Catch22 National Care Advisory Service advises local authorities on implementation of Staying Put reforms

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Delegates explored the challenges of this new legal duty to allow young people to remain with their foster carers until they are 21-years-old - including the financial implications for the local authorities they represented.

06 August 2014

Late last month Catch22’s National Care Advisory Service held workshops in Sheffield and London to address the Staying Put reforms, which allow care leavers to remain with their foster carers after turning 18, until 21-years-old. Over 100 delegates from 52 out of 70 local authority members of the National Leaving Care Benchmarking Forum (NLCBF) came together over two days, with an additional 15 non-member local authorities also in attendance.

The event examined the challenges and difficulties that workers face when developing Staying Put policies and identified possible solutions that can be used to ensure a successful arrangement is created. Delegates were given an overview of Staying Put, focusing on:

  • information provision for carers and young people
  • effective planning and development of Living Together agreements
  • on-going support and monitoring of carers and young people.

John Short, Consultant for Leaving Care Training and Consultancy also addressed the financial framework of Staying Put and the implications for tax and benefit arrangements. Other sessions provided input from practitioners working with Staying Put arrangements, and young people who discussed the resources they have developed to help with the implementation of Staying Put. Attendees at the London event were also able to quiz the Department for Education’s Policy Officer, Paul Denis on the initiative and its funding.

Staying Put promotes a three-way relationship between the local authority, the young person and the foster carer

Staying Put reforms promote a three-way relationship: the local authority is there to support the young person and the foster carer(s) to cotinue their existing relationship. Although Staying Put presents a number of challenges for implementation it was clear from the event that the reforms will bring about better outcomes and positive benefits for young people, and that delegates were in favour of the statutory implementation guidance for local authorities.

The event also highlighted that Staying Put also needs to be considered beyond Leaving Care services and across Looked After Children, Fostering, Independent Reviewing Officers and Commissioning teams as well.

NCAS will support National Leaving Care Benchmarking Forum members further by developing a policy on Staying Put, which will pose the questions that each local authority will need to consider as they look to implement this new duty.

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