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Staying put

Staying put is the arrangement whereby care leavers can choose to live with their foster carers beyond the age of 18, and until they are 21 in some cases. A change in the law in 2014 means that Devon County Council has a statutory duty to plan, monitor and support staying put arrangements through the provision of ongoing social work and financial support.

Staying put arrangements can be made for an ‘eligible child’, this is someone who is looked after by a local authority, is aged 16 or 17 and has been looked after for at least 13 weeks since the age of 14 years old.

Often a young person and their foster carers will view the arrangement simply as an extension of fostering, albeit the young person is increasingly independent. Discussions about staying put should start between the young person and foster carer as early as possible, ideally before they reach the age of 16.

Fostering Devon is involved in planning for staying put arrangements, as part of a three-way partnership with the young person and carer. However, ultimately it is the young person and their foster carer who make the joint decision to establish the arrangement. This is based on their commitment to each other.

The significant difference is that in law, staying put arrangements are not the same as fostering arrangements, because the young person is no longer a looked-after child but an adult, and the fostering regulations, statutory guidance and national minimum standards no longer apply.

There is nothing new about foster carers continuing to provide a home to young people whom they have fostered; however the change in law moves this from an ad hoc arrangement to one which is legislated for until the age of 21.

Read a copy of the staying put policy.