Legal definition of staying put

This definition of staying put forms part of our Staying Put Guidance.

A staying put arrangement has a specific meaning in legislation. It refers to the situation when a young person, who has been looked after for a total of at least 13 weeks since the age of 14, remains living with the foster carer with whom they were placed when they turned 18. It is an arrangement based upon both parties, that is the young person and the foster carer(s), expressing the wish to enter into such an arrangement when a young person becomes 18.  As stated in the good practice guide: ‘ultimately it is the young person and their foster carer who make the joint decision to establish the arrangement. This is based on their commitment to each other, and applies in the same way whether the foster carer is approved by a local authority or by an independent fostering provider’.

Staying put is referred to as an ‘arrangement’ to differentiate it from a foster ‘placement’. The young person staying put is no longer a looked after child after they reach 18 years of age. They are a young adult and a care leaver. They are entitled to support as a care leaver up to the age of 25 and will be allocated a personal advisor. A staying put arrangement is governed by the care leavers’ legislation and statutory guidance rather than the fostering services regulations.