord / landlady.

The associated change from foster child to adult member of the household, and for the carer from foster carer to Staying Put provider should be carefully and sensitively planned. This will ensure that both young people and carers understand the nature of the arrangement and that the positive aspects of being in foster care are not diminished by the new legal and financial arrangements and terminology.

Where other fostered children are living in the household, the checks and requirements associated with fostering legislation will apply and will provide a framework for safeguarding and checking arrangements for the whole household. The foster carers will need to be returned to the Foster Panel due to the change in circumstances, as the young person will have reached adulthood and become an adult member of the fostering household. The young person will, therefore, require a valid Disclosure and Barring Service check. This will be undertaken by the Fostering Team, and in order for it to be in place by the eighteenth birthday, will need to be started in sufficient time.

All Staying Put arrangements (with in-house or agency foster carers) will be approved and reviewed by the Supported Lodgings Panel. This is a multi-agency panel that has oversight of all approvals, reviews and de-registration of providers. Any planned Staying Put arrangement will be presented prior to the young person’s 18th birthday, and provider records set up. This will include confirmation of statutory checks completed.

See Supported Lodgings Panel: Terms of Reference.

5.4 Financial Arrangements

Financial support for Staying Put arrangements is provided with the expectation that the young person is supported to become increasingly financially self-sufficient in a planned way and to help them prepare for an eventual move to independent living. They should be supported to manage their own money and budget for living expenses at a realistic level.

Staying Put allowances for providers are as follows:

  • Fostering allowances to the provider cease when the young person reaches the age of 18 as they are no longer looked after and the fostering placement has ceased;
  • A weekly Staying Put allowance will be paid to the provider from the age of 18. This will be paid at an enhanced supported lodgings rate for 12 months, and at the standard supported lodgings rate from 19 onwards; (For details of the current rates and a break down of the components please see Appendix 1: Staying Put Finance;
  • The young person will be expected to make a weekly contribution towards their board and household costs. The amount will be agreed as a part of the ‘living together agreement’ and will depend on the earnings of the young person;
  • Providers are no longer responsible for the young person’s costs – such as clothing, travel, personal needs etc;
  • The young person will be supported by their Pathway worker to make a claim for benefits, including housing benefit, wherever they are eligible; and
  • Providers will receive an allowance for the young person’s birthday and Christmas. (Please seen Appendix 1: Staying Put Finance for details.

5.5 Means Tested Benefits for Providers

In situations where the providers are claiming means tested benefits, the staying put payments are disregarded in calculating their entitlements, provided that:

  • A young person continues to reside with their former foster carer after their 18th birthday on a non-commercial and familial basis (i.e. within the family home); and
  • The young person was looked after immediately prior to their 18th birthday; and
  • The payments are made by the local authority to the carer under section 23 of the Children Act 1989 (continuing functions in respect of former relevant children).

When a commercial arrangement is made (i.e. any element of the cost of the arrangement comes from a source other than section 23) the non-section 23 element will be taken into account in the calculation of the carers’ own means tested benefit claim.

Additionally the disregard is lost on the whole payment (section 23 and non-section 23 elements) if the young person leaves the Staying Put arrangement and then returns to the provider at a later date (or moves to another provider after their 18th birthday).

5.6 Housing Benefit / Council Tax Benefit

Where the provider is in receipt of either of the above, there may be implications in respect of their benefits. It is recommended in these circumstances that individual advice is sought.

5.7 HMRC Income Tax and National Insurance

For HMRC purposes only, there is a broader definition of Staying Put. A Staying Put provider (for HMRC purposes only) does not need to be a registered foster carer or former foster carer. This means that young people are able to return to a different Staying Put provider between the ages of 18 and 21 or until the completion of an education or training course for example during a university vacation.

Where a Staying Put arrangement meets the HMRC qualifying criteria (and where a young adult continues to be a member of the provider’s family), the Income Tax and National Insurance rules that apply to foster carers are extended to Staying Put providers. The young people are required to share the providers’ home and daily family life during the placement – i.e. live as a part of the provider’s family. This system provides for foster carers and/or Staying Put providers to earn up to a given amount without paying Income Tax or Class 4 National Insurance contributions on their caring income.

The income tax free allowance consists of two elements. Firstly, a fixed amount per foster carer or Staying Put household, and secondly an additional amount per week per child. Where there is more than one paid Staying Put provider in the household, the allowance is shared equally by both providers.

The tax free allowance only applies to the Staying Put provider’s income from caring. If they have income from other sources, they will pay tax on that income in the normal manner.

Individual carers should consult their local HMRC office for guidance on their circumstances and liabilities.

5.8 Ending of Staying Put Arrangements

The Staying Put arrangement extends until:

  • The young person leaves the arrangement; or
  • The young person reaches their 21st birthday; or
  • The young person completes a programme of education or training (which may extend beyond their 21st birthday).

Procedures will be agreed at the outset about how any wish by the provider to bring the arrangement to an end should be managed. An excluded licensee can be asked to leave the property by the Staying Put provider, who must give ‘reasonable notice’. In extreme circumstances it may be considered reasonable for the provider to give very short notice and ask the young person to leave on the same day.


6. Links with other Policies

See, the Children and Young People’s Support and Safeguarding Services Service Plan 2022 – 2025.


7. Financial Implications

The costs arising from this policy will be met within existing CYPSSS budgets.


8. References


Appendix 1: Staying Put Finance

Caption: Placement weekly charge enhanced
   
Placement weekly charge (Staying Put placement with ex-foster carer) – enhanced rate £264.00
These costs are broken down as follows:  
   
Single room rent (eligible costs) £74.40
Support to provider (ineligible costs for HB) £76.00
Support to young person (ineligible costs for HB) £78.00
Use of furnishings and other communal facilities £23.00
Heating and lighting £12.60


Caption: Placement weekly charge
   
Placement weekly charge – standard rate £172.00
These costs are broken down as follows:  
   
Single room rent (eligible costs) £74.40
Support to provider (ineligible costs for HB) £32.00
Support to young person (ineligible costs for HB) £31.00
Use of furnishings and other communal facilities £22.00
Heating and lighting £12.60


Christmas and birthday allowances

Each provider will receive £50 for young person’s birthday and for Christmas.

End