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3.8.13 Staying Put Procedure


A Staying Put arrangement is where a young person who has been living in foster care remains in the former foster home after the age of 18. 


The Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations Volume 3: Planning Transition to Adulthood for Care Leavers (January 2015)

Staying Put - Arrangements for Care Leavers Aged 18 and Above to Stay on With Their Former Foster Carers – Government Guidance issued by the DfE, DWP and HMRC (2013)

Staying Put: Good Practice Guide


This chapter was updated in April 2018 to reflect current practice in Lincolnshire Children and the Social Work Act 2017. It should be re-read in its entirety. Section 3, Professional Roles provides further information on the role of the carer with respect to finance and confirms that Foster Carers who are also Staying Put Providers are entitled to support from Fostering Network; this does include advice on insurance cover and any legal support available. Where Staying Put providers have ceased to be Foster Carers, any allegations made against them or the young person may be referred to Adult Safeguarding. Section 8, Interface with Adult Services has also been significantly amended. The impact of the Children and Social Work Act 2017 is reflected in Section 9, Ending of Staying Put Arrangements.


  1. Introduction
  2. Planning
  3. Professional Roles
  4. Legal Status and Safeguarding
  5. Support for Foster Carers
  6. Financial Implications
  7. Young People Attending University and Other Settings Away from Home
  8. Interface with Adults Services
  9. Ending of Staying Put Arrangements

1. Introduction

A Staying Put arrangement is where a Former Relevant child, after ceasing to be Looked After, remains in the former foster home where they were placed immediately before they ceased to be Looked After, beyond the age of 18.

It is the duty of the local authority:

  • To monitor the Staying Put arrangement; and
  • To provide advice, assistance and support to the Former Relevant child and the former foster parent with a view to maintaining the Staying Put arrangement (this must include financial support), until the child reaches the age of 21 (unless the local authority consider that the Staying Put arrangement is not consistent with the child’s welfare).

Under the Care Leavers (England) Regulations 2010, Planning Transition into Adulthood for Care Leavers Guidance and Government Guidance Staying Put - Arrangements for Care Leavers Aged 18 and Above to Stay on With Their Former Foster Carers (2013), the Local Authority must provide information about extending foster placements post-18.

The intention of Staying Put arrangements is to ensure that 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.

(Note that the term ‘arrangement’ should be used rather than ‘placement’ - the term ‘placement’ denotes a situation where the local authority arranged and placed the child with a foster carer. Once the child reaches the age of eighteen and legal adulthood, the local authority is no longer making a placement, but facilitating a Staying Put arrangement for the young person.)

Consideration will need to be given to the impact on foster carers' approval and their terms of approval, including the numbers approved for, and whether this number includes the Staying Put young person.

Young people living with foster carers supported by independent providers should be treated in the same way as those young people living with local authority in-house foster carers when consideration is given to a ‘staying put’ arrangement. Local authorities should have discussions with independent fostering providers at an early stage regarding the option of a ‘staying put’ arrangement. This discussion should include the amount of allowance the local authority will pay the former foster carer.

If a young person feels that his/her wish to remain with their former foster carer has not been properly considered by the local authority or they are unhappy with the way in which the local authority has acted, they may wish to speak to their Independent Reviewing Officer who chairs their reviews before they turn 18 and request a review of their Pathway Plan. The young person should be told of their right to use their local authority’s complaints procedure to voice their concerns, and of their right to have an independent Advocate.

2. Planning

Discussion should start with the young person and foster carer regarding the option of staying put as early as possible, ideally before the young person reaches the age of 16.

If this has not already been done, the first Looked After Review following his or her 16th birthday should consider whether a Staying Put arrangement should be an option. This will entail assessing the implications for both the young person and the foster carer.

When carrying out an assessment of an Eligible child’s needs, the local authority must determine whether it would be appropriate to provide advice, assistance and support to facilitate a Staying Put arrangement. Where they determine that it would be appropriate, and where the child and the local authority foster parent wish to make a Staying Put arrangement, then the local authority must provide such advice, assistance and support to facilitate a Staying Put arrangement.

The option of Staying Put should be identified within the young person's Care Planning/Pathway Planning process no less than 6 months before their 18th birthday. The Children's Social Worker and Supervising Social Worker should inform the Staying Put Coordinator if a Staying Put arrangement has been identified as an option and is being considered by the young person and foster carers.

An arrangement to Stay Put must be agreed by both the young person and the foster carers. Advice about the differences between a foster placement and a Staying Put arrangement should be given to the Young Person and Carers by the Staying Put Co-ordinator or Supervising Social Worker, in order for both parties to make an informed decision about proceeding with the arrangement.

Occasionally young people or carers may change their minds after making an initial decision about Staying Put. The system should always allow both young people and foster carers to change their minds about establishing a Staying Put arrangement, but care should be taken to avoid disruption to a young person's education at a critical time.

The Child's Social Worker should forward a copy of the young person's Pathway Plan to the Staying Put Coordinator no less than 6 weeks before the young person's 18th birthday.

The Staying Put Co-ordinator will assess whether the Young Person will have to make a financial contribution to the cost of Staying Put and calculate the amount required from the Staying Put budget. The Leaving Care Worker will work with the young person to maximise their entitlement to benefits. Consideration should also be given to ensure that applications for benefits do not discourage a young person from obtaining or maintaining part or full-time employment.

The Leaving Care Worker will ensure that all claims for benefits are submitted in a timely fashion that minimises any potential disruption in allowances being received by the former carer. The Leaving Care Worker will in conjunction with the young person follow up these claims for benefits until a decision has been made and a payment commences. In certain circumstances it may be necessary for the Leaving Care Worker to agree with the Staying Put Coordinator contingency arrangements so that the former carer's level of remuneration is not disrupted.

The Staying Put Co-ordinator will in collaboration with the Leaving Care Worker convene a Staying Put support meeting immediately prior to the young person's 18th birthday, and in collaboration with the young person, foster carer, Staying Put Coordinator and the Laving Care Worker complete a Staying Put agreement. The purpose of the Staying Put agreement meeting is for both the former carers and the young person to appreciate what is expected of each other.

The Staying Put Coordinator will complete the relevant work step on Mosaic in relation to the Staying Put allowance no less than 2 weeks before the young person's 18th birthday. This will then be actioned by the Children's Social Care Finance Team.

The young person’s Pathway Plan should set out all of the practical arrangements regarding the young person remaining as a young adult in the Staying Put arrangement. It should set out the ‘ground rules’ of the household as well as the areas of responsibility that all parties to the arrangement are expected to fulfil. Many of these will be an extension of the expectations on them when they were a foster child. This will cover arrangements such as:

  • Preparation for adulthood and independence tasks;
  • Finance, including young people having credit cards, loan agreements and mobile phone contracts registered at the address;
  • Income and benefit claims;
  • Friends and partners visiting and staying at the address;
  • Staying away for nights/weekends and informing carers of movements;
  • Education, training and employment activities;
  • Health arrangements;
  • Move-on arrangements;
  • Issues related to younger foster care children in the placement, i.e. safeguarding, being a positive role model and time-keeping.

It should be assessed from the outset how the arrangement will help the young person develop the skills required for independent living once they move on. They should be supported to continue to develop a range of skills including:

  • Relationships - getting on with neighbours; understanding acceptable behaviour; when and how to communicate with relevant professionals;
  • Emotional Resilience - managing isolation and where to go for support. Building self-esteem;
  • Finance and budgeting - opening a bank account, safe borrowing and managing debt, understanding basic financial products, benefits and welfare reform; budgeting for priority bills, household appliances and everyday shopping on a budget;
  • Cooking - cooking healthily and on a budget; understanding nutrition and its impact on overall health;
  • Managing a home - washing and ironing, cleaning, basic DIY, operating appliances and what is allowed within a tenancy; and
  • Applying for jobs - understanding strengths and areas for personal development; developing job skills, understanding job/volunteering pathways and support available; understanding bursaries and other financial support; where to go for advice; understanding the impact of work on benefits.

3. Professional Roles

The Leaving Care Worker will continue to provide support to the young person throughout the Staying Put process. They will complete Pathway Plans and support the young person within the new arrangement with the former carers. The Leaving Care Worker will ensure that the young person understands the terms of the Staying Put agreement. This may include reinforcing what the young person is expected to purchase from their Income Maintenance (JSA/Income Support or equivalent) Supporting the young person to apply for relevant funding and benefits, and helping them to establish a method of making any regular payments such as Local Housing Allowance to the former carer according to the terms of the agreement.

For LCC Foster Carers, if other children are in placement, the Supervising Social Worker will continue to provide support to the carer for those children. The Staying Put Coordinator's role will involve supporting the carer to understand the nature of the Staying Put arrangement and their entitlement to funding, and advise the carer about their changing role with the young person under the Staying Put arrangement. The Staying Put Coordinator will be able to provide ongoing advice about tax and national insurance implications, and about personal liability insurance.

For Foster Carers who work for an Independent Fostering Agency, in most circumstances the Staying Put Coordinator will provide the support to the former carer, rather than the Agency Worker. The support and advice provided will be similar to that described above, and will reflect that the Independent Fostering Agency is no longer actively involved in supporting the former carers to provide ongoing care and support to the young person who is Staying Put.

HMRC have stated that the same arrangements that apply to Adult Placement 'Shared Lives' carers should apply to former foster placements if the carer continues to provide support, and continues to receive the same level of payment. Former Foster Carers should complete a self-assessment tax form, declaring the income as "Staying Put" rather than fostering. For further information and advice individual carers should contact their local HMRC office for guidance in relation to their own personal circumstances and liabilities.

Adult placement' Carers are treated as self-employed for tax purposes and can pay Class 2 National Insurance contributions in order to qualify for basic state pension.

For carers who are in receipt of welfare benefits, advice should be sort from HMRC and DWP, as to whether Staying Put payments will be disregarded or considered as income for means tested benefits. These payments may include:

  • Rent payments paid to the carer;
  • Payments from the young person to the carer;
  • Payments from LCC to the carer (made under The Children Act 1989).

A young person may not be able to claim Local Housing Allowance if the Carers are already in receipt of Housing Benefit or Local Housing Allowance to meet their own housing costs.

In circumstances where all the funding for a Staying Put arrangement comes from the Staying Put budget, the payment can be made under Section 24 of The Children Act 1989. In these circumstances, a letter should be written to the former carer by the Staying Put Coordinator confirming that payments are being made under Section 24 of the Children Act 1989 to support the young person in education, and that the payment should be disregarded for income tax and benefit purposes.

Legislation regarding the treatment of payments to the carer is complex, and individual financial circumstances vary, and it may be necessary to advise the carer to seek specialist advice (from Citizens Advice Bureau, for example) about their specific circumstances and the effect of the Staying Put arrangement on their tax, national insurance, welfare benefits, and working tax credit or child tax credit.

Additionally; prior to the young person's 18th birthday carers may have been responsible for budgeting and managing the young person's Personal Independence Payments and/or any other health related benefit. Where this is the case and the young person remains Staying Put and they continue to manage/support the young person in relation to these benefits, then carers are required to provide documentation detailing income and expenditure.

If the carers are tenants themselves, it is advisable for them to check their tenancy agreement and ensure that their lease allows them to have a lodger.

If the carers are mortgage payers it is advisable for them to check whether having a lodger is within the terms and conditions of their mortgage lender and insurer.

It is advisable for carers to inform the Insurance Company providing their household insurance when a young person is no longer a fostered child but remaining in their home as an adult lodger, and to check that existing insurance arrangements still provide adequate household cover under this arrangement.

Foster Carers are currently covered for legal protection insurance provided and paid for by LCC in the case of an allegation made against them by a foster child. Carers must be informed that this legal protection insurance cover does not continue under a Staying Put arrangement. LCC Foster Carers who are also Staying Put Providers are entitled to support from Fostering Network; this does include advice on insurance cover and any legal support available.

Where Staying Put providers have ceased to be Foster Carers, any allegations made against them or the young person may be referred to Adult Safeguarding.

Key information, support and access to relevant training will be offered to carers in the lead up to a post 18 Staying Put arrangement. For those who continue to be registered as Foster Carers an annual review will be completed to ensure carers comply with the National Minimum Standards.

3.1 Key Actions

The Pathway Plan should identify an intention to establish a Staying Put arrangement.

A Staying Put Agreement should be completed before the Staying Put arrangement begins.

The Staying Put Coordinator will forward payment authorisation no less than two weeks before the young person's 18th birthday. This payment will be actioned by the relevant person in Children's Social Care Finance Team.

Staying Put agreements which will include a Licence Agreement should be completed prior to the commencement of the Staying Put Arrangement.

4. Legal Status and Safeguarding

Following the young person's 18th birthday, the legal basis on which they occupy the property (former foster home) changes (the legal term is that the young person becomes an 'excluded licensee' lodging in the home) - this should not denote that the young person will be treated differently than they were as a fostered child. In addition, the carer may also become, and be deemed the young person's landlord/landlady.

The associated change from foster child to adult member of the household, and for the carer from Foster Carer to Staying Put Carer, should be carefully and sensitively planned in order to ensure that both young people and the carer's understand the nature of the arrangement and that the positive aspects of being in foster care are not diminished by the new legal and financial arrangements and terminology.

Where Foster Children are Living in the Staying Put Arrangement

Where fostered children are living in the household, the checks and requirements associated with fostering legislation will apply and will provide a framework for safeguarding and checking arrangements for the whole household.

In these situations the carer must remain an approved foster carer and the Fostering Services (England) Regulations and Guidance will apply with the consequential requirements of supervision, review and safeguarding. Whilst the fostering legislation will primarily apply to the placements of the fostered children, it does ensure that a system of approval, checking and supervision is applied to the whole household.

Young people remaining in a foster care household at the age of eighteen will become adult members of the household and will require a valid Disclosure and Barring Service check in settings where a foster child or foster children are living. To ensure that the check (and possible subsequent risk assessment) is completed by the young person’s eighteenth birthday the Supervising Social Worker will need to commence this process in sufficient time.

Where No Foster Children are Living in the Staying Put Arrangement.

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 apply. While Fostering Regulations will no longer apply to these arrangements (in no foster child remains in the household), key standards should continue to govern the expectations of the Staying Put Arrangement.

This should include:

  • A system for considering if a person’s approval as a foster carer should be ended and for implementing the deregistration/termination process in circumstances where the foster carer is unlikely to be caring for any further foster children in the future;
  • A system for reviewing and approving the Staying Put arrangement and carer/s to ensure that the arrangement complies with local authority expectations;
  • Health and safety requirements (as a minimum this should comply with landlord and licensee/tenant requirements);
  • Regular supervision and support, possibly, from their fostering supervising social worker or Staying Put Co-ordinator; and
  • Opportunities to attend appropriate training.

The Local Authority will need to assess individual circumstances and consider the appropriateness of all of these checks particularly where the young person is the only person placed/living with their carer/s and it is not envisaged that further children will be placed. In circumstances where it is clear that the carer will not be fostering any further children, it may be deemed appropriate to terminate their approval as a foster carer. In situations where it is possible that they may foster again in the future, it would be inappropriate to terminate their approval; given the length of time that re-approval would take. Where a foster carer’s approval is terminated, it will be necessary to ensure that the Staying Put arrangement continues to meet appropriate standards.

Safeguarding arrangements will need to be sufficient, including Disclosure and Barring Service checks on over 18 year olds and issues relating to fostered children in households. As such, they will require a valid Disclosure and Barring Service check. To ensure that the check (and possible subsequent risk assessment) is completed by the child/young person’s eighteenth birthday the process will need to commence in sufficient time.

5. Support for Foster Carers

The local authority will discuss with the former foster carer whether they require any particular training and guidance to help support the young person. The type of support that a former foster carer will need to provide in a ‘staying put’ arrangement is likely to be different to that they provided when fostering the young person. It should be explored with the former foster carer the type of training and support they think they will require, particularly in helping the young person develop their independent life skills. Whether the former foster carer is from the local authority or an independent fostering service, careful consideration should be given to continued support which could include peer support.

6. Financial Implications

See also: Staying Put - Arrangements for Care Leavers Aged 18 and Above to Stay on With Their Former Foster Carers – Government Guidance issued by the DfE, DWP and HMRC (2013).

Whilst the level of financial support payable will depend upon individual needs and circumstances, former foster carers will be paid an allowance that will cover all reasonable costs of supporting the care leaver to remain living with them. Clear information will be provided to foster carers on the financial support which may be provided for staying put arrangements, in order to help foster carers plan well in advance whether they wish to participate in such arrangements.

When deciding upon the level of financial support payable, careful consideration will have to be given to the impact of the ‘staying put’ arrangement on the family’s financial position. The impact will vary from family to family.

It will be necessary to consider:

  • How extending placements will impact on the allowances provided by the Local Authority and whether other funding, e.g. funding for housing related support, will contribute to meeting Staying Put costs;
  • Whether additional allowances provided when the child was a foster child to ensure they were embedded in the family will continue, for example holiday allowances, birthday and Christmas/festival allowances;
  • Any financial contributions from the young person from their wages, salary, benefits or educational allowances. Depending on their circumstances, young people who remain in a Staying Put arrangement may be able to claim means tested benefits for their personal needs from their eighteenth birthday;
  • How the income tax, national insurance and welfare benefits situation of carers may be affected by post-18 payments;
  • Insurance issues including liability and household insurance.

6.1 Staying Put Allowances

The financial package for the former carer will be equivalent to that received through fostering allowances minus the allowance made to the young person.

This is made up of funding from:

  • Housing benefit/Universal Credit - the amount varies according to area;
  • Any contribution from the young person, from income or entitlement to grants, allowances or benefits;
  • LCC Staying Put funding will make up the balance of the cost.

6.2 Financial Contributions From Young People

If the young person is employed or has an income of more than the current Income Support Allowance they will be expected to make a contribution to the Staying Put arrangement. If a young person's income varies on a weekly basis, it may be averaged over a six week period to determine the level of the young person's contribution to the Staying Put arrangement.

If the young person's total average income over a 6 week period exceeds the current Income Support Allowance they will be expected to contribute 50% of their income over the current Income Support Allowance towards the placement costs, up to a maximum of the Shared Room Rate Housing Benefit for the relevant area plus Living Allowance.

Those in further education are eligible to claim Income Support and Housing Benefit at the Local Housing Allowance one bedroomed rate. These benefits are deducted from the previous fostering (support) allowance made to the ‘providers’ (landlord). The young person will make a contribution called a Living Allowance to the provider toward their upkeep. The provider will not be responsible for the young person’s living expenses; clothing, personal allowance or sundry expenses. The Housing Benefit is also given to the provider as rent.

Those not in education and available for work will be expected to claim Job Seekers Allowance and Housing Benefit; they must be actively seeking education or employment. The same conditions will apply as above.

The Leaving Care Worker will continue to encourage Young Person to access employment. This may mean the contribution from the Staying Put budget is higher as they may be unable to claim Local Housing Allowance.

Where a young person's level of income is so low that they are unable to contribute the former carer will suffer no detriment, and if necessary the council will make the provision where it cannot be found from another source.

Financial arrangements will be reviewed at a minimum on an annual basis, or earlier if there is a significant change in financial circumstances.

6.3 Means Tested Benefits


  • A young person continues to reside with their former foster carer after their eighteenth birthday on a non-commercial and familial basis; and
  • The child was Looked After immediately prior to their eighteenth birthday; and
  • The payments are made by the local authority to the carer under section 23C of the Children Act 1989 (continuing functions in respect of former relevant children).

Then the payments are disregarded in calculating the carers’ entitlement to means-tested benefits. 

When a commercial arrangement is made, (i.e. any element of the cost of the arrangement comes from a source other than section 23C), the non-section 23C element will be taken into account in the calculation of the carer’s own means-tested benefit claim.

Additionally, the disregard is lost on the whole payment (section 23C and non-section 23C elements) when the young person first leaves the Staying Put arrangement, should the young person return to their former foster/Staying Put carer or move to another carer after their eighteenth birthday.

6.4 Housing Benefit/Universal Credit

There may be Housing Benefit implications as a result of Staying Put Arrangements. Housing Benefit is, however, being replaced by Universal Credit. Individual advice will therefore need to be obtained.

6.5 Council Tax and Council Tax Benefit

The position regarding Council Tax will vary depending on the circumstances of the carers, the number of adults in the household and the activity that the young person is engaged in.

Young people undertaking full time education are ‘invisible’ for council tax purposes.

6.6 Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), Income Tax and National Insurance

For HMRC purposes only, there is a broader definition of ‘Staying Put. A ‘Staying Put’ carer (for HMRC purposes only) does not need to be a registered foster carer or former foster carer. This means that young people are able to return to a different Staying Put carer between the age of 18 and 21 (or until the completion of an education or training course) - for example during a university vacation.

Where a Staying Put arrangement meets the HMRC qualifying criteria (and where the young adult continues to be cared for as a member of the carer’s family) the Income Tax and National Insurance rules that apply to foster carers are extended to Staying Put carers. The young people are required to share the Staying Put carers’ home and daily family life during the placement’ i.e. live as a ‘member of the carer’s family’. This system provides for foster carers and/or Staying Put carers to earn up to a given amount without paying Income Tax or Class 4 National Insurance Contributions on their caring income.

The Income Tax free allowance consists of two elements. Firstly, a fixed amount per foster care or Staying Put household. Secondly, an additional amount per week per child.

Where there is more than one paid Staying Put carer in the household, the allowance is shared equally by both carers.

The tax free allowance only applies to the Staying Put carer’s income from caring. If they have income from other sources, they will pay tax on that income in the normal manner.

Individual carers can consult their local HMRC office for guidance on their circumstances and liabilities.

For National Insurance Contributions purposes, in practice HMRC will treat the taxable profit from foster care or Staying Put care as earnings from self-employment. Foster care and Staying Put care is deemed as self-employment and as such carers should register as self-employed. All self-employed people aged 16 and over who are below State Pension age are liable and must register to pay Class 2 National Insurance Contributions.

7. Young People Attending University and Other Settings Away from Home

Living away from the former foster carer’s home for temporary periods such as attending higher education courses should not preclude a ‘staying put’ arrangement. This might include a residential further education institution; undertaking induction training for the armed services or other training or employment programmes that require a young person to live away from home.

8. Interface with Adults Services

The Staying Put framework is aimed at former relevant children who require an extended period with their former foster carer/s due to delayed maturity, vulnerability and/or in order to complete their education or training.

It is essential that all practical and appropriate steps have been taken to help the young person understand the Staying Put arrangement and consent to remain with their former foster carer/s. In circumstances where the young person has been unable to make the decision and consent to the Staying Put arrangement then the relevant steps in the Mental Capacity Act should be undertaken. This process should be documented and recorded to ensure the young person's views are clear and where they have been unable to consent, professional and foster carers are acting in the young person's best interest.

9. Ending of Staying Put Arrangements

The Staying Put arrangement extends until:

  • The young person leaves the Staying Put arrangement;

  • The young person reaches their twenty-first birthday.

Under the Children and Social Work Act 2017, Local authorities can continue supporting a young person beyond age 21 until the young person's 25th birthday to meet their individual needs,if it is requested by the care leaver.

The local authority will want to ensure that the end of a ‘staying put’ arrangement is not another ‘cliff edge’ for the young person but a gradual transition to independent living. Procedures should be agreed at the outset about how any wish by the carer to bring the arrangement to an end should be managed. The Leaving Care Worker and/or Staying Put Coordinator should discuss with the young person their transition from such an arrangement to another type of accommodation and agree the type of support the young person will require. These arrangements should be developed alongside joint protocols with the housing authority, setting out how access to social housing and care leavers ‘priority need’ status will be discharged.

As with any other circumstance involving vulnerable people, the local authority will need to assess the balance between the risk of harm to the individual, and the rights and freedom of care leavers to choose their own lives and lifestyles. In some situations the Personal Adviser may continue monitoring the welfare of the care leaver, and to take appropriate action if necessary (as might be expected to occur in the case of any vulnerable adult that comes to the attention of the local authority).

An excluded licensee can be asked to leave the property by the Staying Put carer, who must give ‘reasonable notice’. In extreme circumstances it may be considered reasonable for the carer to give very short notice for a breach of the agreement, but this should only be used in exceptional circumstances.