Staying Put Policy: Summary & Practice Notes

February 2016

The Staying Put duty contained in the Children and Families Act 2014 came into force on 13th May 2014. This legal duty requires every local authority to provide financial support for every young person who wants to say with their foster carer and with their foster carer’s agreement from their 18th for any length of time up to their 21st birthday.

Once the young person reaches 18 years and legal adulthood, the local authority is no longer making a placement but facilitating an arrangement.

1. Definition of a Staying Put Arrangement

  • where a young person who was looked after immediately before their 18th birthday stays with their former foster carers
  • the carers were approved under Fostering Regulations
  • it applies until the young person reaches their 21st birthday when staying continuously in the Staying Put arrangement ie not leaving, then returning

2. Entitlement to Staying Put

It applies to all young people in care approaching 18 years and covers in-house and IFA foster carers.A young person reaching 18 years is entitled to Stay Put when:

  • engaged in full or part-time further education, training or employment (ETE)
  • not engaged in ETE but being supported to do so
  • vulnerable and continuing to need support
  • functioning at a dependent level due to delayed maturity or development. Where young people have assessed needs linked to a disability they will be eligible for community care from Adult Social Care. This will be provided by learning disability, physical disability or mental health services.
  • having a planned move-on from foster care. When ready and able for independent living they can Stay Put until allocated a tenancy.

3. Establishing a Staying Put Arrangement

The option of Staying Put should be explored with the foster carer by the young person’s Social Worker in discussion with the carer’s Supervising Social Worker. This should start by 17 years with final agreement at the young person’s Pathway Plan Review prior to their 18th birthday.

The young person’s Social Worker must ensure the young person claims either Income Support (when in Further Education) or Job Seeker’s Allowance (when NEET) effective from their 18th birthday. A Housing Benefit claim must also be made when the young person reaches 18 years - see 4(d) below.

A “Staying Put Living Together Agreement” meeting should take place before the young person’s 18th birthday so that they and the carer can identify their expectations of each other and the differences between the former foster placement and this new arrangement. (see “Staying Put Living Together Agreement” – February 2016”).

4. Financial Arrangements - Young Person

Depending on their circumstances young people in a Staying Put arrangement will claim one or more of these benefits.

  1. Income Support when undertaking full-time (16+ hours) further education or training course at a non-advanced level.
  2. Education Bursary for all full-time (16+ hours) further education courses and most training schemes.
  3. Job Seekers Allowance when registered unemployed and available for and actively seeking full-time employment.
    Claiming a), b) or c) will not impact on the Staying Put carers’ own benefits if they are claimants themselves.
  4. As an “excluded occupier on a license”, the young person can claim Housing Benefit and the amount paid depends on the level of rent set by the Local Rent Officer and varies between East and West Sussex councils. In most cases this will be paid at between £140 and £150 per week as income to Children’s Services. For claim compliance, a Licence Agreement must be completed by the young person and their carer (see “Licence Agreement for Staying Put Arrangements - February 2016”) and this must be attached to the Housing Benefit claim. Accompanying letters must also be attached (see “Cover Letter for HB Staying Put – February 2016”).

From their income the young person is responsible for their own clothes, toiletries, mobile phone contracts/top ups and other items previously covered by the fostering allowance. When in further education or training, on an apprenticeship, on fluctuating or ‘zero’ hours contracts or actively seeking employment, the young person contributes a weekly service charge of £20.00 pw towards food and utility bills. For those in full-time employment the service charge is calculated case by case. Contributions are set up as a standing order to Brighton & Hove Children’s Services.

5. Financial Arrangements – Staying Put Carer

The Staying Put allowance to the carer is exclusively for the practical and emotional package of support that is being provided by them. Unlike the fostering allowance it does not include any element directly for the young person such as personal, clothing, travel and holiday allowances and costs associated with birthdays and Christmas or other religious festivals. These are provided from the young person’s income or by Children’s Services.

The Staying Put allowance (rates current to 31.03.2018)

Brighton & Hove in-house Foster Carers

Standard Rate Allowance

£191.00 pw

Higher Rate Allowance

£259.00 pw

+ Fee Element Carer with 2 years+ service

£62.00 pw

Carer with 5 years+ service


In most cases allowance paid will be £191.00 + £92.00 = £283.00 pw

Brighton & Hove Family & Friends Foster Carers

Standard Rate Allowance

£191.00 pw

(As with Family & Friends fostering allowance, no fee element is paid)

The Standard Rate applies in most cases but in exceptional circumstances the Higher Rate can be considered where the young person’s support needs are significantly increased due to a moderate learning disability, enduring mental health needs or severe behavioural problems and considerable extra support from the carer is required. It is the responsibility of the carer’s Supervising Social Worker to evidence the support needs are at a level to allow payment at the Higher Rate.

Where a Staying Put arrangement is with an IFA carer, early discussion with their agency is required to confirm the level of allowance to be paid. The aim should be to agree payments in line with the scheme for Brighton & Hove in-house foster carer conversions detailed above.

The Department for Education, HM Revenue and Customs and Department for Work and Pensions has produced guidance on the tax and benefits aspects of ‘staying put’ arrangements. The guidance is available at:

6. Ending the Staying Put Arrangement

The Staying Put arrangement can be ended before the young person's 21st birthday by the young person or carer giving as much notice as possible and in most cases with a minimum of 28 days. The licence agreement allows for the ending of the arrangement with 7 days’ notice for a breach of the agreement, but in exceptional circumstances it canbe terminated with immediate effect.

The Staying Put arrangements will end when the young person becomes 21. However if the young person is at a critical stage in their education (eg. final exams) around this time they will be able to Stay Put until completion. Advance planning will be necessary to ensure young person can move on successfully to suitable accommodation from their Staying Put arrangement. The Joint Housing & Children’s Services Protocol takes account of Staying Put and avoids a ‘cliff edge’ for young people by having no upper age limit at which they can be referred for independent living.


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