Staying with your foster carer after you turn 18
Leaving foster care doesn’t necessarily mean you have to leave your foster home. If you are settled the best plan might be for you to remain living there until you have finished your education or achieved other goals. Many young people carry on living with their foster carer until they are 21. We call this a Staying Put arrangement.
If this is what you and your foster carer want, your social worker will work with you both to make all the arrangements and help you to apply for Universal Credit, if you are eligible. We call this a living together agreement.
If you are a young person living in the borough’s children’s home and are ready to move to semi-independent living, you could move to one of our self-contained flats at our Brook Street Group Home
This allows you to keep in regular contact with the staff team at the children’s home. We call this a Staying Close arrangement.
Staying Put Guide
This Guide has been written for you by three care experienced young people from Cheshire West and Chester Council.
What is Staying Put?
If you want to stay with your foster carer after you turn 18 and your carer agrees,then you can stay put and will be supported to become independent.
It is an arrangement between you and your foster carer.
It is different to being in a foster care placement and the Council will provide information, guidance and support throughout the staying put arrangement
Cheshire West and Chester Council are legally obliged to assist and support young people and their carers to do this if this is what they want to happen.
The Council believes that supporting care leavers to stay with their foster carers until they are ready to leave home is better because they are more likely to have a successful transition into independence.
Where an arrangement has been made it will be regularly reviewed and providing your circumstances don't change the Council will fund this arrangement up to your 21st Birthday.
Who can Stay Put?
Young people who have been cared for by Cheshire West and Chester Council whether they have been cared for by a Cheshire West and Chester Foster Carer or an independent agency Foster Carer.
Staying Put is about enabling you to develop the skills you need to live independently when you are 21.
You will be expected and encouraged to engage in either
- A full time further education programme of at least 16 hours per week
- Full time training or employment
- Other activities which support you to develop and move on into independence
How does it happen?
The staying put arrangement will only happen where you and your foster carer are in agreement that this is what you both would like to happen.
Early planning for a staying put arrangement is important and this will start when you are 16 years old. It is important that this arrangement meets your needs and your future plans for moving on into adulthood.
A written agreement is made between you and your carer and this process will be supported by your Social Worker or Personal Advisor and your Independent Reviewing Officer. Your Foster Carer’s Supervising Social Worker will also be involved in this process.
Your views, wishes and feelings will be taken into account and you will be at the centre of all decision making during this process.
The agreement will include what support you can expect from your carer and Social Worker/Personal Advisor, what you will be expected to do and what support you need to prepare you for living independently.
This arrangement will then be signed off by a Senior Manager of the Council. It is important that this arrangement is reviewed regularly and this will be done within the pathway planning process and by a Senior Manager.
Unless you want to end the arrangement sooner it can last until you are 21. If you are at university it can continue beyond your 21st Birthday.
How is a Staying Put Arrangement Funded?
Cheshire West and Chester Council will provide financial support to your foster carer. This is called a staying put allowance.
A weekly allowance of up to £222.21 will be paid to your foster carer to cover the cost of you staying with them.
If you are receiving an income from work or benefits like jobseekers allowance or housing benefit then you will be expected to contribute to this cost.
What support will you get?
You will get support to develop skills around relationships, emotional resilience, finance and budgeting, cooking,managing a home and applying for jobs.
What is expected of you?
When you turn 18 your choices will include:
- To move out of your foster care placement
- To live independently
- To stay put
If you choose to stay put and your foster carer agrees to this then a staying put arrangement will be looked at and agreed. You are expected to:
- Be involved in, or looking for, a full time further education programme of at least 16 hours per week
- Be in, or looking for, full time training or employment
- Be involved in, or looking for, other agreed activities which will support your move on into independence
- If you are in receipt of a benefit you will be expected to pay a £20 per week contribution to the staying put provider
- If you are working and earning over £50 per week you will be expected to contribute 50 per cent of anything you earn over £50 per week (You will never pay any more than a £50 per week contribution)
- Stick to the staying put agreement when it is made and as it is reviewed
- Engage with your Personal Advisor