To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of staying put allowances in England; and whether he has plans to introduce a national minimum staying put allowance.
7 March 2022
Since the introduction of the Staying Put duty in 2014, the government has provided over £174 million to local authorites to support local implementation including £33 million in the 2021/22 financial year to help young people remain with their former foster carers longer and make a more gradual transition to independence.
Each local authority allocation is determined by the proportion of eligible children they have relative to the national total. The formula uses departmental data on the number of young people in foster care immediately before their 18th birthday to identify the percentage of eligible young people in each local authority and this percentage is then applied to the total national funding available.
Up until the 2019/20 financial year, the funding was based on an assumption that 25% of eligible care leavers would Stay Put, which is the proportion of care leavers who Stayed Put in the pilots, which ran before the legal duty was introduced. However, in the 2019/20 financial year the latest data showed that across the 18-20 age range around 35% of care leavers were Staying Put. This meant that actual take up was 40% higher than the original assumption. As a result, the department increased funding in the 2020/21 financial year by 40% (£9.5 million) to address this. The department will keep Staying Put funding under review during the next spending review period.