Guidance on Part 11 (Continuing Care) of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014

Explains the new provision of Continuing Care introduced by Part 11 of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014.

Welfare Assessments

64. Local authorities will need to consider how they will incorporate the Welfare Assessment, having regard to the wellbeing indicators, into their current processes. It may be as part of an existing assessment or as a new Continuing Care assessment. The existing Pathways materials [6] are still relevant to all young people preparing to leave care and can be used to support the final Welfare Assessment.

65. Whatever assessment process is used, best practice would be to incorporate the assessment outcomes into the young person's plan. A copy of the plan must be shared with the young person and the service provider in relation to the young person unless they consider that to do so would place the young person at risk or be incompatible with any legal obligation to which the authority is subject.

66. A young person's Continuing Care placement cannot be ended because there are concerns regarding the welfare or wellbeing of another person in the same placement. It can only be ended if the welfare of the young person in the Continuing Care placement is significantly adversely affected.

67. This does not mean that a challenging relationship within the placement should not be considered as part of a Welfare Assessment but it must be shown that the welfare of the young person in the Continuing Care placement will be significantly adversely affected by the challenging relationship and by continuing to live in the same accommodation.

68. It is expected that all efforts will be made to resolve any issues before they can be considered as a reason for ending a placement. If the placement was suitable when the young person was looked after it is unlikely it would not be suitable when they cease to be looked after.

69. The relationships between a carer and a looked after child is of paramount importance and one of the main reasons along with a consistent home environment that Continuing Care should be encouraged.

70. If neither the relationship between a young person and their carer nor the accommodation can be maintained, it may be that the alternative provided by the local authority comes from another part of the service such as the Aftercare service.

71. As corporate parents all local authority departments including housing departments must work collaboratively to provide suitable accommodation for care leavers. Whatever the resource and service provided, the local authority should ensure that the transition for the young person is as seamless as possible whilst best meeting their needs.

72. Where the duty to provide Continuing Care does not apply or where it cannot be provided due to the circumstances above, the local authority should make every effort to provide a support of an equivalent standard including maintaining existing relationships with carers if appropriate.

73. There will be challenges in providing equivalent support and accommodation particularly if a young person is no longer able to stay within a long established foster placement. In this case the local authority should endeavour to provide accommodation and support which best meets the needs of the young person and should, at least, reflect the support and accommodation that would have been offered had Continuing Care been available.

74. It should again be noted that only if the Welfare Assessment identifies an issue that significantly adversely affects the welfare of a young person, should ending the placement be considered. A local authority must make it clear in the Welfare Assessment that this is something that poses a serious risk to the young person's health and/or wellbeing and cannot be rectified.

75. Every attempt should be made to resolve the issues that are significantly adversely affecting the young person to enable the placement to continue wherever possible. Only in the most exceptional of circumstances would it be expected that an issue identified in a Welfare Assessment as significantly adversely affecting a young person's welfare would be unresolvable.

76. The Welfare Assessment should explicitly evidence and record how ending the placement will reduce the harm being caused to the young person. It must also be shown in a Welfare Assessment how any new accommodation will address the issue that is significantly affecting the young person's welfare, and why this could not have been addressed while staying in the original placement.

77. In carrying out a Welfare Assessment, the local authority must, unless it is not reasonably practicable to do so, seek and have regard to the views of the young person and take all reasonable steps to enable the eligible person to attend and participate in any meetings relating to the Welfare Assessment. (2015 Order, Article 7(1)).

78. The local authority must also ensure that a written record of the views of the young person is prepared and as soon as is reasonably practicable, a copy of that written record is made available to the young person. The written record must be taken into account and recorded as part of the Welfare Assessment. (2015 Order, Article 7(3)).

79. The local authority must also ensure that a written record is prepared of the information and views obtained in the course of carrying out a welfare assessment; the deliberations at any meeting held in connection with any aspect of a welfare assessment and the results of a welfare assessment (2015 Order, Article 7(6)). Local authorities must, as soon as reasonably practicable, provide the eligible person with a copy of the written record of the results of the welfare assessment and must ensure that the contents of that record are explained to the eligible person (2015 Order, Article 7(7)).

80. As Continuing Care is a service provided to young people who are transitioning out of care, The Pathways Handbook is relevant to Continuing Care, and will help practitioners to properly engage a young person in this process.


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