South West Safeguarding and Child Protection Procedures
South West Safeguarding and Child Protection Procedures South West Safeguarding and Child Protection Procedures

5.7.2 Staying Put Arrangements

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This chapter deals with details of Children in Care post 18 yrs who want, and can, stay in their current foster placement and includes financial details and processes.

OTHER RELEVANT CHAPTER

Leaving Care and Transition Procedure

Staying Put Policy


Contents

  1. Background
  2. Practice
  3. Financial Arrangement
  4. Review of Arrangements Prior to 19th Birthday
  5. Tax Situation
  6. Links to Other Guidance

    Appendix A: Licence Agreement


1. Background

Central Government is committed to the principles of Staying Put and it is anticipated that guidance will be issued at some time in the future.

Plymouth City Council is committed to enabling young people to remain with their current carers after they have turned 18, where it is in their best interests to do so and there is a mutual agreement to the proposed arrangements.

These arrangements are referred to as 'Staying Put arrangements'.

Placements under these arrangements will be considered 'Supported Lodgings' and the carer will need to undergo an assessment and approval in order to provide a placement under Staying Put.

Staying put arrangements would normally last until the young person's 19th birthday.

These arrangements do not apply to placements where the young person and the carer are transferring to Adult Social Care Services.

These arrangements do not apply to placements provided by independent sector fostering providers, who have their own arrangements, details of which can be accessed here: to follow


2. Practice

If arrangements under 'Staying Put' are appropriate then an early decision will enforce the young person's sense of stability and help ensure that sufficient time is available to make the necessary arrangements.

Once the decision to enter into a 'Staying Put' arrangement is agreed and not less than 6 months prior to the young persons' 18th birthday, the young person's social worker will ensure that a referral has be made to the Family Placement Service so that relevant assessments and approvals can be undertaken.

As the young person nears their 18th birthday there will be a reassessment of their needs and a final 'in care' Pathway Plan produced, which will include the arrangements for 'Staying Put' after the young person has left care.

This Plan should be available for scrutiny seven days before the young person's final review, which should itself be conducted at least eight weeks before the young person's 18th birthday so that any outstanding issues or recommendations can be dealt with.

Social workers are required to present the proposed plan and funding implications to the Resource Panel; including the end and review dates.

Social workers are required to ensure that arrangements are in place for the young person to claim all relevant benefits.

The Foster Care Service will continue to provide supervision and support to the former carer, now Host, in the case of foster carers who continue registration with Plymouth City Council. This will include:
  • Yearly reviews of the Host(s);
  • Re-assessment and re-registration every three years;
  • Disclosure and Barring Service checks every three years on all adult members of the household, and children of the carers aged 16 and older;
  • Health and safety checks;
  • Regular supervision from the supervising social worker;
  • Attending required training.

For foster carers who are ceasing to be registered carers the Foster Care Service will undertake a final assessment of the households' suitability to provide a staying put arrangement.

These may include:

  • Health and safety check;
  • A final Disclosure and Barring Service check on all adult members of the household;
  • The support to be provided to the young person;
  • Tenancy status.

The Host will not receive regular contact from the Foster Care Service, but may contact them for advice and support if they feel that the 18+ Service is not able to respond to their concerns.

The Pathway Plan will be reviewed at six monthly intervals; these reviews should consider the appropriateness of continuing the arrangement alongside any issues to do with securing and moving to other accommodation.

There will need to be a formal, written agreement to cover the arrangement in order to satisfy legal requirements and to enable the young person to access relevant benefits. A model agreement is set out in Appendix A: Licence Agreement.


3. Financial Arrangements

Plymouth City Council has a policy of ensuring that, during the academic year in which the young person attains the age of 18 and providing they are pursuing a full time course or involved in full time education, then the carer will have a financial package equivalent to the fostering allowance received for the young person concerned.

At the conclusion of the academic year, 31st August, the funding will revert to the standard supported lodgings rate.

The end date must be entered onto any financial agreement form.

The arrangements must be clearly communicated to the host and young person in writing; including the sources of funding, details of changes should the young person dis-engage from education and arrangements, including financial arrangements, after 31st August.

Where the young person is considered to be Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET) the financial support package will be the standard supported lodgings rate and this will apply from the young person's 18th birthday.

Where the young person leaves a course of education, and does not resume or commence further education within one month, the placement will revert to the standard supported lodgings rate and will continue at this level until the conclusion of the placement.

Where the young person is in employment (including apprenticeships) the financial support package will revert to the standard supported lodgings rate, and the financial support will be assessed using the formula set out in the allowance document for young people leaving care.

In normal circumstances the financial package will be made up from three sources:

  1. Housing Benefit;
  2. Contribution from the young person; and
  3. Support costs from the Local Authority (18+ Service).

The young person will be supported to make a claim for relevant benefits two weeks before their 18th birthday.

The young person is expected to enter into arrangements to ensure that the Host receives the housing benefit and the personal contribution.

The local authority will ensure that the agreed support costs are paid to the carer using the details supplied; these payments will be made using the BACS system.

The carer is required to notify the local authority, normally through the young person's Personal Adviser, of any failure on the part the young person to pay their rent or personal costs at the earliest opportunity.

The carer is required to notify the local authority, normally through the young person's Personal Adviser of any significant change in circumstances (e.g. young person leaving the placement) at the earliest opportunity.

Some young people may be in receipt of DLA. The local authority will not require the young person to contribute from these funds to the normal support costs, however if additional support needs are identified then it will be expected that the DLA payment is used to offset these costs

All financial arrangements will be recorded within the young person's Pathway Plan and on the written agreement; copies of which must be sent to the Host.


4. Review of Arrangements Prior to 19th Birthday

The young person will have a Pathway Plan, which is subject to six monthly reviews, if at the Pathway Plan Review prior to the young person's 19th birthday it is felt that the department should continue to support the staying put arrangement then the matter will need to be bought to the appropriate Resource Panel for agreement.

Any agreement will then be communicated to the young person and host, in writing, to include the new end date and any reviews.


5. Tax Situation

The Host is responsible for their own tax affairs and further information is available from the Fostering Network.

The local authority is not responsible for any changes to the arrangements agreed by the Inland Revenue.


6. Links to Other Guidance

The Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations - Volume 2: Care Planning, Placement and Case Review

The Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations Volume 3: Planning Transition to Adulthood for Care Leavers

IRO Handbook: Statutory guidance for independent reviewing officers and local authorities on their functions in relation to case management and review for Children in Care

Staying Put Practice Information (The Fostering Network)

Guidance on Tax and Benefits for staying put arrangements for care leavers aged 18 years and above.


Appendix A: Licence Agreement

Click here to view Appendix A: Licence Agreement.

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