When fostered children become eighteen it can be difficult to transition into adulthood. Whilst these individuals cannot continue within the same fostering context it is possible for them to remain with their existing foster carers. These are known as Staying Put arrangements. For those who go on to live alone, financial support and guidance are available. It is also possible for care-leavers to move into a form of supported accommodation. Foster carers have a crucial responsibility in preparing the children in their care for adulthood. It is essential to be aware of the transitional options available for fostered children after eighteen.
Legislative changes ensure that individuals who have been in foster care until the age of twenty-one have the availability of continued support. Local authorities are obliged to support foster carers who want to continue providing help to care-leavers. Although Staying Put arrangements can affect their eligibility to foster children. Especially when the young person has a prior criminal conviction. The remuneration and support framework will also differ. Foster carers often receive a reduced fee with the rest of the money going directly to the young person. The next-steps for care-leavers will be decided as part of a Pathway Plan. The Pathway plan incorporates statutory review meetings with the local authorities and the foster carers themselves.
Through the Pathway Plan, individuals can apply for another form of supported living. Such as supported lodgings or the Shared Lives Scheme. These arrangements place young people in shared accommodation with regular visits from caseworkers to provide aid. Despite this numerous care-leavers go on to live in accommodation alone. These individuals should also receive continued financial support. Those who make the transition into their own accommodation should receive the guidance of a personal-adviser until the age of at least twenty-one. There is also the possibility of an extension for those remaining in education after this stage. These arrangements are supported by regular reviews which help to identify any potential requirements. Financial support is available through Leaving Care Grants which help to support the essential costs of furnishing a home. Those in full-time education can also apply for additional bursaries or benefits.
Regardless of their choice, it is essential for foster carers to prepare the children in their care for independent living. Care-leavers should leave home with proficient financial management, cleaning and cooking skills. Discuss any concerns about the transition to help identify potential problems to work on together. Consider important fundamentals of adult life that they might not be aware of. Such as interest rates and council tax. Support in advance of leaving care can aid in the successful transition towards independent living and can help care-leavers feel less overwhelmed.