The Welsh Government has published good practice guidance for the When I am Ready scheme, under which foster carers are supported to keep care leavers living with them after they turn 18. The guidance is to be read in conjunction with the statutory Code of Practice relating to Part 6 of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014.
The guidance contains clear information about how fostering services should support foster carers financially. It is thanks to The Fostering Network’s campaigning that this requirement was written into the law.
The guidance states: 'The rate of the "When I am Ready" allowance is set by the local authority and should cover all reasonable costs of supporting the young person to remain living with their carer...The Welsh Government recommends that the financial support given to ‘When I am Ready’ carers should amount to the same as the National Minimum Allowances paid to foster carers. The provisions in the Act allow for a degree of flexibility, permitting the local authority to respond to the particular needs and circumstances of the carer, young person and family household.'
Maria Boffey, from The Fostering Network Wales, said: 'We have heard from some foster carers, particularly those working with Independent Fostering Providers (IFPs), that their payments post-18 are reduced to the extent that they feel unable to enter into a When I am Ready arrangement. Going forward we want to see clear protocols in place between IFPs and local authorities that set out a framework for how foster carers can be supported financially to ensure this new duty is a success for all fostered children in Wales.'