3.4 Supported Lodgings
This chapter was significantly updated in May 2014 as a result of local review. It should be re-read throughout.
SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER
- Client Group
- What Supported Lodgings Provide
- Recruitment of Providers and Selection Process
- The Training of Prospective Providers
- The Assessment Process
- Panel - Preparation
- Panel - On the Day
- Ongoing Support for Providers
- Review of Providers
- De-registration of Providers
- The Young Person in Placement - Referral and Matching
- The Young Person in Placement - Emergencies
- The Young Person in Placement - Support, Conditions and Regulations
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 16-21. Placements can be extended up to 24 if the young person is in further or higher education.
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):
- In respect of the accommodation:
- The facilities and services provided
- The state of repair
- The safety
- The location
- The support
- The financial commitments involved for the relevant young person and their affordability.
- In respect of the Relevant young person:
- His or her views about the accommodation
- His or her understanding of their rights and responsibilities in relation to the accommodation, and
- His or her understanding of funding arrangements.
The accommodation providers are recruited from the Hull and the bordering authorities. 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.
Good practice would suggest Supported Lodgings providers will be approved for up to four young people. This could be extended in an emergency or for siblings groups.
Upon initial contact with or enquiry from a prospective provider an enquiry will be logged on CareFirst, similar to that which is recorded for a foster carer enquiry.
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.
The enquiry will be passed to the Recruitment Officer who will contact the applicant(s) within 5 days. The Recruitment Officer will undertake a telephone interview with the applicant to determine motivation and suitability. The applicant(s) will be invited to an information day. Once the applicant(s) have attended the information day and a decision made to progress, an initial home visit will be undertaken by a Supported Accommodation Worker. The decision to progress or not to progress an enquiry is made by a Supported Accommodation Worker and then passed to their line manager for allocation. At the initial home visit stage, all initial safety checks and reference details will be collected from the applicant(s) including Health and Safety, Medical, DBS, Personal References and Employment References. Following the visit information collated will be handed to the Pod Co-ordinator to manage and process checks. The Placement and Commissioning Team Manager will quality assure all assessments before presentation to panel.
Applicant(s) are expected to attend Safeguarding level 1 and will be given opportunities for further training and development opportunities whilst approved.
The Line Manager will make sure that a Supported Accommodation Worker is allocated to undertake a full comprehensive assessment. The assessment will follow the fostering network’s Skills to Foster framework. Once the assessment is complete and recommendations are made, the full assessment will be presented to the Hull Fostering Panel who meets specifically to approve and review Supported Lodgings Providers.
It will be necessary for the Worker to:
- Visit the applicants’ home and thoroughly address with them the structural and safety issues contained in the Health and Safety check list
- 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.
- Seek reference(s) from the applicants’ employer(s) using the standard letter signed by the Manager
- 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.
- Give the applicant(s) regular feedback throughout the assessment process, and make it clear that approval rests with the panel.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 Line Manager will be responsible to:
- 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.
- Read and sign the Assessment prior to presentation to Panel.
- 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.
The Panel is held quarterly. The Panel confirms registrations, re-registrations and de-registrations.
The Supported Lodgings Worker will:
- Send the papers to the Panel Clerk so that they arrive at least 10 days before the Panel date. Papers must include:
- Assessment Form,
- DBS checks,
- Medical forms (with comments from Health Co-ordinators)
- Children in household comments
- Household profile
- Submissions from Referees
- 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)
- 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.
Applicants will be invited to the Panel, this will not be mandatory.
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 Authorised Decision Maker.
If approved, the accommodation providers will receive a letter from the Group 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.
Following approval a Welcome Pack will be given by the relevant Supported Lodgings Worker 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. The Worker will be clear in all areas of discussion and cover.
- Accommodation providers will be paid the equivalent of the mainstream foster carer rate.
- Training will be mandatory in order to provide a quality service.
Support will be provided to accommodation providers by way of regular, individual supervision, support meetings, any additional support provided on a needs basis. Levels of support are as follows high, medium and low.
The Worker will have supervision sessions with the providers and use a Supervision form.
All Placements will be reviewed by the Independent Reviewing Team.
Annually after initial approval and then three yearly.
Three yearly reviews will include the following:
- All relevant checks, Police checks and medical checks;
- The young person's Social Worker/Personal Advisor's comments;
- Young person's comments and views Members of household, including birth children;
- Recommendations from the Review will be authorised by the Agency Decision Maker.
The decision to temporary amend the terms of approval must be made by the Line Manager. The decision should be recorded as a decision record. 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.
The provider will present a written resignation and a report from the Supported Lodgings Worker will be presented to Panel. This report must outline the reasons for de-registration and be countersigned by the Line 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 Supported Lodgings Worker.
Referrals for the Service
All referrals for Supported Lodgings will be received by the Placement and Commissioning Team. They will pass this information directly onto the Supported Lodgings Manager and Team.
The young person's needs will be explored and matched to skills attributes and attachment styles of the Supported Lodgings Providers. The vital information of present family dynamics and compositions will also be taken into consideration.
Risk analysis will be undertaken, identifying any risks.
All young people living with Supported Lodgings Providers must be considered.
The views of the young people will be taken into consideration when matching.
When a young person is placed a Planning Meeting will take place within 5 days. This will include the following professionals, Social Worker, Personal Advisor, Supported Lodgings Worker and the Supported Lodgings Provider and any other significant person in the young person's life.
The Planning meeting will explore elements of the Pathway Plan and the input from the Supported Lodgings Providers.
Roles and responsibilities, Safer Caring Policy, Delegated Authority and Roles and Responsibilities for all parties involved.
Formal matching considerations can be waived when the placement is simply changing status from a foster home to a supported lodging.
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.
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.
If they are not the subject of a care order the 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 where applicable for the purpose of claiming Housing Benefit.