This chapter forms part of our Staying Put Guidance.
It is imperative that all stakeholders are clear regarding the roles, responsibilities and expectations of all parties in staying put arrangements. All local authorities in England should have a staying put policy which is published and accessible; all independent fostering providers should also publish their policies. Local authorities should ensure that all fostering services, foster carers and eligible young people are aware of their local staying put policy. The policy should clearly state the local authority’s approach and must be compliant with the statutory framework. This is the foundation upon which all support to young people and former foster carers is built.
Independent fostering providers occupy a unique position in that staying put policies they produce will need to consider and incorporate the principles of the local authorities with which they are contracted to provide fostering placements and staying put arrangements. Policies need to be both robust and flexible ensuring that the requirements of the statutory framework are met while being responsive to the needs of young people and their former foster carers. The policy should ensure that all parties are clear in respect of the responsibilities and levels of support that will be available to both the young person and the former foster carer.
Recommendations for fostering services
- We recommend that a former foster carer should be supported by their supervising social worker (whether local authority or independent fostering provider) when they move to a staying put arrangement.
- Local authorities and independent fostering providers will be required to have joint protocols (working together agreements) that are equitable and fair. The statutory guidance advises that: ‘Local authorities should have discussion with independent fostering providers at an early stage regarding the option of a staying put arrangement. This discussion should include the amount of allowance the local authority will pay the former foster carer.’