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2.1.5 Supported Lodgings

AMENDMENT

This chapter was amended in September 2011 in relation to the Care Leavers (England) Regulations 2010 and Planning Transition to Adulthood for Care Leavers Guidance.

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

Supported Lodgings Policy Statement

Supported Lodgings: Providing a bridge to independent living for young people


Contents

  1. Client Group
  2. What Supported Lodgings Provide
  3. Recruitment of Providers and Selection Process
  4. The Training of Prospective Providers
  5. Continuing the Assessment Process
  6. Panel - Preparation
  7. Panel - On the Day
  8. Ongoing Work with Providers
  9. Annual Review of Providers
  10. De-registration of Providers
  11. The Young Person in Placement - Referral and Matching
  12. The Young Person in Placement - Emergencies
  13. The Young Person in Placement - Support, Conditions and Regulations


1. Client Group

The young people requiring supported accommodation will be local authority care leavers/vulnerable young people who are unable to live at home. The priority age ranges will be 16-17. Placements can be extended up to 21, or 24 if the young person is in further or higher education.


2. What Supported Lodgings Provide

The Supported Lodgings Service is intended to provide young people with a gradual step between leaving local authority care or their home environment and independent living, and those young people who are homeless or in the Youth Justice System and require support to enable them to develop life skills.

The Local Authority must have regard in determining suitability of accommodation (under Schedule 2 to the Care Leavers Regulations 2010 and Schedule 6 of the Care Planning, Placement and Case Review Regulations 2010):

  1. In respect of the accommodation:
    1. The facilities and services provided
    2. The state of repair
    3. The safety
    4. The location
    5. The support
    6. The tenancy status, and
    7. The financial commitments involved for the relevant young person and their affordability.
  2. In respect of the Relevant young person:
    1. His or her views about the accommodation
    2. His or her understanding of their rights and responsibilities in relation to the accommodation, and
    3. His or her understanding of funding arrangements.


3. Recruitment of Providers and Selection Process

The accommodation providers are recruited from the Hull and East Riding of Yorkshire area. The process of assessment and approval of Supported Lodgings providers aims to achieve a balance between ensuring that placements are safe and thoroughly vetted whilst not being excessive to a level which deters applicants, and that this is in accordance with the level of input which is requested of them.

The Supported Lodgings providers will be approved for up to two young people. This could be extended in an emergency or for siblings groups.

Upon initial contact with or enquiry from a prospective provider a Worker or Admin will arrange for an enquiry form to be completed and enter the enquiry on the Register of Enquiries.

Admin will send scheme leaflets to the prospective provider, together with an application form. This is an important step because all the basic information about the potential provider is obtained, as well as their written consent to pursue the necessary enquires.

Admin will set up a case file. A contents sheet has been produced:

Decision to be made about home interview

If a home interview is appropriate Admin will send out a letter arranging this.

A designated Worker will make a home visit, during the visit will make an initial assessment of the viability of the placement. If this is the case s/he will complete a DBS check form and leave a copy of the Application Form, Reference and Medical Forms, the Household Profile and arrange a completion date. The Worker must make it clear to the applicant(s) that the personal reference forms will not be shared with them upon completion.

Using the Personal Referee details Admin will send each referee a Provider’s reference form.

Admin will also arrange for completed medical forms to be sent to the Medical Advisor at:-

The Looked After Children Health Team
John Havelot House
Grange Road
Bilton Grange
Hull: HU9 4LQ

Tel: 01482 303891

The outcome of checks and references, including medical information, should normally be awaited before the applicants are invited to attend the Training Programme. The decision to proceed at this stage is made by the Group Manager / Service Manager.


4. The Training of Prospective Providers

The introductory training ‘Choosing Supported Lodgings’ is available to applicants spouse, partners and children in the household.

The training course forms part of the assessment process and applicants should be made aware of this. Observations will be made of applicants’ participation and contributions. Problems or concerns arising will be discussed with the applicants at the next stage.


5. Continuing the Assessment Process

The Group Manager / Service Manager will make sure that a Worker is allocated to complete the assessment. The applicant is asked to complete a Self Assessment Portfolio which is used to assist this process. This form contains a lot of useful information about the expectations and challenges of looking after a young person, and can be a useful starting point for discussions with the applicant. As part of the self assessment process the applicant will also complete a Young Person Scenarios form, this will allow the worker to better understand how the applicant(s) might react in certain situations.

At this point an office interview of the prospective carers may be offered by the Manager and/or the worker.

It will be necessary for the Worker to:

  1. Visit the applicants’ home and thoroughly address with them the structural and safety issues contained in the Health and Safety check list
  2. Meet with the applicants’ children and use the Children’s comments form to record their views on the proposal of providing supported lodgings (age appropriately). Obviously parental approval must be obtained for this and the forms counter-signed by a parent.
  3. Seek reference(s) from the applicants’ employer(s) using the standard letter signed by the Manager
  4. Write to the applicant, using the “letter from parent” which explains that as part of the assessment procedure the Service would like to write to the school(s) of the of their child(ren) to better understand the situation of each individual in the household. A permissions form is included. The subsequent letter to the school also explains the process and a feedback form is included.
  5. Give the applicant(s) regular feedback throughout the assessment process, and make it clear that approval rests with the panel.
  6. Complete an Assessor’s Summary report. This is a more descriptive document and allows the assessor to present a pen-picture of the applicant and will build on the self assessment portfolio and application information. It must be signed by all parties on completion.
  7. Give the applicants a copy of the Assessment (excluding third party information) to read on completion. They should be invited to comment and may contribute an addendum if they wish.
  8. Book an appointment for application to be heard at Panel, inform applicants of the date and make sure that they fully understand the role of the Panel.

During the assessment process the Manager will:

  1. Undertake a management audit of the applicants file during the Assessment. The file should be signed by the Manager who has audited it. Any queries should be addressed and recorded within the supervision process.
  2. Read and sign the Assessment prior to presentation to Panel.
  3. In the event of a difference of opinion regarding an area of assessment, the Manager or equivalent should appoint an independent worker (i.e., not the Supported Accommodation Worker) to conduct an independent visit. The independent visitor will write a report of their visit which must accompany other papers sent to panel.


6. Panel - Preparation

The Panel is held quarterly. The Panel confirms registrations, re-registrations and de-registrations.

The Worker will:

  1. Send the papers to the Panel Clerk so that they arrive at least 10 days before the Panel date. Papers must include:
    1. Assessment Form,
    2. DBS checks,
    3. Medical forms (with comments from Health Co-ordinators)
    4. Children in household comments
    5. Household profile
    6. Submissions from Referees
    7. Reports and submissions from all other relevant agencies and teams which were highlighted on the Application form, when consent was gained to make the enquiries (e.g. previous fostering records, other local authority records, Armed Services records, Probation)
  2. Be responsible for ensuring that the Panel Clerk has a list of all invitees.

The Panel Clerk will use a standard letter to send invitations out for the Panel hearing, and a standard listing of the progress of those involved and documents returned.


7. Panel - On the Day

Typically (2006) the panel is made up of:

Panel Chair:   Group Manager / Service Manager
Panel Vice Chair: Policy Officer
Panel Members: 

IYS Manager

Team Manager / Consultant Social Worker

Personal Advisor

Supported Lodgings Provider

Community Care Nurse

Fostering Social Worker

Supported Lodgings Manager

Panel Clerk (Minutes):  Supported Lodgings Administration

Those who attend the panel who are not Hull Children’s and Young People’s Services staff will be asked (via the Panel Clerk) to sign a confidentiality agreement form.

The Supported Lodgings Service use a range of forms to assist the Panel: Agenda, Panel check list, Panel Chair’s comments, and a standardised Panel Pack.

Applicants will have been invited to attend the Panel hearing. After an initial Panel discussion with the Supported Accommodation Worker, the Applicants will be invited into the meeting. If the applicants are unable to attend the Worker must ensure that their views are fully presented. Where possible difficulties of any sort are foreseen the Worker has a duty to make the Panel Chair aware in advance.

The Panel makes recommendations which will be recorded in Panel Minutes to be signed by the Chair. Panel minutes must record whether or not applicants are suitable to act as lodging providers and the terms on which approval is given.

Following the panel a decision record will be signed by the Group Manager / Service Manager.

If approved, the accommodation providers will receive a letter from the Group Manager / Service Manager and should be informed by visit or telephone by the Supported Accommodation Worker. The written notice of approval will specify the terms of approval e.g. number of young people, types of placements and other circumstances.

If not approved, or if the terms of approval are not as the applicants wanted, the applicants must be visited by the Worker and the reasons discussed with them. They must also be written to by the Panel Chair. This letter will state why the panel decided against approval.


8. Ongoing Work with Providers

Following approval a Welcome Pack will be sent to the provider containing useful information on the roles and responsibilities of providers and support workers, legislation, allowances and procedures. The pack will also include the Supported Lodgings Agreement which the provider will be invited to sign and retain a copy.

A welcome pack is utilised and will be inserted into there procedures in due course.

The Worker will be clear that:

  1. Accommodation providers will be paid the equivalent of the mainstream foster carer rate.
  2. Training will be mandatory in order to provide a quality service. This will consist of core training with additional training identified during the assessment to be followed up.
  3. Support will be provided to accommodation providers by way of regular, individual supervision, support meetings, any additional support provided on a needs basis.
  4. Reviewing approval of accommodation providers will take place annually.
  5. DBS checks to be completed 3 yearly in line with current policy

The Worker will have supervision sessions with the providers and use a Supervision form.


9. Annual Review of Providers

All Placements have to be Reviewed by Panel annually. Standard letters are sent out by Admin;

With these a Provider’s comments form (SL9) is included:

The young person’s Social Worker/Personal Advisor’s comments are requested using SL24:

The Supported Lodgings team present their views on SL10 to be signed by the Worker and the Manager.

Any young person placed during the previous year will be asked for their comments

If approved at the annual review the same admin procedure is followed at section 11 (day of panel).

The decision to temporary amend the terms of approval must be made by the Group Manager / Service Manager. The decision should be recorded on the appropriate form, copies of which should be supplied to the Supported Lodgings Panel and the provider. A decision to temporary amend the terms on which approval is made should be reviewed on a monthly basis. If the child or young person is likely to remain in placement for a period of more than 3 months the provider’s approval and terms of approval should be reviewed by the panel.


10. De-registration of Providers

De-registrations must be presented to the Supported Lodgings Panel. The provider will be asked to complete the relevant form and the supported lodgings worker will complete a de-registration report. This report must outline the reasons for de-registration and be countersigned by the Group Manager / Service Manager. A copy of which is then forwarded to the provider for their information.

Following the panel decision the providers will receive the decision in writing and any necessary follow up support will be identified by the Worker.


11. The Young Person in Placement - Referral and Matching

The Personal Advisor or Social worker will make an application in writing to the service using the relevant forms:

As well as the referral form the Supported Lodgings team will require an up to date ‘Child’s Plan’ or ‘Pathway Plan’ that demonstrates that the move to supported lodgings is part of the overall child/young persons plan. Where the cases referred are still held by the Locality Teams these must initially be authorised by the Principal Child Care Manager.

The Supported Lodgings Team will commence the matching of the young person to a placement using the request for Supported Lodgings and Needs & Safety forms along with the providers profile and portfolio.

It will be necessary for the Worker to arrange meetings between the Young Person, the Provider(s), and the social worker to achieve a positive introduction at a pace that the young person and the providers can cope with.

The Worker will:

  1. Share information provided on the referral forms with the young person and the provider. The provider will retain a copy of these forms upon placement.
  2. Request the social worker/personal advisor produce a placement plan with the young person. The provider will receive a copy of the plan upon placement.

The decision as to whether the placement is to go ahead should be on the part of both the young person and the accommodation provider. If the matching and planning stage is done thoroughly the answer should clearly emerge.

Formal matching considerations can be waived when the placement is simply changing status from a foster home to a supported lodgings (although both the Foster Panels and the Supported Lodgings panels will need to be made aware).


12. The Young Person in Placement - Emergencies

When a young person requires an emergency placement the referral forms are still required. This information should be shared with the emergency provider prior to the placement or at the earliest opportunity.


13. The Young Person in Placement - Support, Conditions and Regulations

When a young person is the subject of a care order it is the duty of their allocated worker, who may be a IYS worker or a Locality Team Social worker to conduct the statutory boarding out visits and be responsible for the arrangement of statutory reviews. If they are not the subject of a care order the a IYS worker or a Locality Team Social worker will also be responsible for seeing that the plan for the young person is reviewed in an equally thorough way, and that the young person receives sufficient personal support. These are important points and the Supported Lodgings Worker should check that the young person’s worker is clear about this at the beginning of a placement.

Also the Social worker or Personal advisor has the responsibility to see that the young person is supported in applying for relevant allowances, benefits, Supporting People Funding, Housing Benefit or any other financial entitlements where eligible.

The young person will be required to sign a Licence Agreement. It is the role of the Social worker and the Service Worker to explain and reinforce the contents.

End