The age at which looked after young people leave care in Scotland remains a key factor in ensuring a successful transition and achieving positive outcomes throughout life. Care leavers continue to become independent and are expected to look after themselves much sooner than their same-age peers. (Housing Options and Care Leavers, Improving Outcomes into Adulthood  , CELCIS July 2015).
Staying Put in nurturing positive relationships through a Continuing Care placement is a key factor in helping young people and local authorities achieve successful and sustained interdependence for young people ceasing to be looked after.
Continuing Care enables young people to retain a day-to-day relationship with their carer, and an on-going relationship with the local authority and other corporate parents (see Part 9 (Corporate Parenting) of the 2014 Act). In this sense, Continuing Care is about facilitating relationship-based practice with young people, and providing them with a continued feeling of belonging, permanence and stability to support and prepare them as they transition towards interdependency.
The Scottish Government is clear that a looked after young person should be allowed to remain in their care placement until the time is right for them to move on with a suitable care plan in place. Local authorities should work within the enabling spirit of legislation to provide caring environments for all looked after young people as they transition to inter-dependent living at a time and pace that suits them.
It is counterproductive to focus on what legislation enables a care leaver's needs to be met as legislation will not cover all eventualities. The priority must be that all looked after children will have a care plan that meets their individual circumstances and allows them to remain in their care placement if at all possible.