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5.10.1 Leaving Care

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

These procedures apply to young people who are or have been in care and are entitled to support after their 16th birthday.

There are three categories of those leaving care all of whom are entitled to support after their 16th birthday. The categories are Eligible Relevant, and Former Relevant. These Procedures also refer to Qualifying Young People who may receive support, advice and assistance after their 16th birthday.

RELATED CHAPTER

Pathway Plans and Reviews Procedure

RELATED GUIDANCE AND LEGISLATION

The Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations Volume 3: Planning Transition to Adulthood for Care Leavers (Revised January 2015)

Care Leaver Strategy (DfE, 2013)

AMENDMENT

This chapter was updated in June 2015, following the revision of the Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations Volume 3: Planning Transition to Adulthood for Care Leavers. Section 9.1 Personal Advisers provides detail on the role of Personal Adviser in ensuring the effective implementation of the Pathway Plan. Section 10, Education, Training and Employment has been completely revised and should be re-read.


Contents

  1. Definitions
  2. Referring 'Eligible' and 'Relevant' Young People
  3. Referring 'Qualifying' Young People
  4. Referrals of Young People Currently Looked After by Calderdale who are Living Outside the Borough
  5. Referrals of Young People who are the Responsibility of other Local Authorities Living in Calderdale
  6. Processing Referrals by the Pathway Team
  7. Allocation
  8. Review
  9. Case Responsibility
  10. Education, Training and Employment
  11. Staying Put
  12. Closure of Cases
  13. Access to Records

    Appendix 1: Table of Eligibility for Referral to the Leaving Care Team


1. Definitions

Normally the definitions relating to Keywords are found by accessing the Keywords Appendix, but a number of the terms used in this procedure are specific to it; therefore they have also been summarised below.

Eligible Young People

They are aged 16 or 17, have been Looked After for a period or periods totalling at least 13 weeks starting after their 14th birthday and are still in care. (This total does not include a series of pre-planned short-term placements of up to four weeks where the child has returned to the parent). There is a duty to support these young people up to the age of 18, wherever they are living.

The statutory definition and requirements to undertake a needs assessment, prepare a Pathway Plan, keep the Pathway Plan under review and appoint a Personal Adviser are now covered by Regulations 42, 43 and 44 of the Care Planning, Placement and Case Review Regulations 2010.

Relevant Young People

They are aged 16 or 17 and are no longer Looked After, having previously been in the category of Eligible Young Person when in care. However, if after leaving care, a young person returns home for a period of 6 months or more to be cared for by a parent and the return home has been formally agreed as successful, he or she will no longer be a "Relevant Young Person".

A young person is also "Relevant" if, having been in care for three months or more, he or she is then detained after their 16th birthday either in a hospital, remand centre, young offenders' institution or secure training centre. There is a duty to support Relevant Young People up to the age of 18, wherever they are living.

The statutory definition and requirements to stay in touch with the young person, undertake a needs assessment (unless this was done when the young person was 'Eligible'), prepare and keep the Pathway Plan under review, appoint a Personal Adviser (unless this was done when the young person was 'Eligible') and provide accommodation and assistance to meet his or her needs in relation to education, training or employment are now covered by Regulations 4 to 9 of the Care Leavers (England) Regulations 2010.

Former Relevant Young People

They are aged 18 to 21 (or up to 24 if in full-time further or higher education), and have left care having been previously either "Eligible", "Relevant" or both. There is a duty to consider the need to support these young people wherever they are living.

The statutory definition and requirements to stay in touch with the young person, keep the Pathway Plan under review, continue the appointment of a Personal Adviser and provide financial assistance near where the young person is employed or seeking employment/to enable the young person to pursue education or training remain unchanged they are now covered by Regulations 4 to 9 of the Care Leavers (England) Regulations 2010. These duties continue until the young person becomes 21 or, where the Pathway Plan sets out a programme of education or training beyond 21, they continue so long as the young person pursues the programme. The duty to pay a higher education bursary also continues, as before, for those who started a course of higher education after 2008.

The duties of Local Authorities are extended in relation to Former Relevant Young People who inform the Local Authority of their wish to take up a programme of full time further or higher education after the age of 21 and under the age of 25. In relation to these young people, the Local authority has a duty to:

  • Appoint a Personal Adviser;
  • Carry out an assessment of the needs to determine what assistance (if any) it would be appropriate to provide;
  • Prepare a Pathway Plan;
  • Give assistance to the extent that the young person's educational or training needs require it. The kinds of assistance are: contributing to expenses incurred by the young person in living near the place where (s)he is, or will be, receiving education or training; or making a grant to enable the young person to meet expenses connected with his education and training;
  • For those in full-time education, aged 16-19 access to the bursary fund which came into place in 2011 see Section 10, The 16-19 Bursary Fund and the Higher Education Bursary.

The duties of the Local Authority subsist for as long as the young person pursues the programme of education or training in accordance with the Pathway Plan, and the Local Authority may disregard any interruption in the education/training if it is satisfied that the young person will resume it as soon as is reasonably practicable.

In each case where a care leaver requests this support, the Local Authority will need to assess the appropriateness of the course and how it will help the young person to achieve his or her ambitions. The extent of the practical and financial assistance provided will reflect the type of course, whether full- or part-time, and the young person's existing income.

Qualifying Young People

They are over the age of 16 and under the age of 21, (or up to 24 if in full-time further or higher education), and have been Looked After or, if disabled, have been Privately Fostered after reaching 16, but do not qualify as Eligible, Relevant or Former Relevant. They may receive support, advice and assistance wherever they are living. If in full-time further or higher education, this may include assistance in relation to securing vacation accommodation.

They may also qualify if they are the subject of a Special Guardianship Order (SGO) and were Looked After immediately before the SGO was made.

Subject to assessment and with the agreement of the Service Manager, Children who are Looked After; young people who are subject to a Special Guardianship Order may be provided with additional support and services consistent with those provided to Former Relevant young people.

Young People Who Cease to be Looked After

Children Looked After  must not move from accommodation regulated under the Care Standards Act 2000 to other arrangements without a statutory review of their care plan chaired by their Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO). A move to other arrangements would include moving to accommodation, often referred to as semi-independent accommodation, which would not be subject to regulatory inspection by Ofsted. (Children do not cease to be looked after just because they are placed in accommodation that is not regulated under the Care Standards Act).

Any decision to cease looking after a child aged 16 or 17 who is Looked After other than by virtue of a Care Order, must be approved by the Head of Service or Manager with Agency Decision Maker responsibility. The Head of Service or Manager with Agency Decision Maker responsibility. must be satisfied that:
  • The child’s wishes and feelings have been ascertained and given due consideration;
  • The child’s Independent Reviewing Officer has been consulted;
  • The child’s relatives have been consulted, where appropriate.

Personal Adviser

A Personal Adviser is the person appointed to work in relation to the Relevant child or Former Relevant child, on the young person's 16th birthday, and will occupy a key role in providing support to the young person after he or she leaves care.

The Personal Adviser will hold a pivotal role (where applicable) in the assessment, planning and review of services as set out in the Pathway Plan, and will co-ordinate with other agencies as necessary.

The extent to which the Personal Adviser becomes the main source of advice and support to the young person will vary according to individual circumstances.

Where accommodation is provided to a young person by the responsible authority under section 23B or section 24B, of the Children Act 1989, the Personal Adviser must visit the Relevant child or Former Relevant child at that accommodation:

  • Within 7 days of the accommodation first being provided;
  • Subsequently, before the Pathway Plan is reviewed; and
  • At subsequent intervals of not more than two months.

The Personal Adviser should be kept up-to-date with the young person’s progress and wellbeing

Pathway Plan

The Pathway Plan, Needs Assessment and Risk Assessment is the comprehensive assessment and planning document. The Initial and Review Pathway Plan replaces the Care Plan and Single Assessment. This Plan needs to be completed thoroughly and in detail.

The Pathway Plan sets out the ambitions and route to the future for young people leaving care and will state how their needs will be met in their path to independence. The plan will continue to be implemented and reviewed after they leave care at least until they are 21; and up to 24 if in education. See Section 2 below for further information. See also Pathway Plans and Reviews Procedure.


2. Referring 'Eligible' and 'Relevant' Young People

Check the young person meets the criteria for referral to the Pathway Team:

  • An Initial Pathway Planning Meeting should now take place at week 6 from the date of referral to ensure the Pathway Plan is on track to be completed by week 12 and to lead the development of the Initial Pathway Plan. The meeting is chaired by Pathway Team Manager and includes the professional network, but not the young person. The meeting should be arranged by the Locality Social Worker;
  • Young people aged 15 should only be referred at the first review after their fifteenth birthday, if they already meet the 13 week threshold and if their care plan contains no plans for a return home before their sixteenth birthday. Young People should have a Pathway Plan by their 16th Birthday, started sometime after their 15th birthday;
  • Young people aged 16-17 who meet the 13 week threshold. Refer on their 16th Birthday or as soon as they become Eligible;
  • Young people aged 16-17 who have not been looked after for 13 weeks - Refer as soon as they pass the 13 week threshold;
  • Young people who have relevant status as a consequence of being in custody - Refer on their 16th birthday.

A referral will not necessarily indicate an immediate plan to discharge from care. Young people should be referred even if it is not intended for them to leave care until 18. It is a statutory requirement under the Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000 that all young people have a Leaving Care Personal Adviser and a Pathway Plan within 3 months of them becoming eligible for services.

It is the responsibility of the social worker to ensure that the Referral and Assessment Form and Risk Assessment Form are completed. The work should be undertaken with the young person and the social worker or key worker/carer or an agreed support person.

If the young person declines to complete the forms, they should be completed by the Social Worker and key worker or carer, on their behalf.

Where the child has a disability please also consult Transition at 18 to Adult Services Procedure to ensure effective 'transition' planning. Disability may include emotional and behavioural difficulties, and should be considered as part of the assessment of need.

The Practice Manager will quality assure the referral and assessment form prior to sending to the Pathway Team Manager.

The Pathway Team Manager must sign off the Referral and Assessment Form to confirm that the young person is eligible for a service.

The Social Worker must ensure that the forms and all the required supporting information detailed on the Referral and Assessment Form are completed and sent to:

The Team Manager, Pathway Team.

Supporting Information required:

  • Review Recommendation;
  • Personal Education Plan;
  • Health Assessment Record;
  • Chronology;
  • Record of Discussion (if appropriate).

The Social Worker should ensure that the young person has:

  • A Bank Account;
  • A copy of their Birth Certificate;
  • A National Insurance Number;
  • A passport;
  • A record of life story work completed.

If information is missing, the referral may be returned and the application may be delayed.

A copy of the Referral and Assessment Form should be placed on the young person's electronic file held in the social work team. The young person should also be given a copy of the DOH booklet "Helping you survive out there: Your Rights as a young person leaving care" and the Pathway Leaving Care Guide for Young People.

Guidelines for handover to the Pathway Team

  1. Joint visit(s) to be arranged;
  2. Initial Pathway Plan to be jointly completed led by the Pathway Worker (is on the ‘Leaving’ work space on CASS – click on the ‘Leaving’ bar and then ‘Initial Pathway Plan’);
  3. Domains - The 8 domains (Accommodation, Health etc.) all need to be completed with;
  4. Action points - under each domain also need to be completed;
  5. Outstanding documents – the Chronology, Care Plan and PIR will also be checked by the Pathway Team Manager and will need to up to date for the case to transfer;
    1. Delegated Authority form - is an attached document (if applicable);
    2. Fostering Panel - Matching reports for long term matching will need to be completed (if applicable);
    3. Resource Panel -Applications for accommodation will need to be completed (if applicable).

Checklist

  1. Joint visit(s) undertaken;
  2. Pathway Plan - 8 domains completed;
  3. Documents are up to date;
    • Chronology (up to date);
    • PIR (up to date).


3. Referring 'Qualifying' Young People

'Qualifying' young people are covered by the original provisions of s24 of the Children Act. The Council's duty is to advise, assist and befriend and may provide assistance in cash or in kind, to keep in touch and to provide vacation accommodation for Higher and Further Education Courses. Therefore, not all 'qualifying' young people will be referred to the Pathway Team. Young people termed 'qualifying' may receive support through social work teams OR through the Pathway Team.

An assessment should be made of the level of need of the 'qualifying' young person, particularly those 16/17 year olds who may be homeless and lack support networks. Social workers should ensure that alternative accommodation options are explored and consider what support other agencies are providing.

Prior to making a referral the Social Worker should confirm through their Team Manager that it is appropriate to refer the young person to the Pathway Team.

It is the Social Worker's responsibility to ensure the Referral and Assessment Form and the Risk Assessment Form are completed. This can be done together with the young person and a keyworker or/carer. Where the child has a disability please consult appropriate procedures to ensure effective 'transition' planning.

If the referral is unsuccessful, the young person should be provided with advice and assistance by the referring Social Work Team.


4. Referrals of Young People Currently Looked After by Calderdale who are Living Outside the Borough

Young people should be referred to the Pathway Team in the normal way. For children with disabilities please also consult relevant procedures to ensure plans for 'transition' are followed e.g. Transitions at 18 to Adult Services Procedure

The Pathway Team will undertake an assessment in conjunction with the social worker, key worker, or carer as appropriate and develop a Pathway Plan with the young person.

The Project Manager - Pathway Team will then decide if it is appropriate for the Calderdale Pathway Team to provide a service or whether to negotiate with the 'receiving authority' that they provide the leaving care service. Young people who live in or move to adjacent authorities will continue to be supported by Pathway Team.

When a young person makes an unplanned move to another authority, the Project Manager - Pathway Team will provide the receiving authority with as much information as possible, including the most recent Pathway Plan and in the event that the young person intends to remain within that authority to agree to a meeting to review the Pathway Plan within 4 working weeks. The Council is responsible for the financial support of young people living outside Calderdale. The 'receiving' authority's Leaving Care Team should contact Calderdale Pathway Team for copies of the appropriate forms, which should be returned to the Manager - Pathway Team.

Where the 'receiving' authority requests payment to provide services, the Project Manager will refer the matter to the appropriate Service Manager for a decision.

The Service Manager should record the decision on a Record of Discussion and send a copy to the Team Manager -  Pathway Team.

Invoices for services should be sent to the Team Manager, Pathway Team who will ensure that the goods or services have been received by the young person. The allocated Pathway Team Worker will ensure that a Financial Pathway Plan for the young person outlines all required payments with start and end dates. This will be authorised by the Pathway Team Manager in the normal way.

In the event of failure to reach agreement with the 'receiving' local authority's Leaving Care Team, responsibility rests with the Pathway Team to provide a service to the young person.

The Council is responsible for the financial support of young people living outside Calderdale. The 'receiving' authority's Leaving Care Team should contact Calderdale Pathway Team for copies of the appropriate forms, which should be returned to the Manager -  Pathway Team.

The Manager Pathway Team will ensure that the young person's progress is monitored through regular contact with the 'receiving' authority's Leaving Care Team. The review of the young person's Pathway Plan is to be convened by Calderdale in the 'receiving authority'.


5. Referrals of Young People who are the Responsibility of other Local Authorities Living in Calderdale

Referrals or enquiries received at the Children and Young People's Services on behalf of young people who are eligible for leaving care services in other local authorities should be passed to the Pathway Team.

Emergency services and duty services will be provided to all young people where their Home Authority is too distant to allow effective work. In practice this is likely to be all authorities that are not adjacent.

Young people moving into the area, and intending to stay, will be provided with a service within 4 weeks of receiving a completed referral, including pathway plan, by the referring authority.

  • Leaving Care Financial services will be paid by the Home Authority (i.e. the Local Authority who most recently looked after them);
  • Young people placed in private children's homes in Calderdale by other local authorities will only be accepted as referrals if they intend to remain in Calderdale when they leave care;
  • With the exception of the financial package young people from other authorities will receive the same service as Calderdale young people.

Referrals should be made to the Pathway Team using the Referral and Assessment Form and the completing the Risk Assessment Form

A report on the number of young people from other authorities being supported will be made at each Contract Monitoring Meeting.


6. Processing Referrals by the Pathway Team

Within one week of referral, the Pathway Team  will contact the Social Worker to arrange a visit. The aim of this visit to the young person is to introduce the Pathway Team, and discuss the Pathway Plan.

An Initial Pathway Planning Meeting should now take place at week 6 from the date of referral to ensure the Pathway Plan is on track to be completed by week 12 and to assist with the development of the Initial Pathway Plan. The meeting is chaired by the Team Manager and includes the professional network, but not the young person. The meeting should be arranged by the allocated Pathways Worker.

Any follow up meetings must fully involve the young person in order to ensure they understand the plan and own it as much as possible.

The Pathways worker will provide the young person with the Calderdale Pathway Team information booklet "It's Your Future, a Financial Information leaflet, a complaints leaflet and an Information Sharing Consent Form. The young person will be asked to sign the Information Sharing Consent Form and a copy will be placed on the Calderdale Pathway Team file.

Copies of any updated Pathway Plan will be sent to the young person and the Social Worker.


7. Allocation

The Team Manager, Pathway Team will confirm allocation of a Leaving Care Social Worker or Personal Adviser in writing, with a copy to the Social Work Team Manager, carer and young person.

The Personal Adviser / Pathway Team Social Worker must maintain a written record of their contacts with the young person, monitoring the effectiveness of services in preparing the young person for a time when they will move to greater independence or when they cease to be looked after.


8. Review

See also Pathway Plans and Reviews Procedure, Reviewing the Pathway Plan.

It is expected that Pathway Plans have the same status as Care Plans once a young person reaches the age of 16 and that these will be subject to the same Child Care Review process. This is particularly important where a young person leaves care in an unplanned way, and who may be at risk. It is expected that a young person will have an independent review of their plan up to age 18, if appropriate, even where they have left care, as these young people represent the most vulnerable in our society.


9. Case Responsibility

Pathway Team case responsibility will begin once hand over by the Social Worker has been completed and the case responsibility has been formally transferred.

9.1 Personal Advisers

The Personal Adviser acts as the young person's principal source of contact in any matter relating to the Pathway Plan and is accountable for the effective implementation of the Plan.

The Personal Adviser will ensure the co-ordination of other agencies and individuals identified in the Pathway Plan and ‘act as a focal point’ to make sure the young person has access to the appropriate services, including those provisions to enable them to develop some financial management capability.

It is the role of the Personal Adviser to keep in touch with the young person,and to remain informed as to the young person's progress. The Personal Adviser must maintain a written record of their contacts with the young person, monitoring the effectiveness of services in preparing the young person for a time when they will move to greater independence or when they cease to be looked after. When a care leaver moves to new accommodation, the Personal Adviser must see them at that accommodation within 7 days of the move.

On each visit, the Personal Adviser must consider whether the accommodation continues to be suitable for the young person.

The Personal Adviser will take responsibility for initiating the review of the Pathway Plan and for recording its outcomes.

The Personal Adviser is seen as a ‘function’ rather than a specific person and the local authority should consider delegating it wholly or partially to the best person able to carry out the role out. (See Part 3, Regulation 8 of the Care Leavers (England) Regulations).

The Personal adviser should be someone who is best able engage with the young person and motivate them to take up, and best make use of, the services that are available and provided.

It would be good practice were possible and appropriate for the Personal Adviser to maintain the same person from 18 years from when they were an Eligible or Relevant child. However, this will not always be possible, although the Personal Adviser should have the necessary skills and experience to carry out the function. The transfer of the role should be undertaken in a planned and managed way.

When allocating a Personal Adviser to an individual young person, consideration must be given to the wishes of the young person and to issues of gender, race, religion, linguistics, disabilities and equal opportunities. The assessment of need and a judgment as to who is most appropriate to fulfil the role of Personal Adviser will influence the choice and allocation of worker.

Care leavers under the age of 25 who wish to take up a programme of education or training will have an entitlement to resume support from a Personal Adviser previously responsible for their leaving care support


10. Education, Training and Employment

10.1 Planning for Education, Training and Careers

Care leavers must be provided with access to high quality information, advice and guidance to inform their plans in order to progress into continuing education, training or employment. How this will be met should be included in the Pathway Plan. They should be offered work experience and other opportunities to allow them to test their career aspirations and needs. Career planning tools should be used to inform Pathway Plans.

The local authority should make every effort not to disrupt a young person’s education during their key stage 4 years, both in terms of their school and care placement unless the circumstances clearly require this. (See also Education of Children Looked After).

Placement arrangements for young people considering attending university, from their 18th birthday to the point they commence higher education courses, must be addressed and agreed well in advance of their 18th birthday. Plans need to be made for the vacation breaks. The local authority should not move a young person participating in a course of education during the academic year after their 18th birthday

10.2 Care Leavers Continuing in Education

Where young people are continuing with an education or training course beyond their 21st birthday, the practical and financial support being provided must continue to be set out in their Pathway Plan.

Pathway Plans must set out accommodation arrangements, including financial arrangements during term time, short vacations and the long summer vacation.

10.3 The 16-19 Bursary Fund and the Higher Education Bursary

The 16-19 Bursary Fund helps 16-19 year olds continue in further education, where they might face financial barriers to participation such as the cost of transport, food or equipment. Young people in the defined group include those in care and care leavers. Visit the Department for Education website, The 16 to 19 Bursary Fund for more information.

The higher education bursary is for care leavers in higher education

10.4 Young People Resuming Education or Training after 21

Young people previously eligible for leaving care services resuming programmes of education or training after the age of 21 are entitled to continuing support from a Personal Adviser.

The definition of a programme of education or training must be interpreted broadly. For example, this might include options such as: completion of a basic skills course, so that the young person has the numeracy and literacy skills needed to compete in the jobs market; take up of a course of further education; take up of a university place; support to enable the young person to complete a recognised postgraduate qualification; or participation in vocational training and apprenticeships.

Where a care leaver requests this support, an assessment should be made to assess the appropriateness of the education or training course and how it will help them to achieve their ambitions. The leaving care team should meet with the young person and, based on the assessment of their needs and the suitability of the course, assign a Personal Adviser to participate in the preparation of a Pathway Plan. The plan should reflect the agreed educational outcomes for the young person and the type of support the young person will require. This assessment should draw on the information about the young person’s skills and capabilities which will have been set out in Pathway Plans up to age 21. The extent of practical and financial assistance provided will depend on the assessment of the young person’s needs and will reflect the type of course, whether it is full or part time and the young person’s existing income.

All care leavers (including those who live out of authority) should be made aware of their entitlement to a Personal Adviser up to age 25 if they wish to return to education and training, including by the provision of information (e.g. a letter or leaflet) on how to get in touch in the future. It should be explained to them that they will be supported to overcome difficulties so that they can return to education or training up to age 25 if this is their wish.  In particular, all young people who are not in education, employment, or training (NEET) should be encouraged to take up this offer of support.

This entitlement to resume the pathway planning process and a support relationship with a Personal Adviser starts from the time the young person informs the local authority of their intention to resume their education or training and ends with the completion of the course. This may include the need for continuing assistance where young people seek support to complete a series of education/training opportunities. Young people do not need to have decided what education or training they would like to pursue. In such cases, the Personal Adviser should help the young person identify the options best suited to them.

Care leavers will need support and guidance to help them think about and plan their return to education or training, consider all aspects such as financial support and impact on housing or benefits. The re-instated Pathway Plan must have a specific focus on the support that the care leaver will need to be able to meet the education or training goals agreed.


11. Staying Put

When carrying out an assessment of needs, the local authority must determine whether it would be appropriate to provide advice, assistance and support to facilitate a Staying Put arrangement. Where they determine that it would be appropriate, and where the child and the local authority foster parent wish to make a Staying Put arrangement, then the local authority must provide such advice, assistance and support to facilitate a Staying Put arrangement. For further information see Staying Put Policy.

Under the Care Leavers (England) Regulations 2010 and Planning Transition into Adulthood for Care Leavers Guidance, the Local Authority must provide information about extending placements post-18, covering:

  • The criteria for such extensions;
  • How extending placements will impact on the allowances provided by the Local Authority and whether other funding, e.g. funding for housing related support, will contribute to meeting placement costs;
  • Any financial contributions from the young person from their wages, salary, benefits or educational allowances;
  • How the income tax, national insurance and welfare benefits situation of carers may be affected by post -18 payments;
  • Insurance issues including liability and household;
  • The impact on foster carers' fostering registration limits and status;
  • Safeguarding arrangements including DBS checks on over 18 year olds and issues relating to fostered children in households.

Young People in Foster Care

For a young person living in foster care, the first Looked After Review following his or her 16th birthday should consider whether a Staying Put placement should be an option. This will entail assessing the implications for both the young person and the foster carer. See also Staying Put Policy for further information.

Following the young person's 18th birthday, the legal basis on which they occupy the property (former foster home) changes (the legal term is that the young person becomes an 'excluded licensee' lodging in the home) - this should not denote that the young person will be treated differently than they were as a fostered child.

Procedures should be agreed at the outset about how any wish by the carer to bring the arrangements to an end should be managed.

While Fostering Regulations will no longer legally apply to these arrangements, key standards should continue to govern the expectations of the placement when the young person reaches 18. These may be:

  • Yearly reviews of the carer(s);
  • Reassessment and re-registration every 3 years;
  • New DBS checks every 3 years on all adult members of the household, regular visitors and children of the carers aged 18 and over;
  • Health and safety checks;
  • Regular supervision from the social worker;
  • Attending required training.

The Local Authority will need to assess individual circumstances and consider the appropriateness of all of these checks particularly where the young person is the only person placed/living with their carer/s and it is not envisaged that further children will be placed.


12. Closure of Cases

Cases transferred from the Locality Team should indicate a change of case responsibility to the Pathway Team. Cases will not be closed to the Pathway Team until a young person reaches at least the age of 21 or older if in planned education.

Where there is an existing adult care Social Worker, the Leaving Care Personal Adviser will notify them in writing that the case has been transferred or closed.

Leaving care files will be archived by Pathways Team.


13. Access to Records

Over the course of their lifetime, people who have spent all or part of their childhood and adolescence in local authority care may want to access information about this period in their lives. There can be a range of reasons why people who have left care want to do this, including curiosity about why they came into care; what happened and when; a need to make sense of difficult memories and life events; to clarify disparate explanations; a desire to trace family members; seeking medical information in reference to hereditary illness/disease and also to obtain photos/certificates. For information on access to records by care leavers, see Access to Records Procedure, Applications by Agents.


Appendix 1: Table of Eligibility for Referral to the Leaving Care Team

Click here for Appendix 1: Table of Eligibility for Referral to the Leaving Care Team

The table below illustrates what support is available to each particular category of young people.

Who gets what? Support available
Eligible children
  • All the provisions of the looked after system;
  • Social Worker;
  • Needs Assessment;
  • Pathway Plan and Review.
Relevant children
  • Personal Adviser;
  • Needs Assessment;
  • Pathway Plan;
  • Accommodation and maintenance;
  • Assistance to achieve goals set out in the Pathway Plan;
  • Access to the Complaints Procedure;
  • Responsible authority must keep in touch.
Former Relevant Children
  • Personal Adviser;
  • Pathway Plan and Review;
  • Assistance with Education;
  • Assistance with employment;
  • Vacation accommodation for higher Education if needed;
  • Access to complaints Procedure;
  • Responsible authority must keep in touch.
Qualifying children
  • Same benefits as under s24 before amendment;
  • Responsible authority must keep in touch with local authority care leaves as they think appropriate in order to discharge their functions under s24A and s24B;
  • Local authority care leavers are entitled to assistance with education and training up to the age of 24 including vacation accommodation;
  • Services subject to needs assessment.

End