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5.2.3 Placement of Children Looked After in Supported Lodgings

See Staying Put Policy as some care leavers will be in Staying Put Lodgings.

See Factsheet Supported Lodgings that has been prepared for the benefit of carers.

See LCS User Guide.

AMENDMENT

In March 2015, Section 1, What is Supported Lodgings and Who is it For? was revised and updated in respect of the relevant age range and to make reference to Staying Put.


Contents

  1. What is Supported Lodgings and Who is it For?
  2. Referral and Assessment Processes
  3. Matching and Making a Placement


1. What is Supported Lodgings and Who is it For?

Security, continuity and stability may be provided for 16 to18 year olds through a variety of placements including a supported lodgings placement which can meet their needs into adulthood and provide a ‘stepping stone’ transition placement from care to independent living. 

Supported lodgings placements are an intermediate placement for young people leaving residential care, returning to Hertfordshire or where foster care is not appropriate. They provide the opportunity for young people to return to a supported placement in situations where independent living may no longer be viable.

The placement must be well planned. The strengths and vulnerabilities of both the child/young person and the proposed supported lodgings carers must be assessed. Particular regard to the carer’s ability to manage the relationship between the child/young person and the birth parents safely. Potential placements with carers will be considered on a county wide basis The support needs of the young person or the carers must be addressed.

When considering how best to provide a sense of permanence for a young person in their teens plans must take account of the strengths of existing relationships, the young person’s sense of identity, views about themselves and their preferences, and how best to provide continuity as well as permanence. Staying Put Policy will be carried out to try and ensure continuity and stability for him or her.

The supported lodgings scheme provides semi-independent transitional placements for young people from their 16th birthday to their 21st birthday. If a young person is undertaking a higher education course supported lodgings is available up to their 24th birthday.

Supported Lodgings will be provided to meet a young person’s physical and emotional needs, to provide a sense of stability and identity, and the opportunity to develop the young person’s sense of self worth, confidence, positive life skills and ability to form positive relationships in the future.

It is intended that a supported lodgings placement will last throughout childhood and into adulthood.

Young people can be referred to supported lodgings from the age of 15 ½ and can be placed from their 16th birthday.


2. Referral and Assessment Processes

Referrals must be made to the Brokerage Team (formerly the Central Placement Service) on Placement Request Form. Please also see the Placement of Children Looked After Procedure and passed to the Supported Lodgings Team for consideration.

The Supported Lodgings Team will assess the suitability of the young person for the scheme and inform the Brokerage Team if the young person is not assessed as suitable for supported lodgings.

‘Parallel planning’ for a child/young person may involve an assessment regarding, hostel accommodation or specialist semi-independent accommodation. 

If the young person is provisionally assessed as suitable for Supported Lodgings the Supported Lodgings staff will meet the young person and their social worker to make a formal assessment of their suitability and inform the Brokerage Team of the decision.

If the young person is assessed as suitable for Supported Lodgings s/he will be placed on the waiting list and considered at the weekly ‘referral selection and matching’ meeting, chaired by the Team Manager.


3. Matching and Making a Placement

Matching criteria include:

Originating housing authority, cultural needs, gender issues, racial needs, ability and disability, health, education, training and employment needs.

  • The current and predicted future needs of the child/young person;
  • The child’s/young person’s experiences to date;
  • The nature of the child’s/young person’s attachments;
  • The child’s/ young person’s behaviours, responses to particular situations likes, fears, favourite things and activities;
  • Anything else that will assist the carers to understand the day to day needs of the child/ young person’s.

After a suitable match is identified, social workers will arrange an introductory meeting between the young person and the Supported Lodgings carer/s. This meeting should be in the carer(s)’ home and  hosted by the Supported Lodgings Supervising Social Worker. This meeting should discuss the ‘Supported Lodgings Living Together Agreement’  that sets out the expectation of both young person and supported lodgings carer/s in terms of ‘house rules’.

If all parties (young person, young person’s Social Worker, supported lodgings carer and Supported Lodgings Supervising Social Worker) feel the match is positive, a second introduction meeting should take place. This should include the young person and the supported lodgings carer/s and may involve the young person having a meal with the carer(s).

If all parties (young person, young person’s social worker, supported lodgings carer and supported lodgings supervising social worker) continue to feel the match is positive, an overnight stay should be arranged.

Following the overnight stay the young person and the supported lodgings carer/s should make a final decision about the match and suitability of the placement.

Where it is agreed that the match is positive and the young person will move to the placement a date should be set that is ratified by the weekly ‘referral, selection and matching’ meeting.

A Placement Plan Meeting (see the Placement Support Meetings Procedure should take place prior to the young person moving into the placement or on the day the young person moves in. In exceptional and emergency situations where the placement planning meeting can not take place prior to the move it must take place within 72 hours of the young person moving into the placement.

The Placement Plan Meeting  (see Placement Support Meetings Procedure) should also be used to finalise the ‘supported lodgings living together agreement’ which the young person signs.

  • The young person’s Social Worker must complete LCS records;
  • Referral and Information Record Parts;
  • Placement Plan  (completed as far as possible);
  • Pathway Plan.

The young person’s Social Worker must chair the Placement Planning Meeting with the Supported Lodgings, Supervising Social Worker, carer)s) young person, parent(s) as appropriate and provide the carer with:

  • Referral and Plan and Placement Plan (before or at the point  the young person is placed);
  • The Care Plan.

End