This chapter forms part of our Staying Put Guidance.
It is essential that the local authority and independent fostering provider staying put policy details how foster placements become staying put arrangements.
The care leavers’ guidance recommends that a ‘living together agreement’ should be drawn up and agreed by all parties – that is the young person, the young person’s social worker or personal adviser, the staying put carer, and the foster carer’s supervising social worker - before a staying put arrangement goes ahead. However, the level of detail needed will vary depending on the individual circumstances and relationship between the young person and the carer(s).
The good practice guide stresses the need for the approach to drawing up a written agreement to be ‘sensitive to the feelings of those involved and proportionate to their particular circumstances.’
‘Young people should already know the family’s ground rules: if they don’t then that’s a problem.’ Young person
It is essential that the young person and their former foster carer understand what the living together agreement is for, its scope, who is responsible for the different elements of the agreement and that it is realistic and achievable.
The living together agreement needs to consider and include the following:
- Ground rules of household, for example friends/partners visiting, staying away, role modelling to other household members, development of skills required for independent living.
- Individual responsibilities of the young person, the staying put carer(s), the local authority social worker and/or personal adviser and the independent fostering provider.
- Finances – income and/or benefits for both the young person and the staying put carer.
- Provision of advice, support and assistance to the young person and the staying put carer, including where appropriate supporting documentation.
- Duration and review of the agreement.
Agreements regarding how to manage ending a staying put arrangement.
Recommendations for fostering services:
- All parties should be involved in developing the living together agreement.
- The agreement needs to be realistic and achievable, and all parties need to understand who is responsible for what.