Camden Fostering Service

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1 Camden Fostering Service Staying put policy 1 Purpose of policy It is Camden s policy that looked after young people are only expected to move to independence when they are deemed to be ready for this step. This policy aims to provide a framework for making decisions to enable looked after young people to remain with their current foster carer after the age of 18 years and how these arrangements will be support this. 2 Eligibility criteria LAC can remain with their foster carer after 18 if: when they reach 18, they are still in Year 13 (A levels) or the third year of a BTEC course and need stability of placement in order to complete these courses or they are vulnerable and are therefore not ready to move to independence, needing further support from their carer to make the transition or they are disabled and are waiting to transfer to adult services and accommodation. 3 Young person s status and status of placement Once a looked after young person reaches 18, they will no longer be looked after and the placement will become an arrangement between Camden, the young person and the carer. Fostering regulations and care planning regulations will no longer apply. The young person will be occupying the foster home as lodger and the foster carer will become their landlord. 4 Forum for making decisions The LAC review held before the young person s 16 th birthday when the case is being transferred to the 16+ service should be the first opportunity to discuss whether a staying put arrangement will be needed if it looks likely that the young person will meet any of the criteria set out in section 2.

2 However, any subsequent review may make this recommendation where the criteria are met. The final decision will rest with the Principal Officer for Care Provision but any decision to extend the placement past 18 would have to be ratified by the Fostering Panel. Any on-going staying put arrangements should be reviewed on a 6 monthly basis at the Pathway Plan Reviews. 5 Procedures The needs assessment carried out as part of pathway planning should identify whether the young person will benefit from a staying put arrangement. Any updated assessment carried out as part of the pathway plan review process may also identify the need for a staying put arrangement. The LAC social worker should seek the views of the young person and discuss the matter with the allocated IRO. The supervising social worker should discuss a possible staying put arrangement with the foster carer and seek the views of the Fostering manager. If the foster placement is with a P&V agency, the Resource team - following approval from 16+ Service Team Managers - will be responsible for approaching the carer and their agency and negotiating costs and terms. 6 Factors to consider The carer and young person need to be aware that as the young person will no longer be looked after post 18, the basis of the relationship between the young person and the carer will change. Consideration should be given to the strength of their current relationship and the level of support the young person derives from the carer. The carer needs to be made aware of the financial implications as any money paid in support of the arrangement will be subject to tax and will affect the carer s entitlement to benefits. The changed relationship will also have implications for the carer s insurance liability. All these aspects need to be explored with the foster carer and their supervising social worker. Levels of payment for the placement will need to be set and the foster carer must agree to these. Also, discussion should take place around any contribution that can be made by the young person from earnings or benefits. Consideration should be given to how extending the placement will impact on the carer s terms of approval and whether other placements can go ahead.

3 The young person would need to be the subject of a DBS check where younger children are placed with the carer, and the carer s safe caring policy would need to be updated to take account of the changed status of the young person. 7 Financial implications Young people For young people remaining with their foster carer during Year 13 (A-levels) or final year BTEC year, 16+ Service will continue to fund the fostering allowance post their 18 th birthday until the end of June to cover the exam period. If they are going onto university that September/October the 16+ Service will pay a Staying Put Allowance of 150 a week for the summer period. Young people remaining with their foster carer because they are still in further education can claim benefits. Young people in full time further education can claim income support. Young people in part time education need to claim Job Seekers Allowance and seek part time employment. Young people who are eligible to claim benefits should be encouraged to do so: Housing benefit should be paid in full to the carer. Disability allowance must be retained by the young person. Young people who are UASC and are found to have no recourse to public funds will be supported by the 16+ team in line with the 16+ policy. This includes weekly subsistence for the young person and an agreed rent allowance to the carer. Young people who work will be expected to pay a contribution to the carer for their rent and maintenance. Where young people are disabled and awaiting a move to adult care arrangements, LAC social workers need to ensure that cases are referred to HASC prior to their 16 th birthday and agreement reached that HASC take on financial responsibility from the young person s 18 th birthday. Carers HMRC Advice sheet 236 sets out how staying put arrangements can be eligible for the same qualifying allowance with regard to taxable income as arrangements made for foster carers. HS236 - Qualifying care relief: Foster carers, adult placement carers, kinship carers and staying put carers (2012) Carers are paid 150 per week for supporting lodgings for up to a year under the staying put policy. Where young people are assessed as vulnerable and having additional support needs to be provided for by the foster carer, then a weekly

4 allowance can be negotiated to be paid directly to the carer and will be reviewed every 6 months. Young people in higher education Where a young person in higher education they are provided with an education grant from the 16+ Service at the start of each term, to cover their accommodation costs throughout the academic year, which includes all vacation periods. If a young person chooses to return to their carer then they need to agree what rent if any is payable. 8 Safeguarding and impact on the fostering household All staying put arrangements must be subject to a joint risk assessment carried out by the LAC social worker and the supervising social worker when the arrangements are first being considered. Any risk assessment will need to take into account the impact on other looked after children in the fostering household and the extent to which the staying put arrangements will affect the carer s terms of registration and ability to take on new placements. The outcome of this assessment must be shared with the Principal Officer for Care Provision and the Fostering panel prior to any decision on the arrangement. There is an expectation that a DBS check will be carried out by the supervising social worker on the young person prior to the staying put arrangements starting. An element of staying put arrangements is that the foster carer continues to support the young person to gain the necessary skills for independent living and this should remain a key part of the arrangement. 9 Moving on Staying put arrangements will last until: the young person has finished full-time education or until such time as they are considered ready to move to independence or they are transferred to an adult social care provision or they reach the age of 21. All arrangements may be ended by either the young person or the carer on at least 1months notice. 16+ workers must have a contingency plan in place in the event that arrangements are terminated at short notice.

5 Contact details Fostering Service Children, Schools and Families Camden Council Crowndale Centre 218 Eversholt Street London NW1 1BD. Tel: Fax:

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