The Care Matters White Paper contained a significant focus on improving the support for children preparing for adulthood including a pilot programme enabling young people to remain with their foster carers beyond the age of eighteen. To meet the commitments in the White Paper and the new duties towards care leavers in the Children and Young Persons Act 2008, new guidance and regulations relating to care leavers emphasise a more graduated approach to planning transition to adulthood. The average age of leaving home is rising and the transition to adulthood is increasingly becoming more complex and elongated. The “Staying Put” initiative and participating authorities have been working to pilot ways to extend children/young people’s transition to adulthood within a family and household supported environment. The intention being to ensure young people can remain with their former foster carers until they are prepared for adulthood, can experience a transition akin to their peers, avoid social exclusion and be more likely to avert a subsequent housing and tenancy breakdown.
Context: From the age of eighteen young people are no longer legally ‘in care’ or ‘looked after’ and therefore fostering arrangements and legislation relating to children placed with foster carers no longer applies. In circumstances where a young person remains with their former foster carer/s after their eighteenth birthday, the arrangement should therefore be deemed an ‘age eighteen and older arrangement’ or “Staying Put” arrangement. The term ‘arrangement’ should be used rather than placement; the term ‘placement’ denotes a situation where the local authority arranged and placed the child with a foster carer. Once the child reaches the age of eighteen and legal adulthood, the local authority is no longer making a placement, but facilitating a “Staying Put” arrangement for the young person.
Where possible, DfE, DWP and HMRC definitions and frameworks relating to “Staying Put” have been harmonized. However, given the complexity of the three different legislative frameworks relating to “Staying Put” arrangements, and the fact that some of the legislation does not cover all four countries in the United Kingdom, this has not been wholly possible.
Reference: HM Government. (2013). Staying Put: Arrangements for Care Leavers aged 18 and above to stay on with their former foster carers. London: DfE
A Staying Put arrangement is not the same as a foster placement. The young person staying put, who must be a former relevant child, is no longer a looked after child. They are a young adult and a care leaver. They are entitled to support as a care leaver and will be allocated a Personal Advisor. The foster carer is no longer acting in the capacity of foster carer for that young adult. They are their ‘former foster carer’. The foster placement becomes a ‘staying put arrangement’ and is not governed by Fostering Services Regulations.
This guidance outlines 'staying put' arrangements that enable care leavers to remain with their former foster carers after they turn 18. The aim of this guidance is to set out the different “Staying Put” frameworks and context i.e. arrangements where-by young people aged eighteen and older who were previously looked after remain living with their former foster carer/s (who may also remain a foster carer for younger children). The guidance sets out the Department for Education (DfE) context, followed by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) benefit related issues for both Foster/”Staying Put” carers and young people, and finally sets out the Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), Income Tax and National Insurance framework.
Guidance is updated as the Acts of parliament upon which they are based are amended (revised). The pdfs we reproduce here may not be the latest versions (they are included only to integrate the material into the site as a whole). The hyperlink below is the official/latest version;
Crown copyright material is reproduced here under the Open Government Licence for public sector information.