Understanding ‘Staying Put’ arrangements in foster care
Emily is Perpetual Fostering’s Youth Ambassador
It is a common misconception that when a young person in foster care reaches a certain age their support network gets cut off. The transition out of foster care is actually a very complex process and aims to ensure that the young person involved has as much support as possible.
The age of leaving home among the general population is currently rising and this factor has been taken into account when it comes to leaving foster care.
On the 13th May 2014, a ‘Staying Put’ policy was introduced by local authorities as part of the Children and Families Act 2014. This Staying Put arrangement has to be facilitated, supported and monitored by local authorities in England until the fostered young person reaches the age of 21.
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The main goal of the policy, and guidance provided alongside this, is to ensure that there is an arrangement in place that will allow a young person’s foster care placement to be extended beyond their 18th birthday.
In this arrangement, the young person is considered a young adult and a care leaver rather than a looked after child. The young person is entitled to support as a care leaver and a personal adviser will be provided for the care leaver to ensure that their transition into independence is as smooth as possible.
The ‘Planning Transition to Adulthood for Care Leavers guidance’ has been updated by the DfE so that it is now relevant to Staying Put. This will help local authorities and foster carers plan how to create a Staying Put arrangement.
The Staying Put policy will hopefully be able to help young people experience a transition from foster care to independence that is based not just on age alone but also on the needs of the young person in question.