In the News this week:

‘Institutional language has no place in children’s homes’: http://www.theguardian.com/social-care-network/social-life-blog/2015/aug/26/institutional-language-has-no-place-in-childrens-homes?CMP=share_btn_tw

 

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What is Staying Put and what does it mean for young people leaving care?

This week’s GCSE results day and last week’s A-Level results day can be, for many young people in the UK, the start of new and exciting life changes. Some young people may decide to start applying for jobs, others may be encouraged by their parents/caregivers to continue into further education; for most young people, the secure base of a family home remains to be their’s until they feel ready to fly the nest. However, for many young people in care, this may not be as straightforward.

The ‘Staying Put’ arrangement was recommended in the recent ‘Care Matters’ government white paper. It states that from the age of eighteen, young people are no longer legally ‘in care’ or ‘looked after’, and therefore fostering arrangements and legislation relating to children placed with foster carers no longer applies. In circumstances where a young person remains with their former foster carer/s after their eighteenth birthday, the arrangement should therefore be deemed a ‘Staying Put’ arrangement.

To meet the commitments in the white paper and the new duties towards care leavers in the Children and Young Persons Act 2008, this arrangement emphasise a more graduated approach to planning transition to adulthood. The average age of leaving home is rising and the transition to adulthood is increasingly becoming more complex and elongated. The ‘Staying Put’ initiative looks at ways to extend children/young people’s transition to adulthood within a family and household supported environment. The intention being to ensure young people can remain with their former foster carers until they are prepared for adulthood, can experience a transition akin to their peers, avoid social exclusion and be more likely to avert a subsequent housing and tenancy breakdown.

However, Mark Kerr (Community Care, 2014) criticises ‘Staying Put’ for being both confusing and discriminatory to young people in care, foster carers and professionals:

‘It is confusing because there is very little evidence to indicate the policy in its current form will actually improve outcomes. Further, despite all of the rhetoric, it is misleading to say that all young people in foster care who wish to stay in care will be offered this choice.

The reality is this will only be feasible if carers are able to afford the significant drop in income. Many professional carers – although not necessarily fostering for the money – cannot afford this, a key message from the evaluation of the Staying Put pilot.

Further, young people placed with independent providers (approximately 33%) are also unlikely to be able to stay put because no provision has been made for agency fees – again a key finding from the evaluation that has not been addressed.

I wholeheartedly support the spirit of Staying Put, but believe this is a missed opportunity to improve outcomes for all children in care. It is likely to only benefit a select few – those in stable placements whose carers can afford to lose the fostering allowance. In reality there will be very few who can, and it’s contrary to the drive to professionalise foster care: Professionals want to be paid.’ (Kerr, 2014)

In order to meet the commitments made in ‘Care Matters’, more needs to be done to ensure that all young people in care benefit from the Staying Put initiative.

 

Department for Education. (2014). Staying Put: Arrangements for Care Leavers aged 18 and above to stay on with their former foster carers. HM Government. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/201015/Staying_Put_Guidance.pdf. [Accessed 20th August 2015]

Kerr, M. (2014). Law allowing children to stay with foster carers until 21 is confusing and discriminatory. Community Care. Available at: http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2014/04/16/law-allowing-children-stay-foster-carers-21-confusing-discriminatory/ [Accessed 20th August 2015]

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Welcome to our new blog!

Welcome to our new blog! We will be updating the blog on a regular basis to keep you up to date with news and events at Safehouses Fostering.

As it is the Summer holidays, we have been very busy running fun activities for the children and young people. Our independence sessions were extremely interesting, with lots of great input from our young people. We discussed leaving care, further education, careers, and potential obstacles to achieving great outcomes. We ended the week with a trip to Manchester, where the young people had the opportunity to travel there independently and enjoy a delicious pizza together.

We also had lots of fun with the younger children last week. Thank you to Allen, Rachel and John for a fantastic day at ‘Be More Outdoors’ in Slaithwaite. The children really enjoyed making outdoor dens, toasting marshmallows on the camp fire and making wooden birds and nests.

Thank you to all the young people, foster carers and Safehouses staff who attended and contributed to these events. We hope you enjoyed yourselves!

Here are some other activity dates for your diary this Summer:

3rd- 7th August: Awesome Adventures at Dovestones Reservoir – 10am-4pm (12+). Enjoy a fun-filled week of mountain biking, canoeing, abseiling, outdoor cooking and artwork. Contact Marianne or Jess at the Safehouses office for further details.

22nd August: Family Fun Day at Cheethams Park, Stalybridge – 10am-5pm. Join Safehouses in supporting Lavender Ribbon Cancer Support. We will have an information stall with lots of information about fostering. There will also be a fun fair, live entertainment, a sweet stall, lucky dips, face painting and inflatables. Looking forward to seeing you there!

Family Fun Day

Have a great weekend!

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Views of LAC in Carehttp://www.itv.com/news/granada/update/2015-03-09/watch-what-it-means-for-young-people-to-be-in-care/

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Foster Carers Needed

Please click on link below to see information regarding prospective foster carers:

After Event

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Foster Carer Tax Information.

Please click on the link below to see information regarding Fostering Tax allowances:

Foster Care News

 

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Foster Care Tax Information

If you require advice or help understanding your tax contributions as a foster carers, please click on the link below:

Foster Care Tax Info

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A Foster Carer’s Journey through the Assessment Process

Download the Link Below

K Story

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Internet Safety Guidance

Safehouses Fostering places great emphasis on Internet Safety.

To Download a copy of our internet Safety Guide click below.

Internet Safety Guide

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Become a Foster Carer

If you require further information regarding fostering with us, please contact us on 08453 700 247 or alternatively download our initial enquiry form or download ‘An introduction to fostering’ brochure

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