Just because you are leaving care, or have already left care, we haven't stopped caring about you. We want to make sure that you feel safe and supported and know where and who to go to for advice and help. We will continue to listen to your views to make sure the services we offer are what you need.
You must have been in care for a period of at least 13 weeks (or periods amounting to 13 weeks) which began after the age of 14 and included some time after your 16th birthday. If you are not sure whether you qualify for support then ask your personal advisor.
Advice and Support from a Personal Advisor
Following changes introduced through the Children & Social Work Act 2017, you will be able to ask for support from your personal advisor up to the age of 25. Whether you are in education or training or not. Your personal advisor is there to help you prepare to live independently and to offer advice and support after you leave care. Personal advisors should talk to you about what support you need and record this information in your pathway plan.
Your pathway plan is written by the local authority after consultation with you and important people in your life. It sets out your needs, views and future goals, and identifies exactly what support you will receive from us. We will review your pathway plan with you regularly so that it is kept up to date.We will try to enable you to keep the same personal advisor, though this will not always be possible. The amount of support you receive from your personal advisor will depend on what you want and your circumstances.
Your leaving care team will consider with you what extra support you may need. You might for example need extra support because -
- you have special educational needs or a disability
- you are an unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Child (UASC) and your immigration staus is unclear
- you are in or leaving custody or you have had contact with the criminal justice system
- you are a young parent or
- you are going through a difficult time in your personal life
Your right to be heard and taken seriously
You have a right to be involved in all decisions about your plans for leaving care. You have a right to support from independent advocate if you want to challenge decisions about the support we give you. Independent advocates can inform you about your rights and help you to be heard in meetings. They are separate to Children's Services.
You have a right to see the information we keep about you, including the files and records written about you when you were in care. You should ask you persoanl advisor for information on how to speak to an advocate in confidence and for advice on how to access your records.
Leaving care before turning 18
We will encourage you to stay in care until you are 18. Most young people still live at home with their families at this age. If you choose to leave care before age 18, the law says we must provide you with suitable accommodation.
Support to engage in education, employment or training
We want to make sure every young person leaving care has the support to achieve their goals in life. The law says we must provide you with assistance with expenses linked with employment, education and training. In particular -
- we will provide you with a Higher Education (HE) bursary of at least £2,000 if you go to University
- we will provide somewhere for you to stay during University holidays (or funding for this if you would prefer to make your own arrangements) if you are in full time HE or full time residential further education and your term time accommodation is not available.
Staying put with your foster carer
If this is what you and your foster carer(s) want, we will support you to remain with your foster carers under what is called a 'Staying Put' arrangement. This can last until you are aged 21