The more I look at the Children and Families Act 2014, the more I seem to be complaining about (I have a long piece on s2’s foster-to-adopt provisions coming a bit later), and sometimes I think that writing my blog pieces I am just complaining about everything and generally being a moaning minnie.
Well, it took a while, but I found two provisions in the new Act that I do like, and don’t want to complain about. One is the inclusion of Young Carers into s17 assessment of need and provision of services, which I think is long overdue and a damn fine thing.
And the other is the “Staying put arrangements” which enables a young person if they and their foster carer are up for it, to stay in the foster placement until the young person is 21.
[I know that campaigners want this extended to children in residential care, and maybe that will come in the future]
I think it is a good thing that young people will have this option – it won’t be forced on them or pushed on them, but it is a bit of a safety net from the State, and I commend it to the House (sorry, went off on a delusion of being Chancellor of the Exchequer then)
Not only is the central idea good, I think the drafting is pretty decent. It is understandable, does what it needs to, doesn’t end up with any weird gaps or new concepts that don’t get defined properly (cough, section 2, cough)
I think there are some details to be thrashed out on the logistical side of things (how much do the foster carers get paid, is that a sum of money they have to pay tax on? Are they in effect landlords to that young person?) but the core of it is there, and I have nothing to moan about.
[Well, maybe I don’t like that the Children Act is now up to a section 23CZA (2) (b) – that’s more nesting than those glass tables people used to have in the Seventies, section 23 currently runs to 10 pages, but where else could you put it?]
Staying put arrangements
98 Arrangements for living with former foster parents after reaching adulthood
(1) The Children Act 1989 is amended as follows.
(2) After section 23C (continuing functions in respect of former relevant children)
“23CZA Arrangements for certain former relevant children to continue to live with former foster parents
(1) Each local authority in England have the duties provided for in subsection (3) in relation to a staying put arrangement.
(2) A “staying put arrangement” is an arrangement under which—
(a) a person who is a former relevant child by virtue of section
(b) a person (a “former foster parent”) who was the former relevant child’s local authority foster parent immediately before the former relevant child ceased to be looked after by the local authority, continue to live together after the former relevant child has ceased to be looked after.
(3) It is the duty of the local authority (in discharging the duties in section 23C(3) and by other means)—
(a) to monitor the staying put arrangement, and
(b) 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.
(4) Support provided to the former foster parent under subsection (3)(b) must include financial support.
(5) Subsection (3)(b) does not apply if the local authority consider that the staying put arrangement is not consistent with the welfare of the former relevant child.