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5.8.5 Staying Put Policy


Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Background
  3. Aims of the Scheme
  4. Outcomes of the Scheme
  5. Terminology
  6. Definitions
  7. Staying Put Policy and Procedure: Establishing a Staying Put Placement
  8. Education, Vulnerability and Planned Move-On
  9. Finance Issues
  10. Support for Foster Carers
  11. Independent Fostering Agencies
  12. Means Tested Benefits for Young People in a Staying Put Arrangement
  13. Housing Benefit for Young People
  14. Payments and Housing Benefit Issues for "Staying Put" Arrangements
  15. Social Care and Regulatory Frameworks
  16. "Staying Put" Placement Guidance - Living Together Agreements


1. Introduction

Medway Council’s Staying Put Policy sets out the key aims and objectives of the Staying Put Scheme. The policy aims to consolidate and clarify existing arrangements for young people remaining with their former foster carers post 18. It sets out the conditions required to extend a former fostering arrangement beyond a young person’s eighteenth birthday, the associated financial implications, the social care requirements associated with extending former fostering arrangements and the consequential Income Tax, National Insurance and Welfare Benefit issues.

Young people living with foster carers supported by independent providers should be treated in the same way as those young people living with local authority in-house foster carers when consideration is given to a ‘staying put’ arrangement. Local authorities should have discussions with independent fostering providers at an early stage regarding the option of a ‘staying put’ arrangement. This discussion should include the amount of allowance the local authority will pay the former foster carer.

If a young person feels that his/her wish to remain with their former foster carer has not been properly considered by the local authority or they are unhappy with the way in which the local authority has acted, they may wish to speak to their Independent Reviewing Officer who chairs their reviews before they turn 18 and request a review of their Pathway Plan.  The young person should be told of their right to use their local authority’s complaints procedure to voice their concerns, and of their right to have an independent Advocate.

Note: Where a Staying Put arrangement is in place, the local authority, where appropriate, may consider delegating part of the Personal Adviser function to the foster carer (See Leaving Care and Transition Procedure, Personal Advisers).


2. Background

The Staying Put Policy 2013 complies with relevant legislation and guidance including:

  • Care Matters;
  • Children and Young Persons Act 2008;
  • Care Planning, Placement and Case Review 2010;
  • Fostering Service National Minimum Standards 2011;
  • Fostering Service (England) Regulations 2011.

The Staying Put scheme is open to all young care leavers who have established a positive relationship with their foster carers. It is further open to all in house and Independent Fostering Agency carers who wish to participate in the scheme.


3. Aims of the Scheme

  • To prevent social exclusion amongst care leavers and to ensure that all care leavers, especially those who are disabled and vulnerable, receive the necessary support to enable them to achieve positive outcomes;
  • To delay a young persons discharge from care until they are able to live independently;
  • To ensure that young people have adequate financial/budget management skills in place when they finally leave care;
  • To ensure that Staying Put arrangements are provided which meet the diverse needs of care leavers, including those related to their ethnicity, gender and sexuality;
  • To help young people to build trusting, positive and supportive relationships with their foster carers and through these placements to help prepare them for increasing independence and adulthood;
  • To support young people to achieve academically and to make positive choices in relation to their education, employment and training opportunities;
  • To listen to the wishes and feelings of young people so that should they wish to remain with their foster carers after the age of 18 they are enabled to do so.


4. Outcomes of the Scheme

Through the provision of a Staying Put scheme and policy, Medway is committed to working in partnership with young people and their carers to ensure positive outcomes for them in all areas of their lives. These include:

  • Supporting young people to develop independent living skills according to their assessed needs, which are clearly recorded within their Pathway Plan. The Pathway Plan will be regularly updated and reviewed and will have clear input and agreement from the young person;
  • Ensuring young people will have the necessary financial management and planning skills to live independently;
  • Ensuring young people are able to live independently when they leave their Staying Put arrangements and know where to access suitable support and advice should they require it;
  • Ensuring young people have the necessary time to plan their move into independent living and when they do so have acquired the self confidence and maturity to do so;
  • Ensuring young people who are engaged in higher education and who wish to remain living at home whilst they study are able to do so;
  • Ensuring that when a young person leaves their Staying Put arrangement they move into suitable, secure and sustainable accommodation, which they have been involved in choosing and securing.


5. Terminology

From the age of eighteen young people are no longer in care and therefore fostering arrangements and the legislation concerning them no longer apply. Following a young person’s eighteenth birthday, the legal basis on which they occupy the property (former foster care home) changes and they become an ‘excluded licensee’ who is effectively lodging in the Staying Put carer/s home. Whilst the term ‘excluded licensee’ is a legal one, it should not denote that the young person will be treated differently than they were as a fostered child. Where young people remain with their previous foster carers after their 18th birthday the arrangement is deemed to be an "age 18 and older placement" or a "Staying Put" arrangement. It cannot be classified as a placement since post 18 the Local Authority is no longer making a placement but facilitating a Staying Put arrangement.

The associated change from foster child to adult member of the household, and for the carer from foster carer to landlord ("Staying Put" carer), should be carefully and sensitively planned in order to ensure that both young people and the carer/s 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.


6. Definitions

The term "Staying Put" is used by the Department for Education to define arrangements where:

  1. A young person who was looked after immediately prior to their 18th birthday (as an eligible child) continues to reside with their foster carers;
  2. The carers were acting as foster carers to the young person immediately before their 18th birthday: i.e. they were approved under the Fostering Service Regulations 2011 and the young person had been placed with them by the Local Authority or via an IFA;
  3. The young person was deemed eligible immediately before they reached their 18th birthday;
  4. The Staying Put arrangement is set out in the young persons Pathway Plan;
  5. A proportion of the allowance paid to the Staying Put carer is paid by the Local Authority under S23c of the Children Act 1989;
  6. The Staying Put arrangement extends until;
    • The young persons leaves the arrangement; or
    • The young person reaches their 21st birthday if continuously and still living in the arrangement; or
    • The young person completes the programme of education or training being undertaken on their 21st birthday, if continuously living in the arrangement since their 18th birthday.

6.1 Where No Foster Children are Living in the Staying Put Arrangement

From the age of eighteen, young people are no longer legally ‘in care’ or ‘looked after’, and therefore fostering arrangements and legislation relating to children placed with foster carers no longer apply. Whilst legislation relating to fostering will no longer apply (if no foster child remains in the household), key standards continue to govern the expectations of the Staying Put arrangement. These include:

  • A system for considering if a person’s approval as a foster carer should be ended and for implementing the deregistration/termination process in circumstances where the foster carer is unlikely to be caring for any further foster children in the future;
  • A system for reviewing and approving the Staying Put arrangement and carer/s to ensure that the arrangement complies with local authority expectations;
  • Safeguarding and risk assessment checks on household members and in certain circumstances regular visitors;
  • Health and safety requirements (as a minimum this should comply with landlord and licensee/tenant requirements);
  • Regular supervision and support, possibly, from their fostering supervising social worker;
  • Opportunities to attend appropriate training.

Medway Council will assess individual circumstances and consider the appropriateness of all of these checks where the Staying Put young person is the only person living with their carer/s and it is not envisaged that further foster children will be placed.

In circumstances where it is clear that the carer will not be fostering any further children, it may be deemed appropriate to terminate their approval as a foster carer. In situations where it is possible that they may foster again in the future, it would be inappropriate to terminate their approval; given the length of time that re-approval would take. Where a foster carer’s approval is terminated, Medway Council will ensure that the Staying Put arrangement continues to meet appropriate standards.


7. Staying Put Policy and Procedure: Establishing a Staying Put Placement

7.1 Foster Carer

All foster carers must be encouraged and supported to work with young people to develop their independent living skills and their emotional resilience and self esteem. From the age of 15 ¾ onwards, depending on the circumstances of each placement, the supervising social worker should discuss with the foster carer the Staying Put scheme and policy and the implications for them of a young person remaining with them post 18.

The foster carer should be encouraged to consider the changes in their funding arrangements associated with a "Staying Put" arrangement and the impact of a "Staying Put" arrangement on their welfare benefit income and on their Income Tax And National Insurance responsibilities and liabilities:

Where the carer agrees to the Staying Put arrangements the supervising social worker will inform the allocated social worker. The arrangement will be confirmed at the next statutory review.

Should the foster carer not be willing to do so the supervising social worker will inform the allocated social worker. The foster carer will still be required to support the development of independent living skills for that young person as identified within the Pathway Plan and as reviewed at each statutory review.

7.2 Young Person

Discussion should start with the young person and foster carer regarding the option of staying put as early as possible, ideally before the young person reaches the age of 16.

Where a foster carer has expressed an interest in entering into a Staying Put arrangement the allocated social worker should discuss this with the young person at the first available instance. Ideally such discussions should commence when the Leaving Care assessment of need is undertaken at age 15 ¾. The Staying Put policy and procedure should be fully explained to the young person, as should the benefits for them of remaining in placement under this arrangement. Young people should be aware that they can change their minds about remaining with their carers post 18 at any time, but their allocated worker should explore carefully and sensitively with them why this is so.

7.3 Finalising the arrangement

Where both the foster carer and the young person wish to pursue a Staying Put arrangement a professionals meeting should take place as part of the Leaving Care Assessment of Need, this meeting should take place immediately prior to the young person’s 16th birthday. Early planning will allow the young person to feel secure and valued.

The "Staying Put" meeting should include the foster carer/s, supervising social worker and leaving care social worker/personal adviser and should establish the viability and likelihood of a "Staying Put" arrangement occurring. The meeting should identify all key tasks and roles and responsibilities related to extending the former fostering arrangement.

The "Staying Put" professionals meeting should be repeated when the young person reaches the age of 17½ and should ensure any final arrangements and requirements are in place by the young person’s 18th birthday. The outcome of this meeting should form the basis of the report presented to the Medway Access to Resources Panel (ARP) who are responsible for any decision regarding extending a former fostering arrangement.

To ensure that young people in placement do not feel stigmatised or under-valued the financial implications and arrangements for the Staying Put carer should not be discussed with the young person. These should be undertaken with the SSW. The financial support arrangements and support required by the young person to manage their money should form an integral part of all meetings and must include the young person.

7.4 Fostering Panel

The SSW will inform panel of the arrangements who will then be required to formally note their change of status. The SSW must update panel as to the carers previous approval limit and whether this is affected by the current arrangements. Where the carer has sufficient space and a thorough health and safety and risk assessment has been carried out the carer can continue to foster. Where they do continue to foster the SSW must inform the social worker of any possible future placements about the Staying Put arrangement to enable them to make a judgement as to the suitability of the placement for their young person.


8. Education, Vulnerability and Planned Move-On

The primary aim of "Staying Put" is to promote a gradual transition from care to adulthood and independent living that recognises that many young people in care experience delayed maturity, and that their 18th birthday may be an arbitrary and inappropriate point to leave foster care. Therefore, the following policy is designed to ensure young people do not experience a sudden disruption to their living arrangements, that educational achievement and continuity is promoted and that ‘vulnerable’ young people can make a gradual transition from care to independence.

Young People Attending University and Other Settings Away from Home

Living away from the former foster carer’s home for temporary periods such as  attending higher education courses should not preclude a ‘staying put’ arrangement. This might include a residential further education institution; undertaking induction training for the armed services or other training or employment programmes that require a young person to live away from home.

8.1. "Staying Put" - Education/Training

Young people can remain with their former foster carer/s to complete an education or training course for up to two years.

Criteria:

  • The education or training course must be full time;
  • Where a young person wishes to remain with their "Staying Put" carer whilst they attend university, the pathway plan must reflect this and the resource request to be made to ARP to clarify the funding arrangements before such arrangement can commence;
  • Information about the young person’s education or training course, including the course start and finish dates should be presented to the LAC Operations Manager when the young person reaches the age of 17½.

8.2. "Staying Put" - Vulnerability

Young people can remain with their former foster carer where their social worker believes that for whatever reason they are currently unable to move onto semi-independent, supported accommodation at the age of 18.

Criteria:

  • A report for ARP must be prepared which should focus on the level of the young persons vulnerability, why adult services criteria has not been met and what has been undertaken to assist the young person with the development of: practical, relationship, emotional and resilience skills and how these will be enhanced by the young person remaining in the "Staying Put" arrangement. The report should also include information about what support will be provided to increase the young person’s ability to develop independent living skills and their ability to establish and maintain either, a benefit claim, or an education, training or employment activity. The report should identify all forms of support and their role;
  • In addition, and particularly where a young person is being referred to Adult Services, or a Community Mental Health Team Service the report should also address any of the following issues:
    • Learning difficulties;
    • Physical disabilities;
    • Communication difficulties;
    • Special Education Needs;
    • Risk taking behaviour, exploitation and self harm;
    • Mental health issues;
    • Emotional and physical development;
    • Substance misuse.

8.3 Ending of Staying Put Arrangements

The Staying Put arrangement extends until:

  • The young person leaves the Staying Put arrangement;

or;

  • The young person reaches their twenty-first birthday.

Local authorities may wish to continue supporting a young person beyond age 21 if it meets their individual needs, such as finishing their course of education.

The local authority will want to ensure that the end of a ‘staying put’ arrangement is not another ‘cliff edge’ for the young person but a gradual transition to independent living. Procedures should be agreed at the outset about how any wish by the carer to bring the arrangement to an end should be managed. The social worker/personal adviser should discuss with the young person their transition from such an arrangement to another type of accommodation and agree the type of support the young person will require. These arrangements should be developed alongside joint protocols with the housing authority, setting out how access to social housing and care leavers ‘priority need’ status will be discharged.

An excluded licensee can be asked to leave the property by the Staying Put carer, who must give ‘reasonable notice’. In extreme circumstances it may be considered reasonable for the carer to give very short notice and ask the young person to leave on the same day.


9. Finance Issues

Whilst the level of financial support payable will depend upon individual needs and circumstances, former foster carers will be paid an allowance that will cover all reasonable costs of supporting the care leaver to remain living with them. Clear information will be provided to foster carers on the financial support which may be provided for staying put arrangements, in order to help foster carers plan well in advance whether they wish to participate in such arrangements. The allowance reflects the supported lodgings allowance which depends on the needs of the young person and ranges from basic, middle to high.

When deciding upon the level of financial support payable, careful consideration will have to be given to the impact of the ‘staying put’ arrangement on the family’s financial position. The impact will vary from family to family.

  1. The "Staying Put payment is set at an agreed amount and is paid via BACS to the provider in the same way as for foster carers. The rate will be uplifted annually at the same rate as for foster care;
  2. From the young person’s 18th birthday the pocket money and clothing allowance will cease to be paid to the foster carer. Young people will be required to claim any benefits to which they are entitled;
  3. All young people are required to claim housing benefit if their "Staying Put" carers’ earnings are in excess of the personal allowances and premiums set by Government. In situations where young people are working part-time, and do not claim a means tested personal benefit they will need to claim housing benefit. Earnings over £58.45 will result in a reduction of housing benefit which will need to be made up by a contribution by the young person;
  4. Young people living in kinship foster placements with sisters, brothers and certain extended family members who are formally approved as foster carers are not eligible to claim housing benefit on reaching the age of 18;
  5. Housing Benefit will be paid directly to the young person (tenant) or the “Staying Put” carer (landlord) on the young person’s (tenant’s) behalf;
  6. The local authority will explain to the young person their full entitlements, including how they will provide the young person with their leaving care grant once they move on from a ‘staying put’ arrangement and live independently.


10. Support for Foster Carers

The local authority will discuss with the former foster carer whether they require any particular training and guidance to help support the young person. The type of support that a former foster carer will need to provide in a ‘staying put’ arrangement is likely to be different to that they provided when fostering the young person. It should be explored with the former foster carer the type of training and support they think they will require, particularly in helping the young person develop their independent life skills. Whether the former foster carer is from the local authority or an independent fostering service, careful consideration should be given to continued support which could include peer support.


11. Independent Fostering Agencies

Requests to consider placement in Independent Fostering Agency placements as Staying Put arrangements will be considered against the same criteria as Medway foster carer placements. 

  1. Negotiations should commence with the IFA when a young person reaches the age of 16 to allow time for planning and preparation. Medway’s policy is to pay carers directly the transparent allowance dependent on the young person’s needs which provides fair treatment for all “Staying Put” carers. However, an administrative fee of £80 per week is payable to the Independent Fostering Agency (IFA) for the duration of the “Staying Put” arrangement;
  2. The IFA will be responsible to provide continuous support to their carer as set out in a service level agreement which is to be agreed prior the commencement of the “Staying Put” arrangement;
  3. Benefit maximisation should take place in line with the above Medway foster carer policy, clothing and pocket money should cease age 18 and housing benefit should be claimed at age 18;
  4. Housing Benefit will be paid directly to the young person (tenant) or the “Staying Put” carer (landlord) on the young person’s (tenant’s) behalf;
  5. Where the IFA placement will be long term, an consideration should be given to exploring a transfer of the carers to the Medway Supported Lodgings Scheme.


12. Means Tested Benefits for Young People in a Staying Put Arrangement

Young people remaining in a "Staying Put" arrangement can claim a means tested benefits for their personal needs from their 18th birthday. These benefits replace the Pocket Money and Clothing Allowance previously contained in the foster carers maintenance allowance. All of the following benefits (1 to 4) can be claimed regardless of the circumstances of the young person’s former foster carer.

  1. Young people can claim Income Support under the ‘Relevant Education’ rules if they remain estranged from their family and are undertaking a full time (over 12 hours) education or training course which is under the higher education level;
  2. Lone Parents can claim Income Support until their child is 5 years old, Healthy Start Vouchers and a Sure Start Maternity Grant 11 weeks before the due birth date. From the birth of their baby they will also be eligible to claim Child Tax Credits and Child Benefit. (Eligible and Relevant lone parents aged 16 and 17 can also claim the above benefits, but only from the birth of their baby);
  3. Employment and Support Allowance can be claimed in circumstances where young people are deemed ‘sick or disabled’. (If the young person fits the eligibility criteria this benefit can be claimed from their 16th birthday regardless of whether they are looked after under section 20, or section 31, or if they are living in foster care);
  4. Jobseekers Allowance can be claimed where young people are registered as unemployed and are actively seeking employment.

As the benefits system is under constant national review the allocated social worker and supervising social worker will need to be mindful at all times of the eligibility of both young person and carer to various benefits and of the impact of the Staying Put arrangement on benefits available to both.


13. Housing Benefit for Young People

Depending on the circumstances of the "Staying Put" carer, all young people are expected to claim Housing Benefit from their 18th birthday, which is paid either directly to the young person (tenant) or the “Staying Put” carer (landlord) on the young person’s (tenant’s) behalf. to cover the accommodation element of the "Staying Put" arrangement.

Where meals are provided, as in "Staying Put" arrangements, the benefit rules state that the level of Housing Benefit is based on a reasonable rent for a one-bedroom dwelling with meals included. The level is set by the Local Rent Officer who will provide a Local Reference Rent, or a Claim Related Rent for the "Staying Put" carers home. The lowest of these, less an amount for meals, will become the maximum rent used to work out the amount of Housing Benefit provided. In circumstances where Housing Benefit is based on the maximum rent, it is possible to request a Pre-Tenancy Determination in advance of the Housing Benefit claim being submitted, in order to determine the level of Housing Benefit that will be paid on a given property. Pre-Tenancy Determinations are carried out by the Local Rent Officer.

As fostering regulations cease when a child reaches the age of 18 the primary framework governing these arrangements is tenure law. Young people are deemed excluded occupiers on a license. The standard letter (Appendix One and Two) should be issued and signed by the "Staying Put" carer as evidence of the young person’s liability to pay rent and is used as the license agreement in circumstances where a young person is expected to claim Housing Benefit. The letter sets out the full costs of the arrangement broken down into 1) Rent 2) Support 3) Utilities 4) Meals.

Where meals are not included the young person is entitled to a maximum amount of housing benefit in accordance with the local housing allowance rate for a one bedroom property, until they reach 22 years of age. After this any entitlement to housing benefit is assessed on the basis of the shared room rate of the local housing allowance.


14. Payments and Housing Benefit Issues for "Staying Put" Arrangements

Payments made to the "Staying Put" carers by the Local Authority from section 23C of the Children Act 1989, either via the young person, or directly to the carer/s on behalf of the young person are disregarded when calculating the carer’s entitlement to means tested welfare benefits. However, the section 23C disregard only applies where young people continue to live as a member of their former foster carer’s family ("Staying Put") on a non-commercial basis. Where young people claim housing benefit (which requires a commercial arrangement) they cannot continue to be deemed to be living as a member of their former foster carer’s family ("Staying Put") and therefore any payment from whatever source is taken into account and the section 23C disregard does not apply. Therefore, where a "Staying Put" carer is in receipt of a means tested benefit the young person can still claim Housing Benefit regardless but the “Staying Out” carer in such circumstances will be affected as they now have a sub tenant resident. Therefore the young person will not be expected to claim Housing Benefit and an amount equivalent to the Housing Benefit level will be paid to the young person’s "Staying Put" carer.

In order to ensure "Staying Put" carers and young people are supported to claim housing benefit appropriately:

  1. A Scheme for carers who are not in receipt of any means tested benefits where setting a commercial rent and young people claiming Housing Benefit would not have an impact on the "Staying Put" carers. In this option the young person claims Housing Benefit as a contribution towards the "Staying Put" arrangement. The fact that this is a commercial arrangement and the "Staying Put" carers lose their section 23C disregard is immaterial as the carer is not claiming any benefits;
  2. A Scheme for carers who are in receipt of a means tested benefit where CSC pays the young person’s rent element. In this option the whole payment to the "Staying Put" carer is provided by Children’s Services from section 23C and therefore the "Staying Put" carer’s benefits are not affected.

14.1 Council Tax and council tax benefits

  1. Where a young person is living in a "Staying Put" arrangement with two or more adults who are not in receipt of Council Tax Reduction and who pay full Council Tax a "Staying Put" young person will not have any impact on the Council Tax liability. The “Staying Put” young person living in this type of accommodation like any other tenant would not have liability for Council Tax and therefore no claim for reduction is required. In circumstances where a "Staying Put" carer is working and in receipt of the 25% single person reduction, this discount may continue when a "Staying Put" young person aged 18 plus is living in the arrangement. If the young person is a qualifying student and this exemption is claimed they are counted as ‘invisible’ in regard to the "Staying Put" carer’s 25% discount;
  2. In certain circumstances a young person may be treated as a Non-Dependent in terms of the "Staying Put" carers Council Tax Reduction. If this is the case there are set amounts of non-dependent deductions or (NDD's) that are deducted from Council Tax Reduction according to age, status and income;
  3. Where a commercial arrangement applies and the "Staying Put" carer is receiving Council Tax Benefit the payment received for the "Staying Put" arrangement is likely to have an impact on their benefits, including Council Tax Reduction.

14.2 The treatment of Benefits

Payments from children’s services to young people under section 17, section 20, section 23, section 24 and section 31 do not count as income for benefit purposes.

Payments made to young people and passed to former foster carer/s from section 23C (Children Act 1989) are disregarded in the assessment of the former foster carer/s’ income for benefit purposes, if the young person was formerly in the claimant’s care, is aged 18 or over and continues to live with the claimant within a non-commercial family type arrangement. If the arrangement is a commercial one the section 23C disregard ceases. See above.

14.3 Income Tax and national Insurance issues for "Staying put" Arrangements

Where young people remain living with their former foster carer/s under a "Staying Put" arrangement, the Income Tax and National Insurance framework and liabilities that apply are set out in the new "Shared Lives Carers" Guidance.

All foster carers and "Staying Put" carers must register as self-employed. The ‘Shared Lives’ - ‘Qualifying Care Relief Guidance’ sets out that "Staying Put" carers receive tax exemptions up to a given qualifying amount for each "Staying Put" young person living with them. The "Staying Put" qualifying rate mirrors the system and amounts that applied when the placement was previously a foster care placement.

H.M. Revenue and Customs Helpsheet (hs) 236 sets out information about the ‘Shared Lives’ - ‘Qualifying Care Relief Guidance’ - Fostering and "Staying Put" Income Tax and National insurance framework.


15. Social Care and Regulatory Frameworks

Whist fostering regulations no longer formally applying when a young person reaches the age of 18 the following standards should continue to govern the expectations of the "Staying Put" arrangement:

  • A return to fostering panel when there is a change of circumstances;
  • Yearly reviews of the carer/s;
  • The review report presented to the fostering panel chair every three years;
  • New Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Check every three years on all adult members of the household, regular visitors and children of the carers aged sixteen and older;
  • Health and Safety checks on the accommodation;
  • Regular supervision from the supervising social worker; Attending required training.

Maintaining these standards is relatively straightforward when "Staying Put" carers / foster carers have placements of both under and over 18 year olds. In circumstances where "Staying Put" carers only have an over 18 year old young person living with them, supervising social workers will need to assess individual circumstances and consider the appropriateness of all of these checks, particularly where it is envisaged that no further foster children will be placed.

Young people remaining with foster carer/s post eighteen will become adult members of the household and will require a valid DBS check in households where foster children are living. To ensure the check is completed by the young person’s 18th birthday the process will need to commence in sufficient time. The allocated social worker and supervising social worker must ensure, as part of the pre-arrangement planning that the check is undertaken and the final review of arrangements must ensure that the responsibility for arranging the check is clear.


16. "Staying Put" Placement Guidance - Living Together Agreements

Young people, "Staying Put" carer/s, leaving care personal advisers and supervising social workers should meet to develop a ‘Living Together Agreement’ prior to a young person’s 18th birthday. The agreement should set out the expectation of all parties and clarify roles and responsibilities. It should set out the ‘ground rules’ of the household as well as the areas of responsibility that all parties to the arrangement are expected to fulfil.The agreement should be incorporated into the young person’s Pathway Plan.

The agreement should cover: Preparation for independence tasks; finance, including young people having 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 carers of movements; education, training and employment activities; health arrangements, move-on arrangements; issues related to younger foster care children in the placement, safeguarding, role modelling and time keeping.

It should be assessed from the outset how the arrangement will help the young person develop the skills required for independent living once they move on. They should be  supported to continue to develop a range of skills including:

  • Relationships - getting on with neighbours; understanding acceptable behaviour; when and how to communicate with relevant professionals;
  • Emotional Resilience - managing isolation and where to go for support. Building self-esteem;
  • Finance and budgeting - opening a bank account, safe borrowing and managing debt, understanding basic financial products, benefits and welfare reform; budgeting for priority bills, household appliances and everyday shopping on a budget;
  • Cooking - cooking healthily and on a budget; understanding nutrition and its  impact on overall health;
  • Managing a home - washing and ironing, cleaning, basic DIY, operating appliances and what is allowed within a tenancy; and
  • Applying for jobs - understanding strengths and areas for personal development; developing job skills, understanding job/volunteering pathways and support available; understanding bursaries and other financial support; where to go for advice; understanding the impact of work on benefits.

End