We know it's a big step when you move out of care and start living on your own or with friends.
Just because you're leaving care, or have already left care, doesn't mean we've stopped caring about you. We want you to feel safe and supported and know where and who to go to for advice and help.
Who can access the support
To be able to get the support set out in the care leavers' offer, you must have been in care:
- For a total of at least 13 weeks
- After age 14, including some time after your 16th birthday
Ask your social worker or personal advisor if you're not sure whether you qualify for support.
Access support through your personal advisor
Your personal advisor is there to help you to 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.
Just before your 16th birthday, you'll be allocated a personal advisor. They will give you advice and guidance and help prepare you for living independently. This will include a plan to help you make the transition from care to independent life – called a pathway plan.
In most cases, you'll no longer have a social worker once you turn 18. Your personal advisor will make sure you get the services you need and help co-ordinate your pathway plan and reviews.
If you're not in education or training, our support will end around your 21st birthday. However, if you'd like, you can ask to continue receiving support from your personal advisor up to your 25th birthday.
If you feel that you no longer need support then that’s OK. Your case can be closed but remember you can always request support again anytime up to the age of 25.
What you can get as a care leaver
Here's what we offer to all our care leavers. If you'd like to request something from this list, please speak to your personal advisor.
- Financial support to go to university. This includes paying for basic halls of residence and providing a weekly allowance.
- Help getting your first home, including taster flats or supported accommodation.
More about accommodation for care leavers
- A setting up home allowance of £2,000. You can use this to buy furniture and white goods for your home.
- A bursary if you're enrolled on a higher education course for more than 2 years to pay for any educational equipment you need.
- Internet access up to age 25 if you're in education, training or employment.
- Financial support to pay for you to attend job interviews.
- Council tax exemption until you're 25.
More about the council tax exemption for care leavers
- A gym pass for a leisure centre in the borough for one year
- FREE prescriptions until you're 25
- A ‘Futures Club' where you can talk about your future aspirations and how to achieve them.
- Help to write a CV and prepare for interviews.
- Access to a youth justice service worker if you need it.
- Resettlement support if you've been in police custody.
Additional support outlined in your pathway plan
In addition to the support every care leaver is entitled to, additional support may be outlined for you in your pathway plan.
Your pathway plan is about your individual needs and what everyone needs to do to ensure your transition to adult life is successful. You'll continue to have a pathway plan until you're 21 or longer if you're in education or training.
Accessing your records
Children's Services must keep all of your case records such as reviews, assessments and pathway plans. Once you're 18 you can ask to access your records.
If you request access to your records, they'll be prepared and some information about other people may be removed. Your personal advisor will be able to explain more about this and support you with applying for access. You may want to consider having someone with you when you read through your records to provide support.