‘When I am Ready’ enables young people in foster care to continue living with their foster carers once they turn 18. It allows them to remain in a stable and nurturing family environment up to the age of 21, or up to age 25 if they are completing an agreed programme of education or training. It also provides them with the opportunity to develop their skills and confidence so they can make a successful transition to more independent living.
‘When I am Ready’ was set up by the Welsh Government in 2015 to prepare local authorities for their new legal duties under the Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Act. These new duties came into force in April 2016. Local authorities are required to set up local ‘When I am Ready’ schemes in line with the national guidelines set out in the Code of Practice relating to Part 6 of the Act.
The ‘When I am Ready’ scheme in Wales is similar in many respects to the ‘Staying Put’ scheme in England.
Young people who are over the age of 18 are no longer legally ‘in care’ or ‘looked after’ by the local authority. Therefore, fostering arrangements and legislation relating to children placed with foster carers no longer applies. Local authorities assisting these young adults are no longer making a foster ‘placement’, but are instead facilitating a ‘post-18 living arrangement’ for the young person. This means that the young person is effectively lodging in the home under an ‘excluded licensee’ agreement with their ‘When I am Ready’ carer, who technically becomes their landlord. However, the overriding principle is that it continues to be the young person’s home and that he or she remains a member of the family.
Reference: Cognition Associates. (2016). ‘When I am Ready’: Good practice guide. Cardiff: Welsh Government
This guide has been written primarily for practitioners involved in making and supporting ‘When I am Ready’ arrangements for young people leaving care. It sets out good practice and suggested approaches to setting up ‘When I am Ready’ arrangements, and to supporting young people and their carers who enter into such arrangements.
The guide supplements the statutory Code of Practice relating to Part 6 of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014. The code sets out a local authority’s legal responsibilities in respect of post-18 living arrangements for young people in foster care. Local authorities are required to set up local ‘When I am Ready’ schemes in line with the requirements in the code.
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