Staying Put

Staying Put is the name for staying with your foster carer after you turn 18.

All young people can remain in a Staying Put arrangement with their foster carers when they reach the age of 18. If you want to stay and both you and your foster carer feel it is a good idea and your social worker and personal adviser support the plan, you can.

Every young person will have different reasons for staying with their foster carers after age 18.

For example, you can benefit by

  • being able to stay with carers who can provide support, guidance and care
  • being able to stay to complete education and training courses or whilst studying at university
  • living with carers where you can continue to develop and improve your independence skills
  • staying with your carers and moving to independent living at a time when you feel ready to manage your own place

Age 16 – planning (setting up a Staying Put arrangement)

Planning for Staying Put starts when your 'Permanence Plan' is created, or around your 16th birthday. This is so the arrangements can be ready by your 18th birthday.

Around your 16th birthday we'll talk to you about Staying Put. The people involved will be:

  • your social worker
  • a member of the Leaving Care Team
  • your foster carer
  • your foster carers supervising social worker

You can then tell us what you think you would want when you reach the age of 18 and where you think you would like to live.

If everyone agrees that a Staying Put arrangement would be a good idea, then planning for you to Stay Put will start.

If you are not sure what you want to do when you reach the age of 16 that is ok.  You do not have to make a final decision about Staying Put until around the age of 17½.

Financial arrangements

From age 18, and to help you prepare for moving to independence, your foster carer will stop giving you:

  • pocket money
  • clothing allowance
  • personal allowance

You can replace these payments from your pay if you are working, or by claiming a benefit or Universal Credit if you are in college, on a training course or looking for work. 

We will help you claim any benefits that you are entitled to. 

Your earnings and benefits or Universal Credit will be at least the same, or possibly more than you were given in pocket money, a clothing allowance and a personal allowance.

We will also ask you to pay rent for the Staying Put arrangement, and will help you to claim Housing Benefit/ Universal Credit to do this, if you are not working or you are earning a lower wage.

Living Together Agreements

As you will not be in care from your 18th birthday, there are also some practical issues that will need to be organised.  For example, the day to day arrangements for you and your foster care household. 

Before your 18th birthday you have a Placement Plan that sets out these arrangements. From the age of 18, your Placement Plan will change to a ‘Living Together Agreement’.  This will set out any new or different arrangements for your foster care/Staying Put household.

The new Living Together Agreement will include arrangements such as;

  • What time you are expected home in the evening
  • What to do if you are late home
  • Arrangements for friends and visitors

Most of these issues will already have been organised as part of your Placement Plan, so shouldn’t be a major change.

Stay overs

Part of the decision about having friends or a girlfriend or boyfriend staying over will depend on how well your carer knows them and who else is living in your Staying Put home. 

Smoking and drinking

The arrangements for smoking and drinking in the Staying Put household will depend on:

  • What was agreed before you were 18?
  • What is reasonable?
  • Who lives in the house?
  • Respecting each person in the house

Disclosure and Barring Checks

Because you will still be living in a foster care household, you will need to have a Disclosure and Barring Service check (DBS).  This is generally a formality and something that all adults living in a foster home need. It's one of the legal requirements that have to be followed, particularly if there are young children living in your home.

Moving on

You can remain in your Staying Put arrangement until you are ready to move-on.

This could be:

  • before you turn 21
  • until your 21st birthday
  • until you complete your higher education course (if you are on the course on your 21st birthday)

The actual timescale will depend on your needs. You will discuss and decide this with your Staying Put carer, your social worker and leaving care personal adviser and the Staying Put carers supervising social worker.

If you feel you are ready for independent living, want to move to college or for a job you can leave at any point. But, we would want to plan your move in advance and so ask for at least 28 days' notice.  This is particularly important as it may take time to organise your next accommodation.


As a care leaver you will have a leaving care personal adviser who will support you and help you plan your next steps. This will include any support with education, training or employment, which may include financial support.  Your Staying Put carer will also have a supervising social worker or a support worker.