This chapter forms part of our Staying Put Guidance.
Staying put should be introduced as an option in the continuum of care for all children in care who are living in long-term foster care placements and for all those young people who enter the care system at the age of 15 and above.
Staying put should be incorporated in a timely way into care planning, and later the pathway planning process, and should be discussed at the start of a long-term fostering arrangement as part of the placement planning. Children and young people should be involved in all the decisions which impact on their care ensuring that they are clear about the options available to them when they reach the age of 18.
Post-18 arrangements for eligible children and young people should be discussed as part of the care planning process before the young person reaches the age of 16.
It is essential that all stakeholders are clear about roles and responsibilities to ensure that clear arrangements and good communications exist between all parties. As part of robust and early care planning there is a need to have separate discussions with both the young person and the foster carer to enable both parties to make an informed choice on post-18 arrangements. Wherever possible young people should be encouraged to consider staying put as their preferred choice. Staying put is part of the spectrum of care and foster carers need to be supported in being able to provide staying put care.
In those instances where a young person or a foster carer identify that staying put is not the “right choice/option” for them then alternative arrangements should be identified to ensure that the young person is supported as detailed in regulations and statutory guidance.
Care planning and pathway planning should consider all of the post-18 options available:
- staying put
- supported lodgings
- supported housing and foyers
- independent accommodation
- social housing
- privately rented housing
vacation accommodation for young people at university.
In addition to the above we recommend that staying put should be incorporated into foster carer training. Foster carers need to be clear about the expectations of them for post-18 arrangements including the skills required to support a young person in transition to adulthood.
Recommendations for fostering services:
- Staying put should be incorporated in a timely way into care planning, and later the pathway planning process, and should be discussed at the start of a long-term fostering arrangement as part of the placement planning.
- Staying put should be incorporated into foster carer training to ensure foster carers are clear about the expectations of them in supporting young people to transition to adulthood.