South West Safeguarding and Child Protection Procedures
South West Safeguarding and Child Protection Procedures South West Safeguarding and Child Protection Procedures

5.7.7 Supported Lodgings Statement of Purpose

AMENDMENT

This chapter was revised in September 2017 with new Assessment and Approval and Panel processes and revision to the Recruitment and Initial Enquiry Process.


Contents

  1. Context
  2. Relevant Guidance and Legislation
  3. Aims
  4. Objectives
  5. Scope
  6. Recruitment and Initial Enquiry Process
  7. Assessment Process
  8. Approval and Panel Process
  9. Referral Procedures for Young People to Scheme
  10. Placement Procedures
  11. Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Procedures


1. Context

The Wiltshire Council Supported Lodgings Scheme has been developed in response to The Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000 and is underpinned by the Children Act 1989. The main purpose of the Children (Leaving Care) Act is: to improve the life chances of young people living in and leaving care. It places duties on Local Authorities with regard to Leaving Care Services for young people who have been "looked after" by them. These duties include meeting their accommodation and personal needs. Research shows that many young 'care leavers' are disadvantaged by trying to live independently much sooner than their contemporaries, and because there is insufficient suitable and affordable accommodation available.

The Scheme aims to make provision for those young people aged 16+ (who are eligible for services under the act) who are ready to leave care but would benefit from living within a family environment, where they are supported and provided with opportunities to improve their independent living skills, and to ensure they have the opportunity to achieve each of the five Every Child Matters outcomes.

The Scheme can also be accessed by vulnerable young people aged 16 & 17 who are homeless or threatened with homelessness, meeting the requirements of the Homelessness Act 2002 and the R (G) v Southwark Judgement 2009. Supported Lodgings encompasses a range of supported accommodation, offering the support which meets the individual assessed needs of the young person as set out in Section23(2) of the Children Act 1989.

Supported Lodgings generally describes a situation where a young person lives with a family or individual who has a spare room and is willing to provide informal guidance and practical assistance to the young person. The Provider will help the young people develop the practical skills and emotional stability they will need to make the transition to adulthood and make a success of living independently.

The Supported Lodgings Provider does not have parental responsibility for the young person. However, she/he does have responsibility for supporting their progress, reporting any concerns to the young person's Social Worker and Personal Adviser and maintaining regular contact with the Supported Lodgings Supervising Social Worker.


2. Relevant Guidance and Legislation

The Children Act 1989

The Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000

The Children (Leaving Care) Regulations 2001 (Regulation 11).

Guidance to the Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000

Homelessness Act 2002

2009 Southwark Judgement


3. Aims

  • To provide young people leaving care and homeless 16 & 17 year olds, with a safe and supported environment which facilitates the development of practical skills and emotional stability needed to live independently, taking into account their needs in relation to location, education, welfare and health as detailed in the Needs Assessment and Pathway Plan;
  • To meet the five outcomes of Every Child Matters:
    Be Healthy
    Be Safe
    Enjoy and Achieve
    Make a Positive Contribution
    Enjoy Economic Wellbeing
  • To provide a range of secure and safe supported lodgings placements to meet the assessed needs of young people and to promote and safeguard their welfare;
  • To ensure that placements promote stability and positive outcomes for young people by working in partnership with the Providers, young people and other professionals involved in care planning and service delivery to the young people on the scheme;
  • To enable Supported Lodgings Providers, through supervision and training, to provide support, encouragement and guidance that will enable the young people to make the transition to adulthood, progress to independent living and make a full contribution to society.


4. Objectives

  • To recruit and assess carers using the minimal Fostering Regulations standards to provide supported Lodgings for young people aged 16 - 21 (unless in full time education then up to 24);
  • To work in partnership providing a seamless transition from care to independent living with support;
  • To support and train those Providers who have been approved by the panel, enabling them to understand the needs and safeguarding of the young people in their care;
  • To ensure the Placement Plan and Placement Agreement are agreed and met by all parties throughout the placement and reviewed regularly;
  • For the Provider to work together with the young person to develop their independent living skills using the Independent Living Skills assessment and to ensure all the five outcomes of the Every Child Matters are met. These will include developing life skills to enable young adults to understand household budgets and the benefits systems, and setting goals in education and future careers that are achievable and delivers self confidence;
  • Provide a positive safe environment based on continued development and fulfilment.;
  • Embrace a supported living model where each young adult can start to make their own decision on their lifestyle;
  • Follow a person centred planning approach with clear goal setting on the young person's future;
  • Foster strong links with our community to ensure that they have a varied social network;
  • To work in partnership with young people in preparing them for their move to independent living in a planned way.


5. Scope

  • Provide a range of supported accommodation, offering the support which meets the individual assessed needs of the young person as set out in Section23(2) of the Children Act 1989;
  • Make provision for those young people aged 16 - 21 (who are eligible for services under the 1989 Act) who are ready to leave care, and accommodate vulnerable young people aged 16 & 17 who are homeless or threatened with homelessness;
  • Increase the capacity of the scheme to allow for the upturn in 16 & 17 year old vulnerable young people who are homeless or threatened with homelessness, in keeping with the Southwark Judgment 2009;
  • Work in partnership with Fostering hosting joint Recruitment campaigns and advertising, in order to actively promote the Supported Lodgings Scheme and develop the service offering more capacity and location choice to vulnerable young people;
  • To work with the Fostering team to develop a seamless transition from Fostering and Residential Care when moving onto Supported Lodgings;
  • Develop links with other agencies and partners in order to facilitate direct referrals from the scheme to other projects or for move-on to the appropriate independent accommodation when the time is right;
  • Recruit a percentage of carers for emergency accommodation allowing for a planned co-ordinated move-on.


6. Recruitment and Initial Enquiry Process

Initial Enquiry

Where ever the Initial Enquiry comes from e.g. through Fostering, from the internet, Wiltshire Council web pages or through SL advertising, the worker who picks up the enquiry will email the Potential Lodgings Provider full contact details to the supportedlodgings@wiltshire.gov.uk email address where the Accommodation Officer & the Supported Lodgings Social Worker will have access to make the initial contact with enquirer.

  • The Accommodation Officer (or if unavailable the Supported Lodgings Social Worker) will make contact with the Potential Provider within 5 days of the initial enquiry and discuss the Supported Lodgings scheme at length, expectations, training finance etc. The Accommodation Officer then makes a decision as to the suitability of the Potential Provider;
  • For the purpose of monitoring all enquires the Placement Services recruitment template will be used;
  • If the Potential Provider is still interested and appear suitable for the scheme, the Accommodation Officer will make up a pack consisting of the Supported Lodgings Application Form; covering letter of interest; leaflet about Supported Lodgings and consent forms. These will be posted or emailed from the Supportedlodgings@witlshire.gov.uk inbox to the Potential Provider;
  • The Potential Provider will then sign and complete the Application Form and Consent forms and post them back to: Placement Services, Supported Lodgings, County Hall, Bythesea Road, Trowbridge, BA14 8JN. Admin will scan the paperwork onto Care store & carry out Care First checks on children’s and adults Care First. If the Potential Provider is not known they will add them to children’s Care First – creating a J number. They will allocate the Potential Provider to the team and to the relevant Social Worker. If the Potential Provider is known to the Authority, they will e-mail supportedlodgings@wiltshire.gov.uk to inform them of this and provide the Care First ID (the J number). The Supported Lodgings Social Worker would then be responsible for checking the information relating to the Potential Provider to determine whether the application can proceed. If it can, they should respond to admin and ask them to allocate to the team and the Supported Lodgings Supervising Social Worker;
  • If the Applicant is known to the Local Authority, a discussion is held between a manager, the Accommodation Officer and the Supported Lodgings Social Worker as to their suitability. If the decision is made to proceed, the Accommodation Officer will arrange an Initial visit to the Potential Provider. If the decision is made not to proceed the Applicant will be informed as to why verbally and in writing by the supported lodgings social worker;
  • At the initial visit to the Applicants home the Accommodation Officer (and Social Worker if appropriate) will review the completed Application form, and the Potential Provider will confirm that all the details on the form are correct, and a H&S check will be carried out to establish any immediate concerns of the property. The Accommodation Officer will start a paper DBS check to be progressed online;
  • Following the initial visit, if the Accommodation Officer and Supported Lodgings Social Worker feel they can proceed with the assessment, the Accommodation Officer will record the decision as a case recording on care first for the potential provider and alert admin to start taking up the references, NSPCC & SAFFA checks;
  • The Qualifying Carers Assessment (QCA) can be started on agreement with the supervising manager prior to the completion of checks if there is evidence of recent DBS/current professional role with children/young people;
  • The Supported Lodgings Social Worker then contacts the Lodgings Provider to start the full QCA with the Potential Provider;
  • When the references and checks are returned to Placement Services they will scan them onto Care Store and email the Supported Lodgings inbox when they are all complete.

The Supported Lodgings Social Worker then completes the rest of the Assessment visits and presents the report for the team Manager to read on completion for approval, it then goes to panel.


7. Assessment Process

Assessment process for Supported Lodgings for Wiltshire Council:

The Qualifying Carers Assessment (QCA) is a comprehensive assessment used to assess foster carers. Because the role of the Lodgings Provider involves supporting vulnerable young people, the assessment will require detailed information about you and your family. The Potential Lodgings Provider will be asked questions relating to why you want to be a Lodgings Provider, what life experiences you have had that influence you being the person you are today and how that will impact on the young person placed with you. The Fostering Form F has been adapted to meet the Supported Lodgings needs following the national minimum standards.

  • Following the Initial Visit to the Potential Provider if the Senior Accommodation Officer and Social Worker feel they can proceed with the full assessment, all necessary references and checks will now be taken up by Admin;
  • Stage 1 of the Assessment process now starts. This involves information gathering about the family household and its members; their identity; detailed information about the accommodation as well as noting any prior applications to the Local Authority;
  • During stage 1 of the assessment as soon as all references and checks have been returned clear and processed, the Senior Accommodation Officer will arrange for the Housing Standards team (where appropriate) to do Inspection Checks at the potential provider’s home;
  • When the inspection is completed, the Senior Accommodation Officer will liaise with the Housing Standards team (where appropriate) to discuss the report. If work needs to be undertaken, the potential provider will be contacted to arrange a visit to their home to discuss what is required to meet the minimum housing standards;
  • Stage 2 of the Assessment will be undertaken by the Supported Lodgings Social Worker. This will take place over several visits where more detailed information will be collected about the potential provider looking at their experience in caring for young people, their experience of teaching independent living skills and their understanding of Identity, Diversity and of young people’s issues;
  • Every effort will be made to complete stage 1 and stage 2 of the assessment process within the shortest possible timescales. The potential provider will be informed within 10 working days of all the information required for stage 1 being received if they can, or cannot, progress to stage 2;
  • Information gathered at stage 1 & stage 2 of the assessment process will be included in a written report to the supported lodgings panel along with a recommendation by the assessing social worker regarding the potential provider’s suitability to become a supported lodgings carer, and the suitability of their household;
  • The Potential Provider will be given a copy of the report and given 10 working days to comment on the report. Their comments will be presented to the supported lodgings panel with the report;
  • If at any point during stage 2 it appears from information gathered that the Potential Provider may be unsuitable to provide supported lodgings a brief report will be written and presented to the supported lodgings panel for consideration and panel recommendation. They will be given a copy of the brief report and 10 working days for your comments which will be presented to the supported lodgings panel with the brief report;
  • At any point during stage 2 the Potential Provider may withdraw from the process and the assessment will be discontinued;
  • When the Qualifying Carers Assessment is completed by the supported Lodgings Social Worker, the Accommodation Officer will read the report for agreement; it will then be passed onto the Manager for Approval.


8. Approval and Panel Process

The following procedure has been agreed for Supported Lodgings Panels:

Panel members will receive information around the role and expectations of a supported lodgings provider as well as continued briefing. This is to ensure that when the panel reconvenes from the foster panel to a supported lodgings panel there is no confusion between the roles of a foster carer and a supported lodgings provider.

  1. When the completed Application is received the Supervising Social Worker will follow procedures for booking a place on the panel;
  2. When the Qualifying Carers Assessment is completed by the Social Worker, it will then be passed onto the Team Manager for Approval.
    1. All bookings will be treated as provisional until the deadline for the Panel has been confirmed;
    2. To book an item onto Panel please contact Placementservicespanels@wiltshire.gov.uk or discuss requirements with the Panel Administrators;
    3. If a Panel is over-subscribed the Fostering Service Manager will advise the Panel administrators of the priorities affording equal and fair opportunity for both fostering and supported lodgings to be represented at that panel. Any prospective provider removed from the over-subscribed Panel will be offered the next available Panel date or where demand is such an additional Panel may be convened.
  3. A booking email will be generated by the Panel administrators and sent to the relevant Social Worker. This will include dates of submission for papers and a list of required papers for the Qualifying Carers Assessment (Appendix 1);
  4. A reminder of the deadline will be sent by the Panel administrators one week prior to the deadline date;
  5. Submitting Paperwork:
    1. All paperwork should be collated into the order it should be read by the Panel and submitted to the Panel administrators electronically as one bundle, including signed pages;
    2. A copy of the training notes about Supported Lodgings should be included in the bundle submitted to the Panel administrators;
    3. All parts requiring signatures should be signed by all concerned before submission NB do not forget to allow time for the manager to quality assure the paperwork;
    4. If there is a reason why paperwork cannot be signed by the applicants (EG they do not live locally) the Social Worker is required to bring a signed copy on the day of Panel for the Chairs attention;
    5. In exceptional circumstances, paperwork not ready on time will be granted an extension by the Fostering Service Manager. However, this must be discussed before the deadline date;
    6. If an extension is agreed, the worker will be expected to submit sufficient copies for all the attending Panel members to the Panel administrators. Please liaise with Panel Administrators regarding the quantity required. All papers should be copied back to back;
    7. Supported Lodgings Social Workers are directly responsible for submitting all required papers for Panel which relate to the supported lodgings provider, including previous Panel minutes and they should include any material completed by the Child’s Social Worker;
    8. Incomplete paperwork will be handed back to the Social Worker, who will be asked to resubmit the papers once complete.
  6. Admin sets up a panel date inviting the panel members; potential provider, supported lodgings social worker and any identified additional members;
  7. In exceptional circumstances, permission may be granted to hand out very short pieces of the relevant paperwork on the day of Panel. If this occurs, sufficient copies must be produced by the Supported Lodgings Social Worker for all attending Panel members and the Minute Taker;
  8. If paperwork has not been submitted on the deadline date and the Panel Administrators have not been informed that an extension has been agreed, the agenda item will be removed and booked onto the next available Panel date. N.B. it is not guaranteed that this will be the next Panel date scheduled.

PANEL DAY OUTLINE

  • The supported lodgings panel will take place immediately after the foster panel has convened;
  • Panel members are expected to come to the panel meeting having read the report and the training notes around supported lodgings;
  • Panel members will receive a brief information session before the panel convenes around supported lodgings, to distinguish the differences between that and fostering. This is to expand upon the training information they have already received with the submitted assessment paperwork;
  • The Panel meeting is directed by the Independent Chair. The panel members spend the first part of the meeting discussing the report/assessment;
  • During the 2nd part of the panel meeting the assessing social worker and the prospective provider will be invited into the panel for questions;
  • The Panel will invite the prospective provider and assessing social worker to answer questions;
  • Then the prospective provider will leave the panel meeting to enable the panel to make a recommendation;
  • The independent chair will then inform the social worker and provider of the recommendation;
  • Admin will record in the minutes the panel’s recommendations, the type of Approval, terms and conditions which will then be considered by the Agency Decision Maker;
  • Admin will prepare the letter of Approval for the Team Manager to sign using the template, they will then send it out to the newly Approved provider;
  • Admin will upload all the documents involved in the panel/approval process to the provider’s electronic file.

After the Approval the supported lodgings provider will be expected to participate in their annual review meetings where approval status can be changed.


9. Referral Procedures for Young People to Scheme

Having completed the assessment and training process to become a Supported Lodgings Provider, how do you end up with a particular young person? How do we decide which young people are suitable for the scheme and how do we match Lodgings Providers with young people?

Referral Process

*All the highlighted Supportive Lodgings Forms can be found on the wire under Supportive Lodgings.

  • Eligible Young People to the supported lodgings scheme are S.20, S.17, S.47 or a care leaver over 18 in education. They must be in training, education or employment or have a clear plan written in their Placement Plan or Single Assessment;
  • Social Worker/Personal Advisor discusses suitability of Supported Lodgings with their Manager at supervision. The Manager signs the completed Universal Referral form either by hand or with an Electronic Signature when completed by the worker.

The Social Worker or Personal Advisor for the young person completes these 5 documents and emails them FPduty. Until all 5 documents are submitted to FPduty placements will not be considered.

  1. The Universal Referral form for 16+;
  2. The Independent Living Skills assessment to be completed by the social worker/personal advisor with the young person to establish level of need. This is now attached to the Universal Referral form, (and can also be used as evidence for move on from supported lodgings throughout the placement);
  3. A Pathway Plan for LAC or a Single Assessment for S.17 and S.47;
  4. A Risk Assessment needs to be completed to highlight areas of concern the Providers need to be aware of and for matching placements. Carefirst: ICS Menu►Add►QuestionaireContext►FS►Assessment Type►2.6 Risk Assessment;
  5. The Young Person’s Application Form to be emailed/scanned to FPduty with the other referral documents; and the young person is given The Young Person’s Information Book to understand the scheme.
    (These master documents are held by FPduty in the supported lodgings folder);
  6. When all the paperwork is returned to FPduty, it will be forwarded to the supportedLodgings@wiltshire.gov.uk inbox, where a joint decision will be made as to the suitability of the young person for supported lodgings and matching of the young person to a suitable Provider;
  7. FPduty will save all the referral documents in the supported lodgings folder held by FPduty;
  8. A ‘meet and greet’ meeting with the supported lodgings social worker, supported lodgings provider, and young person with their social worker or personal advisor is arranged. An overnight stay with a meal is discussed with the Providers, to see if the young person likes it there and that they all get along;
  9. If the overnight stay is successful and the young person wants to proceed the social worker/personal advisor will inform the supported lodgings social worker and accommodation office by emailing them at: supportedlodgings@wiltshire.gov.uk inbox. If the lodgings provider is also in agreement a planned move is arranged;
  10. Once in placement the Social Worker or Personal Advisor must provide the appropriate support to the young person dependent on their level of need.

Emergency Referral

Emergency Placements should be an exception, but it is accepted that it may be necessary to request an admission in an emergency. The length of an emergency placement is 4 weeks.

In the event of an emergency placement being required during working hours, permission must be obtained by the Team Manager, or The Head of Service who will countersign the fully completed referral, if necessary the case should then be booked into the first available Placement Panel with all the relevant paperwork available.

In the event of out of hour's accommodation, if there is a suitable Supported Lodgings Provider able to take emergencies, the case must be booked into the next available panel with all the relevant paperwork available.

In the event of an Emergency Placement being made a planning meeting must be held with 72 hours of being placed.

If the case is being presented retrospectively there must be evidence to demonstrate that a Single Assessment and Care Plan/Pathway Plan have been instigated or complete, at the point of accommodation was available.


10. Placement Procedures

First Meeting / Meet and Greet

The Supported Lodgings Social Worker will arrange a convenient time for the young person to meet the Provider at their home and with their worker. This will enable the young person to view the supported lodgings home, and meet the Provider. It is also an opportunity for both parties to share information about themselves, discuss expectations of the placement and ask any questions.

For example, you may outline potential house rules and discuss with the young person some independence living skills they may wish to develop and how you could assist them.

After the Meet and Greet, the Supported Lodgings Social Worker will contact the Provider and the Social Worker/Personal Adviser of the young person. If they both want to continue there will be a Placement Agreement Meeting.

Placement Agreement Meeting

The Supported Lodgings Social Worker and the Social Worker/Personal Adviser will co-ordinate a satisfactory moving in date and time to suit the Provider and young person. At this meeting the SL16 Placement Agreement will be drawn up between the Provider, young person and their Social Worker/Personal Adviser. This should involve an exchange of relevant information so that the Provider has a full understanding of the young person's needs and their role in responding to these needs. The Plan must be explicit about the respective roles and responsibilities of the placement provider and all professionals involved in contributing to the Plan.

The Plan must include:

  • The safeguarding responsibilities of the placement provider and the local authority;
  • The frequency of visits the young person can expect from their Social Worker/Personal Adviser/other involved professionals;
  • Communication arrangements between the placement provider and the social worker/Personal Adviser;
  • The placement providers responsibilities for notifying the Social Worker/Personal adviser of any significant change in the young person's circumstances;
  • Arrangements for giving notice to terminate the placement and arrangements for convening a review if the placement is at risk of being terminated.

The Placement Agreement you make with the young person sets out your expectations in relation to:

  • House rules;
  • Accommodation on offer;
  • Support;
  • Financial arrangements;
  • Moving on.

House Rules

The agreement asks the young person to respect the Provider's home and abide by the rules specified. The agreement is designed to be flexible so that the Provider and the young person can negotiate and agree upon rules that suit their individual living arrangements. The plan can be added to according to each individual need; it is not set in stone.

It is hoped that this type of agreement means that we can match the young person with lodgings that best suit her/his individual needs, thus increasing the likelihood of a positive outcome.

Claiming Housing Benefit at 18 for the young person

There is a Housing Benefits pack available for supported Lodgings for Personal Advisor’s and Social Worker’s to complete 4 weeks before the young person’s 18th birthday. This Includes a Rent Proof letter, Licence Agreement & HB form to complete. The provider also has a copy of the Housing Application Form with guidance on the sections they need to complete as a provider.

This needs to be submitted to Chippenham Monkton Park, c/o Penny Hampton, Benefits Manager. Then pay will be 2 weeks in arrears, not 4 weeks. This pack will be held by the Local Business manager’s Chris Hodgson for Lac North & Jessica Butler for LAC South. As long as HB claims are submitted at least 4 weeks before their 18th birthday; the Personal Advisor can adjust the carer’s payments from the department 2 weeks after their 18th birthday.

Enquiries for Supported Lodgings claims can go direct to Penny Hampton.


11. Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Procedures

  1. When a UASC (Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Child) has been placed with a Supportive Lodgings Provider either by EDS, or Police in an emergency situation, the Social Worker involved should inform the the supported lodgings supervising social worker at the first available opportunity;
  2. Information about the UASC must be provided to FP Duty and the supported lodgings supervising social worker with as many details as possible concerning the young person - a copy of the Universal Referral alongside the Preliminary Age Assessment, must be forwarded to the supported lodgings supervising social worker. This is to ensure that a matching process can take place;
  3. If at eighteen a former relevant UASC has exhausted all rights to appeal, then a referral Section 4 Application should be completed by the social worker or personal adviser of the UASC for Adult Services via the Home Office;
  4. If at eighteen the UASC has an ongoing appeal the Local Authority still have a duty to support and accommodate the young person. That means:
    • The UASC will be in Supportive Lodgings;
    • The Personal Adviser has a duty to offer advice and support and to continue raising the financial assistance forms for the UASC according to their assessed needs.
  5. The Barking and Dagenham Judgement have ruled that it is not permissible for the Local Authority to send Former UASC to the Home Office for accommodation.

    Once an Asylum Seeker has been granted Refugee Status, they are entitled to full public funds, Housing Benefit (HB), Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) and Income Support (IS); Healthcare; and Education.

    Benefits then need to claimed by the UASC with help from their Personal Adviser. When payments starts, the Income Support replaces the Personal Allowance paid to the young person through the Personal Adviser. Housing Benefit is paid directly to the Supported Lodgings Provider, the Personal Adviser will then arrange for the department to continue to top the rent up to the agreed Supported Lodgings rate up to the age of 21 and up to a maximum age of 24 if the young person continues to pursue a program of higher education as set out in their Pathway Plan.

End