If you’re a foster carer, or are interested in fostering, you might have heard of an arrangement called ‘staying put’, or ‘when I’m ready.’ Staying Put foster care arrangements enable our young people to continue living with their foster carers after they turn 18.
Staying Put Meaning
Staying Put arrangements are aimed at young people who have established strong attachments with their foster carers, and who wish to continue living with them after they age out of foster care.
For some young people in foster care, turning 18 means transitioning towards greater independence and moving on from the foster home. However, for young people who don’t quite feel ready to move on, a Staying Put arrangement allows them to continue living with their foster carers until the age of 21.
Benefits for Young People
Giving young people the opportunity to remain with their foster carers after they turn 18 has a range of benefits.
Living with foster carers provides fostered children and young people with a stable and safe environment within which they can thrive. Allowing young people to remain in this environment means they can continue accessing much-needed support as they explore what the next few years has in store for them.
Some of this support includes guiding young people as they begin making applications for jobs, further educational courses, benefits, or other applied-for activities and schemes – giving them the space, time and help they need to begin building the foundations for their future.
Benefits for Foster Carers
Staying Put/When I’m Ready arrangements are not only beneficial for our young people, there are a wealth of advantages available for foster carers too.
With Compass, foster carers who enter a Staying Put arrangement receive a generous fostering Staying Put Allowance that is comprised of both a daily living allowance for the young person, and a professional fee for themselves.
All fostering Staying Put payments are paid electronically and on a regular weekly basis, helping to ease financial concerns, allowing our foster carers to focus on what really matters – their young people.
Our foster carers also continue to benefit from bi-monthly supervision with a Compass Fostering Supervising Social Worker, as well as continued access to support groups, high-quality training and ongoing 24/7 support from their friendly local Compass team.
How Does It Work?
At Compass, we’re committed to making the Staying Put/When I’m Ready process as simple and stress-free as possible for everyone involved.
We recognise how important ongoing stability and support can be for young people as they look to the future, which is why we aim for as smooth transition as possible into independent living.
We also recognise the important role our foster carers play in providing this support, and work hard to ensure they receive the guidance to make an educated decision when it comes to Staying Put arrangements – as is part of our Staying Put policy.
Following the young person’s 17th birthday, we get in touch with the young person and their foster carers to discuss the possibility of a Staying Put arrangement. This leaves plenty of time for important conversations to take place prior to making a decision.
We’ll talk about how the young person is feeling moving forward, as well establishing whether their foster carer is willing and able to continue to support the young person beyond their 18th birthday. We also make sure that all questions are answered, and both young person and foster carer are given the necessary information.
This part of the process also involves checking the young person’s Pathway Plan with their Local Authority Social Worker, and the resources and next steps it puts in place for the young person’s future.
If the young person and their foster family agree to enter a Staying Put/When I’m Ready arrangement, Compass Fostering will notify the young person’s Local Authority to let them know in order to comply with Stay Put policy.
This is then finalised and incorporated into the young person’s Pathway Plan, ensuring they continue to receive the stability and support they need, all while benefitting their Local Authority by saving on time and resources.
Staying Put FAQ’s
Got a question about Staying Put/When I’m Ready arrangements? Check out our FAQ section for some more information on Staying Put fostering.
How long can a Staying Put/When I’m Ready arrangement last?
Young people can stay in the foster family home under the ‘Stay Put’ scheme until their 21st birthday, or until an educational or training course has finished (which they were enrolled in before their 21st birthday).
Will this affect my current Tax, National Insurance contributions, or benefits?
The ‘Staying Put/When I’m Ready’ scheme should not affect either Tax or National Insurance contribution rates compared to existing rates paid through fostering. Foster carers are advised to seek independent advice to clarify your own situation.
How will my fostering payment be affected?
Firstly, any fostering payments for other children and young people within the home should continue unchanged.
Secondly, fostering payment for the young person entering the ‘Staying Put/When I’m Ready’ arrangement will cease at their 18th birthday and will be replaced with the ‘Staying Put/When I’m Ready’ arrangement. Learn more about fostering allowances here.
How do I know this is the right decision for us?
Making this decision is always going to be filled with individual and personal factors, specific to you and your family. We recommend that you have open and honest discussions with your Supervising Social Worker about what is best for you, your family, and your foster child.
Learn More about Fostering with Compass
We’re always looking for dedicated, caring individuals to join our fostering community.
At Compass, we’re proud to be the fostering agency that’s here for you – we’re more informative, more responsive and more supportive. As a leading independent UK fostering agency, we’re passionate about providing outstanding care to our children and young people.
If you’d like to learn more about fostering, or have any questions about becoming a foster parent with Compass – get in touch with us today to request your free digital brochure.