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5.7.7.a Child Friendly 'Staying Put Procedure'

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This chapter describes how, as a young person living in a foster placement, you now have the opportunity and choice to remain with your carers once you are 18 (and an adult) and if your carers are able to do this.

The chapter highlights when the ‘Staying Put’ scheme can be used, a little of what is expected of young adults who are in it and the advantages of it.

RELEVANT LINK

DfE, 16 to 19 Bursary Fund

This chapter was included in the manual in September 2014.


Contents

  1. Staying Put
  2. Can I ‘Stay Put’?


1. Staying Put

Staying Put’ means you can stay living with your foster carers if it is in your best interests once you have turned 18 with the agreement of your carers. You can ‘Stay Put’ if you are in education, training or employment. It also gives you the option to return to your former carers during holidays from university or if you are on leave from basic training with the armed services.

If you ‘Stay Put’ you are no longer legally ‘in care’ or ‘Looked After’ and fostering arrangements do not apply.

The aims of ‘Staying Put’ are to:

  • Help you carry on building your relationship with your carer so you can move to independence at your own pace, in a way similar to how you would be supported by your family;
  • Give you support and stability to help you achieve your best in education, training and employment.;
  • Listen to your views about when and how you should move to independence from your final placement.


2. Can I ‘Stay Put’?

You can ‘Stay Put’ if you need extra support or it is important in order to complete your education or training. The decision for you to ‘Stay Put’ needs to be agreed at your Review.

If you have additional needs, specific support may be available to help you ‘Stay Put’ once you are 18 if it is in your best interests. This will be discussed at your review. 

You can ‘Stay Put’ if, once you turn 18:
  • You were looked after immediately before your 18th birthday and you continue to live with your former foster carers;
  • Your carers were acting as foster carers immediately before your 18th birthday and the arrangements had been made either by Wirral Council or an independent fostering agency;
  • You asked the local authority for help after you returned home but the arrangements broke down immediately before turning 18;
  • ‘Staying Put’ is part of your Pathway Plan;
  • Wirral Council pay some of the allowance given to your carers.

When can I ‘Stay Put’ until?

You can ‘Stay Put’ until:

  • You leave your ‘Staying Put’ arrangements;
  • You reach your 21st birthday and you have lived there since you were 18;
  • You complete your planned programme of education or training that you were doing while you turned 21, if you have stayed living there since you were 18.

What happens at home once I decide to ‘Stay Put’?

Your foster carer will have to carry on having the right checks to make sure you and any foster children continue to live in a safe household.

If you have a job or income you will be expected to contribute to the ‘Staying Put’ arrangements, which replace the fostering allowance. This will be part of your preparation for adulthood and learning to manage your own money.

If you are not in education, training or employment your ‘Staying Put’ arrangements will be reviewed after three months.

What is in my Pathway Plan?

Your Pathway Plan or Living Together Agreement should cover things like:

  • Preparation for adulthood and doing things for yourself;
  • Finance, including things like having credit cards, loan agreements and mobile phone contracts registered at the address where you live;
  • 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;
  • Arrangements for your health and health care;
  • Arrangements for when you move on;
  • Issues related to younger foster care children in your household, such as staying safe, being a positive role model and time keeping.

Your ‘Staying Put’ arrangements will be reviewed at least once every six months. This will look at what is going well and also any problems that may have come up. You, your carers or any professionals can arrange a review before that time if it is needed.

Am I entitled to any help with money?

You may be entitled to means tested benefits once you turn 18. These are benefits that are given to you once you have been assessed to see what you need.

You may get help with things like:

  • Money if you do not have a job, are looking for a job, or are on a low income;
  • Food and milk vouchers, and other financial support for your child or children if you are a lone parent;
  • Financial support if you have a disability or need.

To find out more about what help you could get, speak to your Pathways worker or Staying Put Coordinator.

End