One of the most important decisions we must agree with you as a Young Adult leaving our care is where you are going to live. It is very important that wherever you live, it is safe and feels like a home. Your after-care personal advisor or social worker is here to help you with this.
All plans for where you live need to be included in your Pathway Plan, and agreed at your reviews. If you are living with foster carers and want to stay there after you turn 18, if both you and the foster carer agree, we will support you to remain there. This is called ‘Staying Put’.
A Staying Put arrangement refers to a situation where a young person meets the following criteria:
- They have been looked after for a total of at least 13 weeks since the age of 14,
- and remained looked after on or after their 16th birthday
- and remain living with their foster carer when they turn 18.
The local authority must facilitate, monitor, and support staying put arrangements for fostered young people until they reach the age of 21.
This arrangement must offer young adults the option to stay living with their foster carers until they feel ready to live independently.
If you've been living in a residential care environment, like a children’s home, we'll help you to stay in touch with special adults there. We'll usually try to help you to live locally in Harrow, so you may see less of them. This is something you could write into your pathway plan if it is important to you.
Having somewhere warm and safe to live is very important. If you were living in a family with your parents, it is unlikely you would move away to live alone at the young age of 18 years old. That's why we encourage you to stay living with the carers you know, or at least stay very close by. This ensures that support for you is within easy reach.
We want to make sure you develop skills to live independently and we will discuss this with you regularly. Your pathway plan will make very clear what is helpful for you and how we are going to manage this together.
We want you to be independent, so this is one of the most important things about your future planning! When you turn 18 you can live at one of the following:
- Staying put: We will help you remain with a foster family, if you are already living with that family after turning 18, for as long as you need. Moving to semi-independence or full independence will only happen when you are practically, mentally and emotionally ready.
- Supported accommodation: A shared house or flat where you have your own room but share some facilities with other young people. You'll receive support from a key worker.
- Supported lodgings: This is sharing with an adult who can help if you need it. But they will also be able to support you to live independently in their home.
- The YMCA England & Wales works with Harrow through local YMCA: They provide safe, secure and affordable accommodation for young people. Their aim is to help you develop skills to live independently.
- Training flat: A short term let in one of our training flats. This is a trial for living independently. You'll be able to demonstrate your skills before being put forward for social housing.
- Independent accommodation from a housing association or a privately rented landlord. For this option you'll need agreement from your personal advisor or social worker. You may be supported with one month's rent and a deposit to privately rent a property.
- Returning to live with your family is another option that might be right for you.
- You'll have the option to bid for a studio or one-bedroom flat. If you qualify you'll be allocated a priority housing band (band A). These homes are known as LOCATA flats. To qualify you'll need to demonstrate your ability to meet the following criteria:
- manage a tenancy
- budget and live independently
- and have the right to live in the UK
Moving to live on your own is a big step. It’s not just about paying bills and cooking your own food. It’s also about staying healthy and getting on with your neighbours.
Your social worker/personal advisor will talk to you as part of the pathway planning process about the best ways for this to be a success that lasts.
Moving in day
We will be there to make sure everything goes smoothly on your moving in day. We realise this can be an exciting but also scary time. Your worker will be there with you every step of the way for emotional and practical support.
We'll help you settle in and make sure all practical things are in place such as water, gas and electricity.