Staying Put Scotland: providing care leavers with connectedness and belonging

Produced as a result of the Looked After Children Strategic Implementation Group, which was set up in 2010.

Aims to assist local authorities and other Corporate Parents in enabling " leavers to remain in secure, stable care placements (foster or residential) until such time as they are ready to move on."

A 'Staying Put' approach enables young people " enjoy a transition from care to adult interdependence that more closely resembles that which is experienced by other young people."

The guidance does not set out a prescriptive model but outlines the principles that should underpin a local approach and gives examples to illustrate how they could be translated into practice.

The guidance set out the research underpinning the approach: showing that young people who leave care only after they are ready for independence have better outcomes.

The key principles set out in the guidance are:

  • young people must be "encouraged, enabled and empowered to remain" in "positive care settings" until ready to move on;
  • no young person should leave care "without the skills and support" they need to succeed;
  • local authorities and Corporate Parent partners should have an explicit commitment to this approach;
  • relationships with carers should, wherever possible, be continued and maintained;
  • accelerated or abrupt transitions should be avoided wherever possible; and
  • the joint planning and multi-agency working principle should be extended to care leavers.

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Housing Options Protocol for Care Leavers: guidance for corporate parents

Drafted with support from the Looked After Children Strategic Implementation Group to support Corporate Parents in putting in place Housing Options Protocols for Care Leavers.

Aims of the guidance:

  • ensuring 'Housing Options Protocols for Care Leavers' are in place across Scotland;
  • to assist Corporate Parents in developing Housing Options Protocols;
  • to ensure consistency in their development and implementation;
  • to ensure care leavers are regarded as a priority group; and
  • to promote current practice that enables successful transitions from care into adulthood.

Six principles of good practice are set out in the guidance:

  • Connection and Belonging: support should reflect the fact that young people need to be part of a "network of positive relationships".
  • Readiness of Care Leavers: young people should be "encouraged, enabled and empowered" to remain in placement until they are ready to leave.
  • Corporate Parenting: As 'family members' all Corporate Parents should play their part. No care leaver should have to present as homeless to access accommodation.
  • Care Leavers' Views: Care leavers "must be actively involved in all decision making processes that directly affect them."
  • Information Sharing: Procedures should be in place to ensure the right information is shared at the right time.

The third section of the guidance sets out how this can be implemented in practice, drawing on best practice from local authorities.

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