Payment of the accommodation costs of young people under the age of 18 who meet the criteria of the Children (Leaving Care) Act is the responsibility of the Council. They are not entitled to Housing Benefit.
The Council will pay accommodation support costs and any heating and lighting costs included in the rent, but will not pay for meals. The young person must pay for these themselves.
Under the Care Leavers (England) Regulations 2010 and Planning Transition into Adulthood for Care Leavers Guidance, the Local Authority must provide information about extending placements post-18, covering:
For a young person living in foster care, the first Looked After Review following his or her 16th birthday should consider whether a Staying Put Arrangement should be an option. This will entail assessing the implications for both the young person and the foster carer.
Following the young person's 18th birthday, the legal basis on which they occupy the property (former foster home) changes (the legal term is that the young person becomes an 'excluded licensee' lodging in the home) - this should not denote that the young person will be treated differently than they were as a fostered child.
Procedures should be agreed at the outset about how any wish by the carer to bring the arrangements to an end should be managed.
While Fostering Regulations will no longer legally apply to these arrangements, key standards should continue to govern the expectations of the placement when the young person reaches 18. These will be:
The Local Authority will assess individual circumstances and consider the appropriateness of all of these checks particularly where the young person is the only person placed/living with their carer/s and it is not envisaged that further children will be placed.
Bond applications should be made as part of the Leaving Care Grant application. Young people over 18 should apply in the first instance to Smartmove.
The Leaving Care Worker will be responsible for identifying suitable accommodation with the young person, in line with the Pathway Plan and with the support and assistance of other members of the Pathway Planning Group.
Young people aged 17 and under will not be placed in Bed and Breakfast Accommodation. Only in very exceptional circumstances should young people leaving care be placed in Bed and Breakfast Accommodation. This will only occur when a young person aged 18 or over presents as homeless to the housing officer and the housing department having no other suitable accommodation makes the offer of Bed and Breakfast Accommodation.
Accommodation costs must be reasonable. "Reasonable" will be defined according to Housing Benefit standards. It is the responsibility of the Pathway Worker to ensure the costs meet the standards which are as follows:
Housing Benefit advises that Housing Associations' rents are already set at Housing Benefit "reasonable" rates, and therefore do not need to be individually confirmed by Housing Benefit. However workers should ensure that the accommodation matches occupancy rates i.e. a single person should not take a tenancy on two- bedroomed accommodation.
Supported Lodgings scheme rates are also agreed in advance by Housing Benefit, and therefore do not need to be checked.
Where a young person wishes to take a private tenancy, the Pathway Worker should ask Housing Benefit Section whether a reasonable rent has been agreed for this property. If there is no reasonable rent, Housing Benefit will send a Pre-tenancy Determination Form to the worker for completion, in order that the Rent Officer may determine a reasonable rent.
Single Room Rent rules will continue to apply to young people not on care orders. The Single Room Rent rule states that the maximum rent to be used in Housing Benefit calculations for single claimants under the age of 22 is the Single Room Rent (i.e. single room with shared use of toilet and kitchen) unless the young person:
Pathway Workers must ensure that young people under 18 are aware of this before allowing them to take tenancies in the deregulated private sector.
Prospective landlords should be advised that the Council will pay the accommodation costs direct, and that payment will be by invoice in arrears. They will be provided with an order number, which must be quoted on the invoice.
If the landlord refuses to accept these terms or if there is a reason why it is preferable for the young person to receive the rent direct, the Leaving Care Worker should gain agreement from the Pathway Team Manager.In exceptional cases the Pathway Team Manager may agree to make payment in a different way. The Pathway Team Manager will record any decision as a management decision on the young person's CASS record. For procedures for payments in advance see Section 7, Reviewing Arrangements.
If a Relevant Young Person or Eligible Young Person moves to 'unregulated' accommodation (i.e. accommodation that is not regulated/inspected by OFSTED), the Local Authority must:
Matters to which the Local Authority is to have regard in determining suitability of accommodation (under Schedule 2 to the Care Leavers Regulations 2010 and Schedule 6 of the Care Planning, Placement and Case Review Regulations 2010):
The Leaving Care Personal Worker should ascertain from the prospective landlord whether a bond will be required.
Bonds are paid through the Setting up Home Grant.
For young people over 18, the Pathway Worker, in consultation with the young person, should determine whether the best interests of the young person would be best served by paying the rent direct to the landlord (see Accommodation Costs Application Form) or to the young person.
The Pathway Worker will complete a Financial Pathway Plan with clear start and end dates.
Where the proposed accommodation does not have a known end date, the Pathway Worker should put the date of the young person's 18th birthday for young people aged 16 or 17.The Team Manager Leaving Care Team should authorise the Financial Pathway Plan. Where accommodation is provided by an independent provider and is commissioned by Children's Social Care, the Pathway Team Manager will ensure that the necessary orders are raised on the financial system in order to process invoices accordingly.
The landlord will be required to send the invoice to the Leaving Care Team.Within 5 working days of receipt, the Team Manager, Pathway Team will sign the invoice to confirm that the service has been received by the young person. The Admin Officer will process the invoice to ensure payment is made.
It is the ongoing responsibility of the Pathway Worker to ensure that the young person continues to live at the accommodation, that it remains suitable and that the rent being paid is correct.
The young person's accommodation must be reviewed at each Pathway Planning Review.
To amend accommodation costs the Pathway Worker should complete a new Financial Pathway Plan.It is the responsibility of the Pathway Worker to ensure that the young person is aware that they will be responsible for their own accommodation costs from the age of 18. Where applicable, the Pathway Worker should ensure that the young person's Housing Benefit Application Form is completed and received by Housing Benefit section prior to their 18th birthday.
The Pathway Worker is responsible for advising and assisting the young person in terminating a tenancy.
The Pathway Worker should notify the Pathway Admin Officer if there was a bond attached to the property.
The Pathway Admin Officer is responsible for liaising with the landlord for the recovery of the bond.When the bond has been recovered, and if it is not required as a further bond, the Pathway Worker should supervise the young person in spending the money on items they need.
Young people under the age of 18 who meet the leaving care criteria under the previous procedures (for details please see Leaving Care Procedure, Appendix 1, Table of Eligibility for Referral to the Leaving Care Team) are entitled to a Rent Guarantee from Children's Social Care Services in order to secure accommodation.
The Rent Guarantee Letter must be signed by the relevant social work Team Manager. It is the responsibility of the Team Manager to ensure that the young person is entitled to the service.
As part of a Pathway Plan, a young person requires a contingency plan.
Only valid for 48hrs