New guidance has been produced to show how health professionals can best support the revised ‘Staying Put’ arrangements, which allow children in foster care to remain in their placements until age 21.
Commenting on the new legislation, Children and Families Minister Edward Timpson (pictured) said: “I know from the many foster children I grew up with how crucial it is that they have sufficient time to prepare for life after care. That’s why we changed the rules so that these young people are able to stay with their foster carers until their 21st birthday.
“This momentous change will help the 10,000 young people leaving care each year to make the transition to adulthood when they’re ready – rather than when others tell them to. The new guidance will help councils in providing vital support, giving young people the best possible start to teir future.”
Staying Put arrangements have been created to reduce the number of care leavers who have a more difficult start to adulthood as a consequence of their past experiences, coupled with the absence of a supportive family base and ensure these young people are better equipped to do well in life when they do leave care.
Under new laws included in the Children and Families Act 2014, local authorities have a duty to support care leavers who wish to continue to live with their foster carers when they reach 18. The Staying Put arrangement continues until the young person reaches age 21, or stops living in the household before then.
Only stability for vulnerable young people
4Children’s National Programmes Director Peter Rogers added: “The support of a foster home can be the only stability a vulnerable young person has had in their life and the Staying Put initiative will extend this through a time when a young person is making major decisions about their future.”
“Local authorities are responsible for monitoring Staying Put arrangements and the guide sets out how councils can ensure young people in their area receive the support they need.”
‘Staying Put – a good practice guide’ has been written by the Children’s Partnership, the voluntary and community sector strategic partner to the Department for Education, It is intended for everyone involved in making and supporting Staying Put arrangements in England.
Outlining the importance of the guide, National Children's Bureau Director Enver Solomon said: “We know that successfully navigating the transition from childhood to adult independence is particularly hard for care leavers without the support of a stable family background as they establish themselves and take on new responsibilities. This new guide sets out how the new Staying Put arrangements, should work effectively for young people in foster care and give them the best possible start in life. It is intended to be the go-to resource for all those involved in implementing and overseeing the Staying Put reforms.”
To download the guide visit: www.ncb.org.uk/stayingput