Since 20 May 2014, young people in England have the right to stay with their foster carers beyond their 18th birthday if both parties agree. This change in the law was made following the Fostering Network’s Don’t Move Me campaign in 2013-14.
The guidance issued states that:
- local authorities should pay former foster carers (foster carers providing staying put provision) an allowance that will cover all reasonable costs of supporting the care leaver to remain living with them;
- it is important that local authorities provide clear information to their foster carers on the financial support they provide former foster carers in supporting young people in ‘staying put’ arrangements;
- young people living with foster carers who are supported by independent providers should be treated in the same way as those young people living with local authority inhouse foster carers.
The guidance also tells local authorities that they must ensure that all young people in foster care are aware of staying put support available by disseminating information to the young person and foster carer, if possible, at the start of the fostering placement and/or at least at the point when they young person turns 16.
Robert Tapsfield, chief executive at the Fostering Network, said: “This guidance is clear in stating that former foster carers must be supported when a decision is made that young person stays with them post-17. Foster care, and an extension of that support into adulthood, can be very beneficial for young people and the content of this guidance shows that the Government have recognised this.
“The Fostering Network is holding the first Staying Put conference in July and it will help all involved understand the changes in the law. We would encourage people from throughout the fostering community in England to come and engage with ourselves, the children’s minister, foster carers, young people and social workers to find out about how we can make staying put work for all children and young people in foster care.”
Book your place at the Fostering Network’s Staying Put conference on Tuesday 15 July in London by visiting the Fostering Network website.