Local Offer for Care Leavers: Support

Information about the support we must give you by law.

You are entitled to receive support from the Council up to the age of 25 if you have been in care for 13 weeks or more between the ages 14-16 (including your 16th birthday), or if you have been in care for 13 weeks after your 16th birthday.

Eligibility for a care leavers service can be explained by a social worker, Personal Adviser or the Children’s Advocate who can help you understand whether or not you qualify for support and what level of support you’re are entitled to. 

A Personal Adviser

Following changes that have been made through the Children & Social Work Act 2017, you will be able to ask for support from your Social Worker or Personal Adviser up to the age of 25 whether you are in engaged education, training or employment or you still require support with a variety of different areas in your life. 

Understanding your rights

The law states that;

  • For care leavers aged 16 and 17 the local authority is under an absolute duty to accommodate you (as well as providing you with a social worker), or a Personal Adviser which does apply once you reach the age of 18
  • For care leavers aged 18-20 there is a proactive duty on local authorities to keep in touch with care leavers
  • For care leavers aged 21-25 there is a duty on local authorities to assess care leavers’ needs and develop and keep under review a pathway plan, only where a young person has requested support.

Your Social Worker or Personal Adviser

Your Social Worker or Personal Adviser is there to help you to prepare to live independently and to offer advice and support after you leave care. As a young adult, we’re here to support you with your decisions and life choices, so the relationship may seem different to the one you had with your Social Worker when you were looked after. We will try to let you keep the same Social Worker or Personal Adviser, though this may not always be possible.

Social Workers and Personal Advisers want to be involved in discussions about your needs and your pathway plan after talking with you and the important people in your life.

The pathway plan sets out your needs, views and future goals, and exactly what support you will receive from us. We review your pathway plan with you regularly so that it is kept up-to-date and reflects the level of support you want and need.

Your Social Worker or Personal Adviser 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 status 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 Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO)

Your Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO) will work with you and your Social Worker from your 16th birthday to ensure that your pathway plan meets your needs and that you have a say in how that plan looks. You can also choose for you IRO to carry on chairing your pathway planning reviews once you are 18, if you think it would be helpful to you. This will be voluntary and only for as long as you both feel it would support you. 

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 you turn 18, including living with family members, the law says we must continue to ensure that you have the appropriate level of support in place and this will be reviewed in your pathway plan.