Are you a care leaver?


Are you a care leaver?

We still advise a worrying number of young people over the age of 18 but under 25 who are not receiving support from children’s services as care leavers, even though they are clearly entitled to it.

How do you know if you might be a care leaver?

  • Were you provided with accommodation which was arranged by a social worker or someone in social services (or children’s services) while you were still aged under 18? Or was the accommodation provide by the housing department, but a social worker was involved in your case?
  • Were you provided with the accommodation for 13 weeks or more?
  • Did the accommodation continue until you turned 18 or, if it stopped earlier, did it stop less than 6 months before you turned 18?

If the answers to these questions are yes, then there is a strong chance that, when you turned 18, you became a “former relevant child’ (or care leaver) and that you can get support from children’s services potentially up to age 25.

This could be the case even if children’s services told you that this doesn’t apply to you. If you tick the right boxes legally, you will still be a “former relevant child” and entitled to care leaver support.

Why does it matter? What type of support can you get?

It means you have a right to:

  • A personal adviser. This is a person whose job it is to provide practical advice and support to care leavers, including with accessing education, housing and claiming benefits, as well as other issues.
  • A pathway plan. This is a document which should set out what your needs are and how those needs are going to be met. It should set out how children’s services are going to help you achieve your goals in life. It should tell you who is going to help with what issue, how they are going to help and by when that help will be provided to you.
  • Other support which is tailored to your needs.

The law on this changed on 1 April 2018. Now all care leavers between the ages of 18 and 25 can get support, whether they are in education or not.

For one of our earlier blogs on the impact of this new law and what it means for young people, click here.

If you are not sure whether you are a care leaver, or whether you have a right to support from children’s services, call us on our freephone number, or send us a message using our secure E-form.

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