Where will I live
Different types of placements
Where you live really depends on your needs, some young people will love living in a family and some might find it beneficial to live in a residential home for a period of time. Your social worker will do their best so that you can live in an environment that supports you to be happy and helps you to feel loved.
Below you will find information on the placements types we use in Bromley.
Click on the placement type to reveal more information.
Upon coming into care, most children are placed in a foster placement. We have Bromley foster carers that we use but a foster placement can be anywhere in the UK. Our foster care placements are called in house placements (click here for details on how we recruit our carers) or we use foster carers from Independent Fostering Agencies (IFA).
Regardless of this difference, the care, support and encouragement you will receive is the same.
We expect all carers to:
- Make sure that where you live is safe for you and is a comfortable place to live
- Make you a part of the family by including you in activities, holidays, celebrations etc
- Treat you with respect, be kind to you and help you understand your care journey
- Clearly explain to you what is expected of you whilst you are living there
- Work with other adults to help to offer you support, such as your social worker, parents, teachers etc.
- Support you with family contact and friends as long as this is part of your care plan
- Support you with your education
- Celebrate your special occasions with you, such as your birthday or cultural or religious festivals
- Share information with other professionals to help to keep you safe
- Support you to be healthy
- Support you with participating in activities that you are interested in
- Help you to learn independent living skills such as cooking, washing, shopping etc
Sometimes when you are in care it’s possible to live with relatives, family friends and others who are connected to your family or you. This type of arrangement we call a Connected Person’s placement. In order for you to live with someone who is connected to you, that person must go through an assessment similar to a fostering assessment. This is so that we can make sure they are able to care for you and that you will be safe whilst you live with them. Once they are approved as a connected person, they will be classed as a foster carer but only specifically for you.
If you are to be matched long term to your connected person’s carer the process is exactly the same as for the long term placements. You will still have a social worker to support you but will remain in the place you call home and with the people you feel care for you the best. Once you turn 18 you will be entitled to a leaving care service from our Leaving Care Team.
A Special Guardian is usually someone with a close relationship to you, such as a family member, former foster carer or family friend. For someone to become a Special Guardian they need to apply to the court, who would consider their suitability and your needs, based on a report from us. If the court agrees then a Special Guardianship order is granted, this places you with your carer permanently and gives your carer parental responsibility for you. You will no longer have a social worker and will not be in care.
We find that for some of our children a residential home may be able to provide the care that they need better than some of our other placements. A residential children’s home is often a house, with other children in care living there too. You will each have your own room but just like in a family home share the bathroom, kitchen and other living areas. There is always staff present at the home, every moment of the day and they will support you just like foster carers would. They will offer you alone time and help to prepare your meals. The staff work on a rota and it wouldn’t be the same staff member on all the time but you will have one main keyworker who will offer you one to one support.
As you grow up, your needs will change and therefore your care plan may also change. Some of our young people preparing for independent living may get the opportunity to move into semi-independent accommodation you’ll receive on-site support from keyworkers, this could be 24 hours support for those requiring a high level of support, or 5 hours a week outreach support for those with less needs. We are working with a number of different providers both in and out of the borough who offer a range of accommodation types and support packages. This type of accommodation is the bridge between living with an adult who fully takes care of you and living independently. In a Semi-independent placement, you are expected to take on more responsibility in coordinating your money, education, cooking cleaning etc.
If you are in a long term placement, either with a foster carer or a connected persons carer, your official care status ends at 18. This doesn’t automatically mean that your time with that carer or family ends. We work with carers to offer the opportunity for you to Stay Put. Staying Put is where as a care leaver you continue to live with your foster carer after your 18th birthday. If your foster carers are in agreement to the option of Staying Put then this will be discussed with your social worker and agreed at your CLA review so that plans can be put in motion ahead of your 18th birthday to ensure a smooth transition from a fostering to a Staying Put arrangement. This is good news, as you can continue to live with the people you know up until the age of 21. During this time we will help you to prepare for independent living so that you are prepared for living in your own accommodation.
For those of you who are in education there will be no significant changes until you have completed the academic year in which you turn 18. You will continue to receive full support from your foster carers and they will remain responsible for providing you with your pocket money, clothing money etc. Once the academic year ends the placement will become less supportive and you will be required to make a claim for Universal Credit (UC) to replace your fostering allowances. You will then have to maintain your UC claim and purchase your own food or pay towards the cost of your food if your foster carers have agreed to continue to provide meals for you. If you are in a Staying Put arrangement and are working you may be required to contribute up to 20% of your income towards your rent. For those of you who are not working your rent will be covered by us and housing benefit (HB). You will be expected to make a claim for HB around your 18th birthday and will be supported to do this.
Some of our older young people take the opportunity to live in a supported lodgings home. Our supported lodgings scheme supports young people leaving care by giving them accommodation in the home of a supportive adult. A supported lodgings provider does not have the same responsibility as a foster carer. You can stay in a supported lodgings home from 6 months to two years; however the length of placement will be flexible and dependent on your needs. You will be expected to claim Housing benefit to cover the rent and abide by the house rules, which may differ slightly in each household. The carer is there to offer support and advice but you will have more independence than in a foster placement. Most of our carers are working and you will be expected to buy and cook your own food from your benefits. You will be supported with developing your independent living skills in order to prepare you for living in your own accommodation.
Moving into privately rented accommodation is a lot different to a Housing Association tenancy. It is important that you understand that with this type of tenancy you are completely sure that you are able to meet the monthly costs and that you are prepared to be asked to move out at short notice if the landlord decides to sell the property, or change the use, or if you are in breach of the tenancy agreement (this may be because of failure to pay your rent, or bringing pets into the property, noise nuisance or moving other people in without permission etc.).
The private rental sector does not provide you with the security of a permanent tenancy but may be an option if you choose to move out of the Bromley borough and wish to live independently. If this option appears to be the best for you at the time you can discuss this with your YPA to see if the LCT can assist with a deposit to secure a private rented property. In order to do this your proposed landlord would need to provide a full tenancy agreement and contract. The most common reason for accessing this type of accommodation is for those who are attending university outside of London and do not wish to live in university accommodation. Unfortunately the LA is unable to act as guarantor for any privately rented accommodation so this would need to be checked out with the landlord who will normally require a guarantor, i.e someone over the age of 18 who is willing to guarantee your rent and can be approached to pay for any damages or loss of rent should you fail to abide by the tenancy agreement.
If you are going to study at University you may wish to live on campus, you can apply to the Student accommodation services for a place before you start the course. You may need an advance payment to secure the accommodation which can be accessed via your YPA, assuming the university have sent you an acceptance letter and we are sure you have a place on a course. Alternatively you may choose to find a place of your own in the private rented sector (see above). You will be responsible for paying your rent in full from your Student Loans and LCT grant, and will not be eligible for Housing Benefit as a university student. You should look for 52 week a year accommodation if you have no alternative place to stay during the holiday period. A lot of universities are now offering this service to care leavers and it is helpful if you feel able to identify yourself as a care leaver on your UCAS application to ensure you get all the additional help available at your university of choice. If you are worried about the arrangements for student holiday accommodation you can discuss this with your YPA once you have an offer from a university and make sure that arrangements are in place before you start your course.