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The Children and Families Act 2014 places a duty on children’s services to support ‘Staying Put’ arrangements. This enables children to remain in their placement after they turn 18, when the foster carer and young person both agree, and this is in the best interests of the young person. This includes a young person continuing to live with a kinship foster carer.
In order to qualify for support under Staying Put, the young person must:
- Have been looked after for a total of at least 13 weeks (these do not have to be consecutive) since the age of 14, AND
- Be looked after when they turn 18.
In this situation, children’s services have a duty to enable and support the Staying Put arrangements until the young person is 21 (or moves out, if that is sooner). This includes providing advice and support to both the young person and the foster carer, including continued support from a personal adviser for the young person.
Support should also include ongoing financial assistance for the foster carer. This should cover all reasonable costs of supporting the care leaver to continue living with them.
The possibility of Staying Put should be considered as part of a young person’s pathway plan once they reach age 16.