Children in Care

Care Leavers Guidance

The Leaving Care Team provide a Personal Advisor (PA) to all 16 - 18 year old Children in Care / Care Leavers (or 24 if you are in full-time education).

A young person is transferred to the Leaving Care Team who become the key worker / team on their 18th birthday.

Planning for leaving care takes time and you won’t be expected to move on until you are ready.

We also work with young people who are still in foster care or who have left foster care aged 18 to 21 or 24 if the young person is continuing in education. When young people reach the age of 15 1/2 your social worker will work with you to complete a needs assessment and pathway plan. This assessment and plan looks at your future needs in a number of areas: health, accommodation, education, training, employment, support, money and practical skills. This gives you an opportunity to start thinking about where you want to be living in the future and what your future goals are. We offer practical, emotional and some financial support to ensure you have suitable accommodation, contact with your family and previous foster carers, access to education, training and employment and access to health services.

When you reach 16 the law says you should have a personal advisor whose job is to help you prepare and plan for your future. 

Your social worker and personal advisor will help you to complete a ‘pathway plan’. This helps you think about what you need to do to get ready to leave care.  The plan covers:

  • Who will support you after you leave care
  • Where you will live
  • Your plans for going to college or getting a job
  • What practical skills you need to learn, like managing money, cooking, paying bills
  • What money you will get and from where
  • Your health
  • Help in opening a bank account, getting ID and formal documents
  • Any other help you might need

If you leave care after you are 16, Childrens Services will help and advise you until you are 21 (or 24 if you are in full-time education).

If you would like to send the service a message, complaint, or compliment please use the tabs above to do so or contact us by telephone.

What are my rights?

You have a right to:

  • Be involved in all decisions made about you and your life
  • Be treated with respect
  • Be treated fairly
  • Be listened to
  • Be healthy
  • Be safe
  • Have an education
  • Have an advocate
  • See your Childrens Services’ file
  • Complain if there are things you are not happy about
  • And, if you don’t see your family very much, you have the right to an independent visitor

Your social worker must:

  • Put your safety and well-being first
  • Listen to your wishes and feelings
  • Involve you in all the decisions made about you and your life
  • Make a clear plan for your future
  • Give you a copy of this plan
  • Check that the plan is working by
  • Reviewing it
  • Working with other professionals
  • Talk to your parents about this plan and about other important things that are happening in your life
  • Help you keep in touch with your family and friends

What is a Pathway Plan?

A pathway plan is done with all young people who are leaving care, three months after their sixteenth birthday.  It is based on your needs assessment, which is done by your Social Worker with you and professionals working with you.

There are three types of pathway plan:

  • A picture plan, for children with disabilities
  • A pathway plan for young people with learning disabilities
  • A non-picture plan for young people without these needs

A pathway plan looks at a young person's needs in several areas.  Accommodation, education, training, employment, identity, health, support (from their worker, or an agency, their family and socially), practical skills and money.

Once you have left care your pathway plan will be reviewed every six months or sooner if you have a significant change in your circumstances. These reviews are chaired by the team manager.