Guidance on ‘staying put’ foster care arrangements published
Guidance on ‘staying put’ foster care arrangements in England has been published by the Government.
All fostered young people now have the right to remain with their foster carers until the age of 21, after a change to the law was passed in March this year. Previously, many children in foster care left their foster carers on or before their 18th birthday.
The ‘Don’t Move Me’ campaign, organised by The Fostering Network, had pushed for a change to this situation. It claim the existing legislation had the effect of forcing some of society’s most vulnerable young people to leave home at the age of 17 – when the average age for leaving home across the UK is 24 years of age.
Revision of the Children Act Guidance and Regulations, in relation to ‘Planning transition to adulthood for care leavers’, now includes the following:
- Should both parties (young person and foster carer) express their wish to enter into a ‘staying put’ arrangement, and the local authority determines it to be appropriate, the authority must provide advice, assistance and support in order to establish a ‘staying put’ arrangement.
- Local authorities should pay former foster carers an allowance that will cover all reasonable costs of supporting the care leaver to remain living with them.
- It is important that local authorities provide clear information to their foster carers on the financial support they provide former foster carers in supporting young people in ‘staying put’ arrangements. By doing this it enables foster carers to decide and plan well in advance whether they wish to participate in a ‘staying put’ arrangements.
- 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 ‘staying put’ arrangement.
Joanne Sharples, Perpetual Fostering’s services manager, said: “This is incredibly exciting as it provides a sense of permanence and allows young people to maintain the family networks they have developed throughout their placement.
“This change also allows foster carers to remain part of the fabric of a young person’s life, and to provide support as they continue their life journey into adulthood.”
Joanne adds: “In preparation for this, the development of our Perpetual Choices Shared Lives scheme is well underway. This service is an exciting additional to our agency and will provide a continuum of high levels of care and the support opportunities to those young people moving into adulthood and also vulnerable adults’.
If you would like more information about becoming a Perpetual Choices Shared Lives scheme carer or foster carer please contact our team via the website or simply give us a call.