A Guide to the Staying Put Program


It’s been 10 years since the Staying Put Program was first established. It was designed to help young people at the age of 18, when they become care leavers and would have previously been classed as too old to stay on with their former foster carers. In this guide, we’ll explain everything you need to know about the staying put program and how it works.

Why was the Staying Put Program introduced?

Data from the Office of National Statistics states that the number of adult children living at home increased by 13.6% between the 2011 and 2021 Census. This is due to a number of different factors, such as the cost of living crisis and less affordable housing available.

The transition for most adults between living with their parents and living independently is longer than it was for previous generations. So, for young people in foster care, turning 18 and leaving the foster care system can be a sudden disruption to living arrangements, education and household relationships. Therefore, the Staying Put Program was introduced in 2014 to level the playing field and allow young people in care to transition gradually from care to independence or adult social services.

What is Staying Put?

Put simply, “Staying Put” is a framework where young people who were in foster care prior to their 18th birthday remain living with their foster carers if both parties agree, as set out in the young person’s Pathway Plan.

Legally, Staying Put is not the same as fostering because, after the age of 18, a young person is no longer ‘in care’ or ‘looked after’ in the eyes of the law. The arrangement lasts up until:

  • The young person reaches their 21st Birthday
  • Until they complete their agreed program of education or training being undertaken on their 21st Birthday, as long as they have continuously stayed in their arrangement since their 18th Birthday


  • While they return to their arrangement during their university holidays and study weeks.

The young person and former foster carer will receive financial support from local authorities as part of the staying put arrangement. These payments are disregarded for the foster carers' means-tested benefit calculations. For more information about benefits and fostering, read our guides.   

What changes when a young person Stays Put?

When a young person reaches the age of 18, they are legally no longer in foster care, even if they are Staying Put. This means that foster carers will no longer receive a fostering allowance. Instead, they will receive financial support from the local authority.

What other support is available?

When a young person reaches the age of 17, they may be eligible for additional help from Capstone Care Leavers Trust, which is designed to help young people get started in adult life by providing grants, where other young people may have family support for things like:

  • Further and higher education courses
  • Laptops
  • Household goods
  • Driving lessons

Additionally, the Care Leavers Association is a charity-led organisation providing support and resources to care leavers across the UK.

To find out more, read our guide about what happens when a foster placement ends, our dedicated blog on care leavers, or contact us for more information today.  

Thinking of fostering?

If you’ve got any questions or would like to find out more about fostering with Capstone, fill out the form below.
An experienced fostering advisor from your local area will then be in touch.

The information you provide will be used to respond to the enquiry you have submitted, for further information please refer to our privacy policy.

you may be also interested in


25th March, 2024

Paying it forward when you foster.


6th March, 2024

The Grandmother Effect: Planned Break Fostering


13th February, 2024

Making a difference with Parent & Child fostering.

Find out more about fostering with Capstone.

Download our helpful guide to becoming a foster carer

Download Now

Ways to

Start the conversation today. Our team of friendly advisors are on hand to answer any foster care questions you may have. We can offer you honest and practical advice that can help you decide if becoming a foster carer is the right path for you. 

Request a
call back

Contact us by completing our online form and one of our fostering advisors will respond to your enquiry within 24 hours.

Call us

Contact us by phone and one of our friendly fostering experts will be on hand for any foster care advice and support you require.

Download a Brochure

Download our helpful guide to becoming a foster carer with Capstone Foster Care.