SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER
These procedures apply to young people who are or have been in care and are entitled to support after their 16th birthday.
There are three categories of those leaving care all of whom are entitled to support after their 16th birthday. The categories are Eligible, Relevant, and Former Relevant.
These Procedures also refer to Qualifying Young People who may receive support, advice and assistance after their 16th birthday.
N.B. The position in relation to care leavers who are failed asylum seekers is complex, as there will be different circumstances for each young person. If in doubt, legal advice should be taken in relation to individual cases.
Department for Education webpage on Children Leaving Care, which has links to several related pieces of guidance/information.
This chapter has been updated in line with Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations - Volume 3: Planning Transition to Adulthood for Care Leavers (revised January 2015). New information has been added in relation to new Section 6, Education, Training and Employment and Appendix 1: Needs Assessment and Content of Pathway Plans for Relevant and Former Relevant Children is also new.
- Leaving Care Assessment of Need
- Pathway Planning
- Reviews of Pathway Plans
- Personal Advisors
- Education, Training and Employment
- Qualifying Young People
- Where Care Leavers Live or Move to a Different Local Authority Area
- Staying Put
- Access to Records
- Appendix 1: Needs Assessment and Content of Pathway Plans for Relevant and Former Relevant Children
Normally the definitions relating to Keywords are found by accessing the Keywords Appendix, but a number of the terms used in this procedure are specific to it; therefore they have also been summarised below;
Eligible Young People
They are aged 16 or 17, have been Looked After for a period or periods totalling at least 13 weeks starting after their 14th birthday and are still in care. (This total does not include a series of pre-planned short-term placements of up to four weeks where the child has returned to the parent).
The Local authority has the same statutory obligations in relation to eligible young people as they do towards other young people looked after by them. There are additional statutory duties and requirements, in relation to preparing an assessment and Pathway Plan and appointing a Personal Advisor.
The statutory definition and requirements to undertake a needs assessment, prepare a Pathway Plan, keep the Pathway Plan under review and appoint a Personal Advisor are now covered by Regulations 42, 43 and 44 of the Care Planning, Placement and Case Review Regulations 2010.
Relevant Young People
They are aged 16 or 17 and are no longer Looked After, having previously been in the category of Eligible Young Person when in care. However, if after leaving care, a young person returns home for a period of 6 months or more to be cared for by a parent and the return home has been formally agreed as successful, he or she will no longer be a "Relevant Young Person".
A young person is also "Relevant" if, having been in care for three months or more, he or she on reaching 16 is detained in a hospital, remand centre, young offenders' institution or secure training centre. There is a duty to support Relevant Young People up to the age of 18, wherever they are living.
The statutory definition and requirements to stay in touch with the young person, undertake a needs assessment (unless this was done when the young person was 'Eligible'), prepare and keep the Pathway Plan under review, appoint a Personal Advisor (unless this was done when the young person was 'Eligible') and provide accommodation and assistance to meet his or her needs in relation to education, training or employment are now covered by Regulations 4 to 9 of the Care Leavers (England) Regulations 2010.
Relevant young people who are lone parents, and some who have a disability, will still be able to claim benefits, but not housing benefit. For all other purposes of the Act they will be considered to be relevant.
Former Relevant Young People
They are aged 18 to 21 (or up to 25 if they remain engaged in education or training and continue until the end of the agreed programme as set out in their pathway plan or resume a programme of education or training after 21) and have left care having been previously either "Eligible", "Relevant" or both. There is a duty to consider the need to support these young people wherever they are living.
The statutory definition and requirements to stay in touch with the young person, keep the Pathway Plan under review, continue the appointment of a Personal Advisor and provide financial assistance near where the young person is employed or seeking employment/to enable the young person to pursue education or training remain unchanged they are now covered by Regulations 4 to 9 of the Care Leavers (England) Regulations 2010. These duties continue until the young person becomes 21 or, where the Pathway Plan sets out a programme of education or training beyond 21, they continue so long as the young person pursues the programme. The duty to pay a higher education bursary and vacation accommodation also continues, as before.
The duties of Local Authorities are extended in relation to Former Relevant Young People who inform the Local Authority of their wish to take up a programme of education or training after the age of 21 and under the age of 25. In relation to these young people, the Local authority has a duty to:
In this context, the definition of a programme of education or training must be interpreted broadly. For example, this might include options such as: completion of literacy skills, so that the young person has the numeracy and literacy skills needed to compete in the job market or participation in vocational training and apprenticeships.
The duties of the Local Authority subsist for as long as the young person pursues the programme of education or training in accordance with the Pathway Plan, and the Local Authority may disregard any interruption in the education/training if it is satisfied that the young person will resume it as soon as is reasonably practicable.
In each case where a care leaver requests this support, the Local Authority will need to assess the appropriateness of the course and how it will help the young person to achieve his or her ambitions. The extent of the practical and financial assistance provided will reflect the type of course, whether full- or part-time, and the young person's existing income.
Qualifying Young People
They are over the age of 16 and under the age of 21, (or up to 24 if in full-time further or higher education), and have been Looked After or, if disabled, have been Privately Fostered after reaching 16, but do not qualify as Eligible, Relevant or Former Relevant. They may receive support, advice and assistance wherever they are living. If in full-time further or higher education, this may include assistance in relation to securing vacation accommodation. They may also qualify if they are the subject of a Special Guardianship Order (SGO) and were Looked After immediately before the SGO was made.
Any decision to cease looking after a child aged 16 or 17 who is Looked After other than by virtue of a Care Order, must be approved by the Director of Children's Services. The Director must be satisfied that:
A Personal Adviser is the person appointed to work with every Looked After young person, on the young person's 16th birthday, and will occupy a key role in providing support to the young person after he or she leaves care. Derby City Council has a specialist Leaving Care Team who will appoint specialist leaving care workers to act as personal advisor to young people when they leave care. Specialist leaving care personal advisors can also be allocated to eligible young people who are looked after, in some individual circumstances and they will work alongside the allocated case manager from the Children in Care Service.
A Personal Advisor will be allocated to Eligible, Relevant or Qualifying young people on or near their 16th Birthday. Specialist leaving care personal advisors can also be allocated to eligible young people who are looked after, in some individual circumstances and they will work alongside the allocated case manager from the Children in Care Service.
Allocation of specialist leaving care personal advisors to looked after young people will be in time scales that allow for a relationship to develop between the young person and specialist personal advisor well before the young person leaves care.
The Personal Adviser will hold a pivotal role in the planning and review of services as set out in the Pathway Plan, and will co-ordinate with other agencies as necessary.
The extent to which the Personal Advisor becomes the main source of advice and support to the young person will vary according to individual circumstances.
Care is demonstrated when matching leaving care personal advisors to young people, combined with the flexibility to change worker if the young person requests it.
The Pathway Plan sets out the route to the future for young people leaving care and will state how their needs will be met in their path to independence. The plan will continue to be implemented and reviewed after they leave care at least until they are 21; and up to 25 if in education.
2. Leaving Care Assessment of Need
All Young People - Eligible, Relevant or Former Relevant - must receive a multi-agency assessment of their needs as to the advice, assistance and support they will need when leaving care.
The young person's social worker will be responsible for coordinating the Needs Assessment, Pathway Plan Part 1.
This assessment should be completed no more than 3 months after the young person's 16th birthday or after the young person becomes Eligible or Relevant if this is later. The timetable must take account of any forthcoming exams and avoid disrupting the young person's preparation for them.
The young person's Care Plan together with information from the most recent Single Assessment will form the basis of the Needs Assessment.
The young person's social worker will be responsible for recording the assessment information and conclusions as well as the outcome of any meetings held. The young person must be invited to any meetings held in connection with the assessment.
The Needs Assessment should take account of the views of the following:
- The young person;
- The parents;
- The current carer;
- The school/college and the education service;
- Any Independent Visitor;
- Any person providing health care or treatment for the young person;
- The Personal Advisor;
- Any other relevant person including, in the case of a young person with special needs, a representative from Adult Services.
A decision not to include significant people must be recorded in the young person's file.
Young people with particular language or communication needs should be provided throughout the process with appropriate interpretation, translation or advocacy support.
Where the young person refuses to engage in the assessment process, this should be recorded, together with any actions taken to ascertain the young person's views.
All parties, including the social worker's manager, should sign the completed Needs Assessment Record. The young person should be provided with a copy in a format that is accessible to him or her within 2 weeks. The social worker is responsible for ensuring that the outcome of the assessment is explained to the young person.
The Needs Assessment will inform the development of a Pathway Plan which complements and forms part of the young person's Care Plan.
Where the young person continues to be Looked After, the Placement Information Record should describe what arrangements have been made within the placement to support the Pathway Plan.
When carrying out an assessment of needs, the local authority must determine whether it would be appropriate to provide advice, assistance and support to facilitate a Staying Put arrangement. Where they determine that it would be appropriate, and where the child and the local authority foster parent wish to make a Staying Put arrangement, then the local authority must provide such advice, assistance and support to facilitate a Staying Put arrangement. For further information see the Staying Put Policy.
For further information see Appendix 1: Needs Assessment and Content of Pathway Plans for Relevant and Former Relevant Children.
3. Pathway Planning
All young people will have a Pathway Plan in place within 3 months of becoming Eligible and, wherever possible, a Pathway Plan will be in place by the young person's 16th birthday.
The Pathway Plan will replace a young person's Care Plan and any Personal Education Plan or Connexions Plan will inform and complement the Pathway Plan.
Each young person will be central to drawing up their own Pathway Plan setting the goals and identifying how the local authority will help meet them, including any services being provided in respect of the young person's disability or needs arising from being in custody or as a result of entering the country as an unaccompanied asylum seeker. Young people with particular language or communication needs should be provided throughout the process with appropriate interpretation, translation or advocacy support.
The Pathway Plan must clearly identify the roles of each person who has a part to play in supporting the care leaver.
The Pathway Plan should also include:
- The plan for the young person's continuing education or training when he/she ceases to be looked after - where the young person is no longer of statutory school age, the Pathway Plan may need to incorporate the goals and actions that were previously included in the PEP;
- How the Responsible Local Authority will assist the young person in obtaining employment or other purposeful activity or occupation, taking into account his/her aspirations, skills and educational potential;
- The financial support to be provided to enable the young person to meet accommodation and maintenance costs; taking into account his/her financial capabilities and money-management capacity, along with strategies to develop skills in this area;
- The nature and level of contact and personal support to be provided, and by whom, to the young person;
- Details of the accommodation the young person is to occupy (including an assessment of its suitability in the light of the young person's needs, and details of the considerations taken into account in assessing that suitability);
- Details of the arrangements made by the Responsible Local Authority to meet the young person's needs in relation to his or her identity, with particular regard to their religious persuasion, racial origin and cultural and linguistic background.
The Pathway Plan must address in particular:
- The young person's health and development building on the information included in the young person's Health Care Plan;
- Education, training and employment. The Personal Education Plan (PEP) should continue to be maintained while the young person continues to receive full or part-time education. Information within the PEP will feed directly into the Pathway Plan. Pathway Plans must have an explicit focus on career planning, taking into account the young person's aspirations, skills, and educational potential;
- Contact with the young person's parents, wider family including siblings and friends and the capacity of this network to encourage the young person and enable them to make a positive transition to adulthood;
- The young person's financial capabilities and money management capacity, along with strategies to develop the young person's skills in this area.
The Pathway Plan must identify contingency arrangements that will come into effect to support the young person if, for whatever reason, the planned arrangements are not realised.
The local authority should have a flexible approach to supporting young people; It should be borne in mind that the it has a duty to accept young people aged 16 and 17 yrs back in to care if a young person's decision to move into semi-independent accommodation, leave care or decline leaving care services is then identified as premature.
A Financial Summary should be detailed in the Plan, at the latest from the point where the young person leaves care.
Where a transfer from Children's to Adult Services will be required, the Plan should specify who has responsibility for giving notice to Adult Services and liaising with them to ensure a smooth transition.
The Designated Manager (Children in Care) should approve and sign the Pathway Plan for eligible young people.
On completion and approval of the Pathway Plan, all parties involved including the young person should sign it.
The direct payment form should be forwarded to the Finance Section who will process the necessary weekly payments. However, flexible arrangements for weekly cash payments can be really helpful for young people who struggle with budgeting. They can also be of benefit if used with young people who are struggling to engage in education, training or employment or those likely to disengage from the service.
The young person will be provided with a copy of the most up to date Pathway Plan and the contents must be explained.
The young person will have a say about with whom the Pathway Plan will be shared when they leave care. If information is to be shared with a person or agency that the young person has not consented to, s/he must be informed of this, with reasons, and be given the opportunity to challenge this decision and to be present when the information is shared.
For Former relevant care leavers consent to share information will be sought in accordance with Data Protection legislation.
Those who have a role in implementing the plan should have a copy of the Pathway Plan, at least, of the part relating to their contribution.
4. Reviews of Pathway Plans
The Pathway Plan must be reviewed at least every 6 months.
Reviews should take place more often if requested by the young person or the Personal Adviser or where there has been a significant change in the young person's circumstances.
The purpose of the review is to check that the goals and milestones are still right and that they are being met. All levels of support should be reviewed to ensure that they are adequate and delivered according to plan.
For an Eligible Young Person, the date for the first review of the Pathway Plan will be set to coincide with the young person's next Looked After Review after the Pathway Plan has been drawn up.
For a Relevant Young Person, the date for the first review will, if possible, be set at the last Looked After Review before the young person ceases to be looked after and in any case within six months of becoming a relevant young person.
For a Former Relevant Young Person, the date for the first review will take place within six months of the young person's 18th birthday.
Whilst the young person is Eligible his or her Independent Reviewing Officer will chair reviews or support the young person to chair.
The review immediately prior to the young person's 18th birthday will agree how future reviews will be conducted, including whether they will involve face to face meetings, and this will be recorded by the Chairperson. In all cases, even when no formal review meetings are held, the Team Manager of the Leaving Care Service will retain a monitoring role, at six monthly intervals, to check the progress of the Pathway Plan.
Other participants at reviews should include the young person, Personal Advisor, the social worker (if the case is still allocated) and any other significant person.
The young person's expenses (travelling and subsistence) in attending the review will be met by the local authority.
If the Relevant Young Person or Former Relevant Young Person moves to 'unregulated' accommodation (i.e. accommodation that is not regulated/inspected by OFSTED), the Local Authority must:
- Arrange a review 28 days (or as soon as practicable thereafter) from the time the accommodation is provided; and
- Determine at what intervals (not exceeding six months) subsequent reviews will be carried out;
- Reviews should be brought forward where there is an assessed risk that a crisis may develop in a young person's life, for example:
- Where a young person has been charged with an offence and there is a possibility of their being sentenced to custody, which will risk losing their accommodation;
- Where a young person is at risk of being evicted from his or her accommodation or otherwise threatened with homelessness;
- Where professionals are concerned about the parenting capacity of a 'Relevant' or 'Former Relevant' young person with there being a possibility that their own child may need to be the subject of a multi-agency safeguarding plan;
- Where a young person requests a review.
Matters to which the Local Authority is to have regard in determining suitability of accommodation (under Schedule 2 to the Care Leavers Regulations 2010 and Schedule 6 of the Care Planning, Placement and Case Review Regulations 2010):
- In respect of the accommodation:
- The facilities and services provided;
- The state of repair;
- The safety;
- The location;
- The support;
- The tenancy status; and
- The financial commitments involved for the relevant young person and their affordability.
- In respect of the Relevant young person:
- His or her views about the accommodation;
- His or her understanding of their rights and responsibilities in relation to the accommodation; and
- His or her understanding of funding arrangements.
It is good practice for a review to be held within 28 days of any change in the care leaver's accommodation.
Note: Bed and Breakfast Accommodation is not considered as suitable accommodation other than in exceptional circumstances. On such occasions:
Where a Relevant or Former Relevant Young Person enters custody, pathway planning must continue. The young person must be visited on a regular basis and it is good practice for the first visit to take place within ten working days. The role must not be fulfilled by a YOS worker. The Local Authority must liaise with the YOS or Probation Provider to support the young person emotionally, practically and financially while in custody. A review of the Pathway Plan should be carried out at least a month before the young person's release to give sufficient time to plan for his or her resettlement, including identifying suitable accommodation where the young person's placement had to be given up or has been lost and identifying who will collect the young person and the sources of support after his or her release.
In the event of a Relevant or Former Relevant Young Person breaking off contact and/or not engaging with the agreed support and advice being offered, a review of the Pathway Plan may take place by telephone, e-mail or letter, if agreed in advance by the Chairperson and the Personal Advisor. In these circumstances the Personal Advisor will attempt to negotiate a revised plan that is acceptable to all parties.
Where contact is lost, the emphasis of the Pathway Plan Review will switch to record how attempts will be made to re-establish contact and these efforts will be reviewed within the established system.
A route back for the young person to seek support in the future should be kept open and communicated, for example by sending birthday cards and appropriate festive greetings, and ensuring that the young person receives any circulated information about services or events in which they may have an interest.
Where a Pathway Plan is amended as a result of a review, the Personal Advisor will amend the Plan. Any necessary approval to the amended financial arrangements will be sought from the Designated Manager (Children in Care or Leaving Care). Once the changes are approved, the Personal Advisor will send a copy of the amended Plan to the young person, the Chairperson and the Designated Manager.
5. Personal Advisors
The Personal Advisor acts as the young person's principal source of contact in any matter relating to the Pathway Plan and is accountable for the effective implementation of the Plan.
The Personal Advisor will ensure the co-ordination of other agencies and individuals identified in the Pathway Plan and 'act as a focal point' to make sure the young person has access to the appropriate services, including those provisions to enable them to develop some financial management capability.
It is the role of the Personal Advisor to keep in touch with the young person and to remain informed as to the young person's progress. The Personal Advisor must maintain a written record of their contacts with the young person, monitoring the effectiveness of services in preparing the young person for a time when they will move to greater independence or when they cease to be looked after. When a care leaver moves to new accommodation, the Personal Advisor must see them at that accommodation within 7 days of the move. They need also to be seen when the pathway plan will be first reviewed, namely 28 days after the move.
On each visit the Personal Advisor must consider whether the accommodation continues to be suitable for the young person. Visits should be scheduled to take place at the accommodation where the young person lives.
Personal advisors must be in regular face to face contact with every care leaver they support. After the 7 and 28 day minimum visits should be no less than 2 monthly. It is important to understand that theses are the minimum requirements. Where care leavers develop problems as they assume the responsibilities of adulthood they should expect, and will require, much more frequent personal contact with their PA.
The Personal Advisor will take responsibility for initiating the review of the Pathway Plan and for recording its outcomes.
The Personal Advisor is seen as a 'function' rather than a specific person and the local authority should consider delegating it wholly or partially to the best person able to carry out the role out (see Part 3, Regulation 8 of the Care Leavers (England) Regulations).
The Personal advisor should be someone who is best able engage with the young person and motivate them to take up, and best make use of, the services that are available and provided.
It would be good practice were possible and appropriate for the Personal Advisor to maintain the same person from 18 years from when they were an Eligible or Relevant child. As Eligible and Relevant children are allocated a Personal Advisor at 16, Derby City Council aims to provide the same Personal Advisor right through until they reach 21 or 25 if still in some form of Education and Training. However, this will not always be possible, although the Personal Advisor should have the necessary skills and experience to carry out the function. The transfer of the role should be undertaken in a planned and managed way.
When allocating a Personal Advisor to an individual young person, consideration must be given to the wishes of the young person and to issues of gender, race, religion, linguistics, disabilities and equal opportunities. The assessment of need and a judgment as to who is most appropriate to fulfil the role of Personal Advisor will influence the choice and allocation of worker.
Care leavers under the age of 25 who wish to take up a programme of education or training will have an entitlement to resume support from a Personal Advisor previously responsible for their leaving care support.
6. Education, Training and Employment
6.1 Planning for Education, Training and Careers
Care leavers must be provided with access to high quality information, advice and guidance to inform their plans in order to progress into continuing education, training or employment. How this will be met should be included in the Pathway Plan. They should be offered work experience and other opportunities to allow them to test their career aspirations and needs. Career planning tools should be used to inform Pathway Plans.
The local authority should make every effort not to disrupt a young person's education during their key stage 4 years, both in terms of their school and care placement unless the circumstances clearly require this (see also Education of Looked After Children, Avoidance of Disruption in Education).
Placement arrangements for young people considering attending university, from their 18th birthday to the point they commence higher education courses, must be addressed and agreed well in advance of their 18th birthday. Plans need to be made for the vacation breaks. The local authority should not move a young person participating in a course of education during the academic year after their 18th birthday.
6.2 Care Leavers Continuing in Education
Where young people are continuing with an education or training course beyond their 21st birthday, the practical and financial support being provided must continue to be set out in their Pathway Plan.
Pathway Plans must set out accommodation arrangements, including financial arrangements during term time, short vacations and the long summer vacation.
6.3 The 16-19 Bursary Fund and Higher Education Bursary
The 16-19 Bursary Fund helps 16-19 year olds continue in further education, where they might face financial barriers to participation such as the cost of transport, food or equipment. Young people in the defined group include those in care and care leavers. See the Department for Education website/The 16-19 Bursary Fund.
The Higher Education Bursary is for care leavers in higher education.
6.4 Young People Resuming Education or Training After 21
Young people previously eligible for leaving care services resuming programmes of education or training after the age of 21 are entitled to continuing support from a Personal Advisor.
The definition of a programme of education or training must be interpreted broadly. For example, this might include options such as: completion of a basic skills course, so that the young person has the numeracy and literacy skills needed to compete in the jobs market; take up of a course of further education; take up of a university place; support to enable the young person to complete a recognised postgraduate qualification; or participation in vocational training and apprenticeships.
Where a care leaver requests this support, an assessment should be made to assess the appropriateness of the education or training course and how it will help them to achieve their ambitions. The leaving care team should meet with the young person and, based on the assessment of their needs and the suitability of the course, assign a Personal Advisor to participate in the preparation of a Pathway Plan. The plan should reflect the agreed educational outcomes for the young person and the type of support the young person will require. This assessment should draw on the information about the young person's skills and capabilities which will have been set out in Pathway Plans up to age 21. The extent of practical and financial assistance provided will depend on the assessment of the young person's needs and will reflect the type of course, whether it is full or part time and the young person's existing income.
All care leavers (including those who live out of authority) should be made aware of their entitlement to a Personal Advisor up to age 25 if they wish to return to education and training, including by the provision of information (beg a letter or leaflet) on how to get in touch in the future. It should be explained to them that they will be supported to overcome difficulties so that they can return to education or training up to age 25 if this is their wish. In particular, all young people who are not in education, employment, or training (NEET) should be encouraged to take up this offer of support.
This entitlement to resume the pathway planning process and a support relationship with a Personal Advisor starts from the time the young person informs the local authority of their intention to resume their education or training and ends with the completion of the course. This may include the need for continuing assistance where young people seek support to complete a series of education/training opportunities. Young people do not need to have decided what education or training they would like to pursue. In such cases, the Personal Advisor should help the young person identify the options best suited to them.
Care leavers will need support and guidance to help them think about and plan their return to education or training, consider all aspects such as financial support and impact on housing or benefits. The re-instated Pathway Plan must have a specific focus on the support that the care leaver will need to be able to meet the education or training goals agreed.
7. Qualifying Young People
Services for Qualifying Young People will be determined by an assessment of need carried out by the Leaving Care Team.
The support offered, which could be financial, will focus upon helping the young person to manage and cope in the community and to manage the transition to adulthood. Attempts will be made to ensure that they are able to access suitable accommodation and maintain social and family links.
Where necessary, in addition to support, practical help should be offered to the young person. This could include helping to acquire basic living skills and consideration of health needs and choices. Where necessary, links will be made with other services and assistance can be provided when he or she has to have contact with other agencies. Advice and support should also be offered in relation to employment, training and educational opportunities.
Where a Qualifying Young Person accesses education, or training, financial assistance, this will be possible to the age of 24. This will ensure that he or she is able to take advantage of the opportunities being offered.
The young person's allocated worker should also help to identify, secure and pay for vacation accommodation, for those qualifying young people who have accessed higher education, or residential further education courses.
Approval for the provision of such financial support must be sought by the young person's allocated worker by making a written request to the Designated Manager (Leaving Care).
The request should specify the type of financial support sought, the reason for the request and the total cost involved.
8. Where Care Leavers Live or Move to a Different Local Authority Area
Where a care leaver resides in a different local authority area, the local authority must seek to ensure that a service is provided that is commensurate with the service which he or she would receive if he or she had remained resident in the area. It is good practice for local authorities to host for the parent authorities however this is not a legal requirement and is not currently standard practice.
Whenever possible, plans for movement of care leavers to a different local authority area must be discussed and the level of service provision agreed with the host authority concerned prior to the move taking place.
All care leavers should be advised on how to access care leavers' services if they move to a different local authority area and need assistance. The advice provided should be in written form.
With young people moving to other authorities, it is good practice for a discussion and joint meeting between the respective Looked after or Leaving care Teams be arranged.
9. Staying Put
Under the Care Leavers (England) Regulations 2010 and Planning Transition into Adulthood for Care Leavers Guidance, the Local Authority must provide information about extending placements post-18, covering:
- The criteria for such extensions;
- How extending placements will impact on the allowances provided by the Local Authority and whether other funding, e.g. funding for housing related support, will contribute to meeting placement costs;
- Any financial contributions from the young person from their wages, salary, benefits or educational allowances;
- How the income tax, national insurance and welfare benefits situation of carers may be affected by post-18 payments;
- Insurance issues including liability and household;
- The impact on foster carers' fostering registration limits and status;
- Safeguarding arrangements including DBS checks on over 18 year olds and issues relating to fostered children in households.
Young People in Residential Care
Young people may also 'stay put' in children's homes or other residential settings, although they are unlikely to be able to remain beyond the age of 18, unless there is a designated move-on accommodation linked to the residential care setting.
Young People in Foster Care
For a young person living in foster care, the first Looked After Review following his or her 16th birthday should consider whether a Staying Put placement should be an option. This will entail assessing the implications for both the young person and the foster carer.
Following the young person's 18th birthday, the legal basis on which they occupy the property (former foster home) changes (the legal term is that the young person becomes an 'excluded licensee' lodging in the home) - this should not denote that the young person will be treated differently than they were as a fostered child.
Procedures should be agreed at the outset about how any wish by the carer to bring the arrangements to an end should be managed.
While Fostering Regulations will no longer legally apply to these arrangements, key standards should continue to govern the expectations of the placement when the young person reaches 18. These may be:
- Yearly reviews of the carer(s);
- Reassessment and re-registration every 3 years;
- New DBS checks every 3 years on all adult members of the household, regular visitors and children of the carers aged 16 and over;
- Health and safety checks;
- Regular supervision from the social worker;
- Attending required training.
The Local Authority will need to assess individual circumstances and consider the appropriateness of all of these checks particularly where the young person is the only person placed/living with their carer/s and it is not envisaged that further children will be placed.
For further information see theStaying Put Policy.
All those eligible for support under these procedures and qualifying young people over the age of 16 have access to the Complaints and Representations Procedure. Most care leavers are able to have access to the 14 – day Informal-Resolution Stage in the complaint process.
11. Access to Records
Over the course of their lifetime, people who have spent all or part of their childhood and adolescence in local authority care may want to access information about this period in their lives. There can be a range of reasons why people who have left care want to do this, including curiosity about why they came into care; what happened and when; a need to make sense of difficult memories and life events; to clarify disparate explanations; a desire to trace family members; seeking medical information in reference to hereditary illness/disease and also to obtain photos/certificates. For information on access to records by care leavers.