Providing Continuing Care Placements
82. The children's hearing will be interested to know what provisions are being made for a young person for whom they are considering removing a compulsory supervision order in the same way as they do currently. The option of Continuing Care should have already been discussed with a looked after young person as part of their throughcare support and prior to a hearing. This information should be included in the report for the hearing.
83. Continuing Care should not be seen by practitioners as a reason for removing a compulsory supervision order if this remains necessary to best support a young person. If it is in the best interest of a young person to remain looked after until eighteen years old then this should be the recommended option. It is important to understand that a young person can leave a Continuing Care placement at any time and is unlikely to be able to return to the placement. This does not prevent a local authority re-accommodating under section 25 of the 1995 Act.
84. Local authorities may also provide a voluntary placement under section 25 of the 1995 Act if it is in the best interest of the young person however, a placement under section 25 of the 1995 Act should not be used as an alternative to a Continuing Care placement. A Continuing Care placement offers significantly more security for the young person than a placement under section 25 of the 1995 Act.
85. Where a young person has on-going complex needs, such as a disability, local authorities and health boards, as corporate parents, will need to ensure that they work collaboratively together to meet the needs of a young person who requests Continuing Care. It will be of crucial importance, in these circumstances, that all parties have the necessary supports and framework to ensure that their respective needs are addressed.
86. Where the Continuing Care provider is a foster carer the provision of foster care for other children and/or young people is not affected by providing a Continuing Care placement. The young person in Continuing Care does not count towards the number of foster placements permitted in the placement.
87. It may be that a foster carer providing a Continuing Care placement will need to apply to be registered as an adult placement in addition to any current registration with children's services. Whilst this may be seen as an additional responsibility for the service provider it may be required to fulfil their responsibilities to provide Continuing Care in the spirit of the legislation. Further advice is available from the Care Inspectorate  .
88. Failing to register carers as an adult placement provider is not a sufficient reason for not providing a young person with Continuing Care. Local authorities as corporate parents are expected to work collaboratively with providers of foster care to fulfil their obligation to provide Continuing Care. They are also required to report to ministers on how they have fulfilled their role as corporate parents.
Continuing Care allowances
89. Continuing Care should be considered only if a compulsory supervision requirement needs to be removed. It is strongly advisable that young people remain 'looked after' until eighteen years old. A local authority should carefully consider the financial implications for a carer offering a Continuing Care placement to ensure that a lack of financial support is not a barrier to the continuation of the placement regardless of whether the young person is in a residential, foster or looked after kinship care placement.
90. Finance should be considered early in the planning process for a Continuing Care placement and as part of throughcare support. The young person should be included in all aspects of planning their Continuing Care placement. Payments made to care leavers for Continuing Care are made under section 26A of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995.
91. Careful consideration should be given to the balance of meeting a carers costs and providing financial support to the young person as part of the on-going process of increasing the young person's personal responsibility. There should be no difference between the planning for a young person's finances before they ceased to be looked after and when they are in Continuing Care. Each case should be assessed based on individual circumstances.
92. Although a young person being provided with Continuing Care under section 26A of the 1995 Act is not, during this period, eligible for aftercare financial support under section 29 of the 1995 Act (see new section 29(2A) of the 1995 Act) as they are not considered care leavers, the support they receive should be no less than a young person in receipt of Aftercare support (Part 10 of the 2014 Act). The 2014 Act provides that young people in Continuing Care are entitled to the same support they received prior to ceasing to be looked after. This includes financial support.
93. A young person in Continuing Care is entitled under section 26A(4) of the 1995 Act to:
"The same accommodation and other assistance as was being provided for the person by the authority…, immediately before the person ceased to be looked after."
94. Once a young person in Continuing Care reaches their eighteenth birthday they may be eligible for Universal Credit, Working Tax Credits and/or Housing Benefit. As corporate parents local authorities and other partners should work collaboratively to ensure that the young person is in receipt of all eligible supports and this should be taken into account in the young person's plan.
95. Following consequential amendments made by The Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 (Consequential Modifications) Order 2016  , any payments in the form of income made to the young person or their carer under section 26A of the 1995 Act (Continuing Care) should be disregarded by the Department for Work and Pensions when calculating that person's benefits, including income support, job-seeker's allowance and housing benefit. This means that such payments will not be taken into account in any benefits claim.
96. If a carer is caring for a sixteen or seventeen year old in a Continuing Care placement it may be that the young person is eligible for job seekers allowance. This allowance should not impact on any benefits claim made by the carer. The local authority must cover the full cost of the Continuing Care placement.
97. It is expected that this may affect a very small number of carers, if any, and a local authority should in this case make every effort to offset any financial burden.
Protocol between local authorities
98. There may be circumstances in which a young person is provided with a Continuing Care placement out with the local authority that had responsibility for their care order. This may be desirable if the young person has lived in the placement for a significant period and has established relationships, education and/or employment in that area and wishes to remain there.
99. Section 21 of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 sets out expected cooperation between local authorities. Section 26A(4) of the 1995 Act states that a young person who is in Continuing Care is entitled to the same supports as they received when they were last looked after and the principle that the local authority who last looked after a young person should remain responsible should be applied for young people in Continuing Care. Where this is impractical local authorities may wish to enter into financial agreements with each other regarding the management of support to the young person.
Young people previously looked after in England and Wales
100. Local authorities should consider that similar principles apply to young people leaving care and requesting a Continuing Care placement in England and Wales.
101. If it is a Scottish local authority that is responsible for the young person, they remain responsible for the young person and have a duty to provide a Continuing Care placement, unless a Welfare Assessment demonstrates that the placement would significantly adversely affect the welfare of the young person and that this cannot be resolved in their current placement. Such circumstances will be extremely rare, as noted earlier in this guidance.
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