Nottingham City Safeguarding Children’s Board Procedures Manual
Nottingham City Safeguarding Children’s Board Procedures Manual Nottingham City Safeguarding Children’s Board Procedures Manual

5.9.11 Independence Policy - Setting Up a Home

SCOPE OF THIS POLICY

The purpose of this policy is to outline Nottingham City Council's policy for supporting young people to prepare for Leaving Care and setting up home independently.

This document forms part of the Care Leavers Transition Procedures. The policy should be read in conjunction with the Pathway Planning and Financial Support Procedures.

Setting Up Home Allowance’s, are given to young people to ensure that they have the basic essentials to move in to their own accommodation.

LEGAL DOCUMENTS

Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000

Children and Young Persons Act 2008

Care Leavers Regulations 2010

The Childrens Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations

The Children Act 1989, Vol 3: Planning Transition to Adulthood for Care Leavers

AMENDMENT

This chapter was substantially revised in August 2015 and should be re-read in full.


Contents

  1. First Step to Independence
  2. Practice Guidance
  3. Removal Costs
  4. TV Licence
  5. Home Contents Insurance
  6. Care Leavers who Return Home
  7. Emergency Hardship Support DWP
  8. Identification Documents
  9. Emergency Assistance
  10. Outside the Local Authority
  11. Single Parents


1. First Step to Independence

It is good practice that young people are supported and encouraged whenever possible to open their own bank accounts. Whenever possible the weekly living allowance should be paid direct to this account.

The Pathway Plan should demonstrate within it, an assessment of a young person’s ability to manage their finances and determine the ability and support required for the young person in managing their allowances.

Young people should be encouraged to control their own finances and make relevant payments themselves such as: utility bills, including mobile phone bills, furthermore the young person should be made aware, that they may have to make a contribution to living costs that could be incurred whilst living semi-independently, which also comes out of their weekly living allowance.

If there are concerns that finance being provided to young people is being used for other purposes then alternative agreed methods of payment of the weekly living allowance need to be considered dependent on the individual young person’s circumstances.

Young people should be encouraged to practice independent skills in foster, residential or semi independent placements to ensure they have the necessary skills to make a successful transition from being ‘looked after’ to ‘independent living’.


2. Practice Guidance

  1. It is vital that young people are aware of their entitlements and that they are clear about how the Local Authority will provide furnishings and household goods to set up their home. Social Workers/Personal Advisers should be clear with young people the procedure which enables them to access any furnishings/household goods from the moving to independence ‘Setting up Home’ booklet, these items are provided on a needs led basis;
  2. No item can be sourced without the approval of a Children in Care or Leaving Care Service Manager and Service Manager.

    The Children in Care Teams and Leaving Care Service have agreements with local retailers to provide setting up home packages of furniture and household goods that are ordered and delivered (where possible) directly to the young person. These orders are placed by Business Support Officers via the use of a purchase card and cannot be ordered or paid for directly by the young person;
  3. The Setting up Home Allowance is not intended to be used to meet accommodation costs, or any personal costs but may be utilised for any removal costs that may be incurred;
  4. As part of Pathway Planning the social worker/Personal Advisor should work with the young person to determine what items are required from the ‘Setting up Home’ booklet. This should always be recorded on Care First Observations or by Business Support Officers when ordered and through Financial documentation;
  5. There are other payments that need to be considered as part of the ‘Setting Up’ allowance.


3. Removal Costs

Removal costs should be met from the Setting up Home allowance. There may be circumstances when this will need to be considered as an additional cost. Social Workers/Personal Advisors should ensure young people are not moved with bin liners and should utilise cases provided by the Children in Care Teams or Care Leavers Service.


4. TV Licence

The Children in Care Teams or Leaving Care Service will not fund a TV, unless the young person has bought and evidenced the purchase of a current TV Licence.


5. Home Contents Insurance

The Children in Care Teams or Leaving Care Service will not fund any home contents insurance. However, this can be sourced through Nottingham City Homes or independent provider of Home Insurance and funded by the young person themselves.


6. Care Leavers who Return Home

If a young person decides to return home to live with parents/carers they are responsible for the young person's welfare and assistance.

If required the Personal Advisor can assist the parent in negotiating any financial contribution to be made by the young person out of their living allowance if agreed to prevent financial hardship to the family, which is provided by the local authority for up to 6 months or up to the age of 18 years, whichever comes first. Any relevant or former relevant young person who returns to live with a parent on a full time basis will be ineligible to accommodation costs. They may be able to access a portion of the Setting up Home Allowance to purchase bedroom furniture, bedding and towels for the young person. Young people and their parents need to be clearly informed of this.

NB: Any relevant young person returning home to live with family members will still be entitled to a living allowance for no longer than a six month period. When the six month period has lapsed, providing the accommodation remains stable, the young person's status will change to that of a qualifying young person who will then be able to access the benefits system. However if the living arrangements with family breaks down at any point prior to the young person’s eighteenth birthday, their status will return to a relevant young person who will then be eligible again for a full living allowance and funded accommodation.


7. Emergency Hardship Support DWP

Care leavers over the age of 18 years, who are on benefits are able to claim an emergency hardship payment via the DWP.


8. Identification Documents

Driving Licences and lessons will not be provided. However in exceptional circumstances provision of a passport may be given if agreed by Service Manager. Birth certificates and Citizen cards can be provided if required. Replacement of these items if lost, will be at the young persons own expense.


9. Emergency Assistance

It is acknowledged that there will be periods in young people’s lives where circumstances leave them with a reduced income or in a crisis situation.

Where an emergency payment is being considered the following applies:

  • The reason for the payment and the young persons circumstances;
  • If a payment is paid in a crisis it should be a minimal amount and should be recorded.

An assessment of a young person’s ability to manage finances should be made and support put in place. Emergency assistance can include the provision of an emergency food parcel.


10. Outside the Local Authority

Where young people live outside of their responsible Authority area, support is still required of the Personal Advisor in ensuring young person’s receive the appropriate allowance’s and are managing it appropriately.


11. Single Parents

Care Leavers who become single parents are entitled to access benefits from 11 weeks prior to the due date of birth and are not then eligible for maintenance payments by social care (The Children in Care Team, or Leaving Care Service).

End