Leaving Care Service

The Leaving Care Service exists to offer a comprehensive Leaving Care Service for those young people who are or who have been Looked After. The Service works with young people aged 16-21 (24 if the young person is completing full-time further or higher education).

The Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000 places responsibilities upon Local Authorities to support Care Leavers through the transition from being in Care to living outside the care system. To ensure all the young person's needs are met there is a legal requirement at 16 for each young person to be allocated a Personal Adviser. The Personal Adviser has to work with the young person to develop a Needs Assessement and Pathway Plan to ensure their accomodation, financial, education/training/employment, support, health and leisure needs are met.

The Leaving Care Service consists of Partnership between the Children and Young People's Department/ Connexions/Health/Youth Service to ensure that all the needs of the young people are met. A crucial role for the Leaving Care Service is to develop partnerships with housing providers. Partnerships exist with both public sector and private sector providers who offer both supported housing and tenancies. The Leaving Care Act created four legal categories.

Eligible young people remain Looked After , aged 16-17, but have been in care for at least three months and have reached the age of 16. The role of the Leaving Care Service with these young people is to develop a Pathway Plan which defines current Services and be clear as to the support that will be available when the young people leave care.

Relevant young people are aged 16-17 who have previously been Looked After for three months including sometime as a 16 year old, who have left care. Relevant young people have their maintenance and accommodation costs paid by the Council as defined within the financial policy. Former Relevant young people are Care Leavers aged 18-21. These young people have their accommodation and maintenance needs met through the same systems open to other young people of the same age.

Former Relevant young people have access to personal support and some ad hoc financial support to assist with meeting some specific needs identified in the financial policy.

Qualifying young people are 16 who have spent less than three months in care with at least some time as a 16 year old. These young people are entitled to advice and some limited financial assistance as defined within the financial policy.