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12.4 Staying Put

RELEVANT GUIDANCE AND INFORMATION

Staying Put - Information for Providers Leaflet

Staying Put - Information for Young People Leaflet

Staying Put Guidance

Staying Put: What does it mean for you? (Catch 22 National Care Advisory Service)

AMENDMENT

This chapter was updated in January 2017. A link was added to Staying Put: What does it mean for you? (Catch 22 National Care Advisory Service) a guide for young people in care or who have left care about staying with their foster carers after the age of 18 in the Relevant Guidance and Information section.


Contents

  1. Introduction and Terminology
  2. Nottinghamshire Procedures
  3. Facilitating a Staying Put Arrangement
  4. "Staying Put" Criteria
  5. "Staying Put" - Living Together Agreements
  6. Funding
  7. Financial Issues for Staying Put Providers
  8. Financial Issues for Young People
  9. Social Care and Regulatory Frameworks
  10. Staying Put Flowchart

    Appendix A: Staying Put Agreement

    Appendix B: HMRC Factsheet HS236

    Appendix C: Proof of Rent Form

    Appendix D: Health and Safety Checklist

    Appendix E: Information for Providers

    Appendix F: Information for Young People


1. Introduction and Terminology

Introduction

The Children and Young Persons Act 2008 and the Planning Transition to Adulthood for Care Leavers 2010 (Regulations and Guidance) require every Local Authority to have a "Staying Put" Policy that outlines how the authority will promote the extension of foster care placements beyond a young person's eighteenth birthday. Related guidance is contained in the Fostering Service (England) Regulations 2011 (page 34) Fostering Services National Minimum Standards (Standard 12.4 page 26).

  • HM Government Staying Put DFE/DWP/HMRC Guidance May 2013;
  • HMRC Helpsheet 236.

The primary aim of "Staying Put" is to promote a gradual transition 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 ensures that, 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.

Terminology

From the age of 18, young people are no longer “in care”, accommodated, or looked after and therefore fostering arrangements and legislation pertaining to children placed with foster parents no longer applies. In circumstances where a young person remains with their foster carer post 18, the arrangements change to a Staying Put arrangement. Once the young person reaches the age of 18 and legal adulthood, the Local Authority is no longer making the placement but facilitating a Staying Put arrangement between the young person and the former foster carer.


2. Nottinghamshire Procedures

For a young person living in foster care, the first Looked After Child Review following his or her 16th birthday should consider whether a Staying Put placement is likely to be an option post 18 years. This will entail assessing the implications for both the young person and the foster carer.

Following the young person's 18th birthday, the legal basis on which they occupy the former foster home changes (the young person is no longer a Looked After Child but an 'excluded licensee' lodging in the home). This should not denote that the young person will be treated differently than they were as a fostered child, but the different status should be acknowledged.

While Fostering Regulations will no longer legally apply once a young person is over 18 years, key standards should continue to govern the expectations of the placement.

The Local Authority will need to assess individual circumstances and consider the appropriateness of all of these checks particularly where the young person is the only person placed/living with their carer/s and it is not envisaged that further children will be placed.

Where carers decide that they are not in a position to offer a Staying Put placement post 18, arrangements for moving the young person on should be carefully considered and managed to minimise disruption.


3. Facilitating a Staying Put Arrangement

The Pathway Planning process should identify the timescale required for young people to move to independence and should be used as the framework for beginning to explore the following issues:

  • Is it likely that the young person will fit the criteria for “Staying Put” when they reach their 18th birthday and is the foster carer prepared to offer a Staying Put placement?
  • Do the young person and the foster carer(s) understand the criteria for, and associated procedures for extending a foster placement into a “Staying Put” arrangement?
  • Does the young person understand their financial and benefit responsibilities associated with remaining in a “Staying Put” arrangement?
  • Does the foster carer(s) understand the changes in their funding arrangements associated with a “Staying Put” arrangement?
  • Does the foster carer(s) understand the impact of a “Staying Put” arrangement on their welfare benefit income and on their Income Tax and National Insurance responsibilities and liabilities?
  • What is the contingency plan for the young person, should the “Staying Put” arrangement not be viable?

To ensure sufficient time is available to make the necessary planning arrangements for extending a placement beyond a young person’s 18th birthday, a “Staying Put” meeting should take place as part of the Pathway Planning process. The “Staying Put” meeting should include the foster carer(s), the young person’s case holding social worker, and the foster carer’s support social worker. The meeting should establish the viability and likelihood of a “Staying Put” arrangement. The meeting should identify all tasks, roles and responsibilities related to extending the former fostering arrangement. The meeting should explore the impact on the foster carer(s) financial circumstances should the placement continue after the young person’s 18th birthday.

The “Staying Put” meeting should be repeated in preparation for the Leaving Care Review and should ensure any final arrangements and requirements are in place by the young person’s 18th birthday.

All requests for extending a placement post eighteen must be presented in writing to the 18+ Leaving Care Service Manager.


4. "Staying Put" Criteria

4.1

The Department for Education defines Staying Put as arrangements where;

  • A young person who was looked after immediately prior to their eighteenth birthday (as an eligible child) continues to reside with their former foster carers;
  • The carers were acting as foster carers to the child immediately prior to the young person’s eighteenth birthday(approved as foster carers in accordance with Fostering Service regulations 2011 and the child had been placed with them by a Local Authority or via an Independent Fostering agency);
  • A young person is deemed an eligible child within the meaning of paragraph 19B (2) of schedule 2 of the Children Act 1989 immediately before s/he reached eighteen;
  • The Staying Put arrangement is set out in the child’s pathway plan;
  • A proportion of the allowance paid to the Staying Put carers is paid by the Local Authority under section 23C of the Children Act 1989;
  • The Staying Put arrangement extends until the young person first leaves the arrangement or the young person reaches their 21st birthday or the young person completes the agreed programme of education or training being undertaken on their twenty first birthday, if continuously living in the arrangement since their eighteenth birthday.


5. "Staying Put" - Living Together Agreements

5.1 Young people, "Staying Put" carer(s), LAC social workers and supervising social workers should meet to develop a 'Staying Put 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. This agreement should acknowledge the shift in the young person's status from child in care to "excluded licensee" and the change in the carer's role from foster carer to Staying Put provider.
5.2 The agreement should cover:
  5.2.a Preparation for independence tasks;
  5.2.b Finance;
  5.2.c Income and benefit claims and money management;
  5.2.d Friends and partners visiting and staying at the address;
  5.2.e Staying away for nights/weekends and informing carers of movements;
  5.2.f Education, training and employment activities;
  5.2.g Health arrangements;
  5.2.h Moving-on arrangements;
  5.2.i Issues related to younger foster care children in the placement, safeguarding, role modelling and time keeping.
  A copy should be given to the provider and young person and a copy on Framework.


6. Funding

The total amount received by the Staying Put provider should be the equivalent of the basic fostering rate for 16/17 year olds and is made up of three elements – food/utilities, rent and support.

2015 Rates – rates to be reviewed annually in line with fostering allowance reviews:

  • A weekly sum of £70 will be paid by the young person to the provider for their rent;
  • A weekly sum of £30 will be paid by the young person to the provider for their food and utilities;
  • A weekly sum of £85 will be paid by Nottinghamshire County Council to the provider for support.

Education Extension Funding

Where young people turn 18 years of age and are in full time education, the placement will change to a Staying Put arrangement but the funding for the placement will stay the same until the young person completes the academic year in which they turned 18. If a young person is remaining in further education, the Leaving Care Service can ‘top up’ the staying put allowance to match the foster carer allowance to ensure no disruption to education. This is subject to Leaving Care Service Manager approval.

The Leaving Care Team will fund the basic fostering rate for 16/17 year olds.

Where young people are in Independent Fostering Placements, agency fees will not be paid but carers will receive their existing fees paid by the Leaving Care Team.

Any extension applies until the last Friday in July of that academic year or if the young person leaves the course whichever is sooner.

Where a young person completes an “A” level or equivalent course in July and is commencing a university course in the autumn term immediately following, the education extension funding will apply until the start of the university course.


7. Financial Issues for Staying Put Providers

Providers in receipt of benefits

Staying Put Allowances paid to the Staying Put providers by Children’s Social Care under S23(C) of the Children Act 1989 are disregarded when calculating the provider’s entitlement to means tested benefits. Any element of the payment from a source other than the S23(C) element is taken into account when calculating the impact on the providers own welfare benefit claims. Where this leads to a loss in benefits the Local Authority could make a compensatory payment from S23(C), which would be disregarded by the Department for Work and Pensions.

Tax Implications

The Qualifying Care Relief System covers Staying Put providers where they provide a Staying Put arrangement for a young person who was looked after immediately prior to the young persons 18th birthday. This can continue until the young person reaches the age of 21 years or completes a programme of education or training. A young person under 21 years does not have to be involved in education or training for the Qualifying Relief System to apply. See Appendix B: HMRC Factsheet HS236.

Council Tax

In circumstances where Staying Put providers Council Tax Benefit is effected by offering a Staying Put Arrangement, Children’s Social care will reimburse the deficit in order to minimise the financial impact on providers of providing such an arrangement so that the young person’s stability is not prejudiced.


8. Financial Issues for Young People

Young people in Staying Put arrangements will be expected to finance their food and utilities and rent through their own income.

A benefit check should be done with all young people to ensure that income is maximised. An entitlement to benefits such as Housing Benefit or Income Support should be considered and can be worked out using Benefit Calculators available on council websites. Housing Benefit claims must be supported with a Proof of Rent form (see Appendix C: Proof of Rent Form). Some Housing Benefit offices will ask for a Licence or Tenancy Agreement but usually Proof of Rent is sufficient.

Where young people do not qualify for Housing Benefit or to a reduced amount of benefit due to their level of income, consideration will be given to “topping up” rent to ensure that there is no disincentive to work. A young persons payment of rent and personal contribution should not make up more than one third of their net income.

Equation required – young persons earnings divided by one third minus the rent and personal contribution. If the final figure is a deficit or minus figure then this will be the top up needed. A surplus or plus amount means no top up will be paid.


9. Social Care and Regulatory Frameworks

Whilst fostering regulations no longer formally apply, when a young person reaches the age of 18 the following standards should continue to govern the expectations of the “Staying Put” arrangement:

  • All Staying Put providers to have access to a named contact within Children’s Social Care (either from the Fostering Service or 18+ Team). This named worker will be responsible for;
  • Informing the Staying Put Panel when there is a change of circumstances;
  • Annual Health and Safety checks. Appendix D: Health and Safety Checklist to be used as a checklist and a copy placed on the providers file.

It should be noted that 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 (this remains the responsibility of the case-holding social worker of any foster children aged under sixteen).


10. Staying Put Arrangement Flowchart

Click here to view the Staying Put Arrangement Flowchart


Appendix A: Staying Put Agreement

Click here to view Appendix A: Staying Put Agreement


Appendix B: HMRC Factsheet HS236

Click here to view Appendix B: HMRC Factsheet HS236


Appendix C: Proof of Rent Form

Click here to view Appendix C: Proof of Rent Form


Appendix D: Health and Safety Checklist

Click here to view Appendix D: Health and Safety Checklist


Appendix E: Information for Providers

Click here to view Appendix E: Information for Providers


Appendix F: Information for Young People

Click here to view Appendix F: Information for Young People

End