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Leaving care local offer

As a young person who has been Looked After by Hackney, you can learn more about the support available to you in this section.

The information may change frequently, as new support offers are developed or legislation changes, so make sure you check it out regularly.

Once a young person becomes 18 years of age they are no longer legally looked after.

Although many young people leave care at 18, some young people may leave care before that.

Definition of a care leaver

A care leaver is a young person aged 16 or over who has been looked after by the local authority for a relevant period of time since their 14th birthday and with a period of care taking place on or after their 16th birthday.

Other young people who were looked after immediately before a special guardianship order was granted qualify for advice and assistance from us between the ages of 16 and 21.

Eligibility status

You’re an eligible care leaver if:

  • you’re between 16-17, and
  • you’re currently looked after, and
  • you’ve been in care for a period of 13 weeks 9or periods amounting to 13 weeks) beyond your 16th birthday

You’re a relevant care leaver if:

  • you’re aged 16 or 17
  • you’ve been looked after by Children’s Services for a period of 13 weeks since the age of 14 and for a period of time after your 16 birthday, and
  • you’re no longer looked after

You’re a former relevant care leaver if:

  • you’re aged between 18 and 21 (or 25 if you want extended support) and before reaching 18 you were or had been a relevant young person, or
  • you’re previously an eligible or relevant young person

You’re a qualifying care leaver if:

  • you’re at least 16 but under 21, and
  • you were looked after by Children Services on, or after your 16th birthday and are no longer looked after, and
  • you’ve spent less than 13 weeks in care since your 14th birthday (ie you don’t fulfil the criteria for eligible or relevant child), or
  • you were LAC before the making of a special guardianship order

For more information ask someone from your social work unit.

Our support

In Hackney we want to ensure the support that we provide for you when you leave care:

  • recognises you as an individual with individual needs
  • supports you in taking responsibility for yourself as a young adult. We’ll offer you a ‘second chance’ if things don’t work out first time round. Most people make mistakes during their move to independence whether they have been in care or not
  • helps you access and maximise all the support available to you through a range of services, including accessing benefits, practical and financial support
  • ensures all young people who have left our care are treated equitably

The amount of financial and other support you will get as a care leaver will be dependent on your age and individual circumstances.

Getting advice from your social worker

In Hackney, the role of a personal advisor is fulfilled by the Looked After Children Service social workers and from the post 16 learning advisors in the Virtual School. This support continues through to the Leaving Care Service up until your 21st birthday and 25th birthday if you want support to continue.

Your social worker will be in touch with you at least 6 times a year, but more if this is needed. You can always contact your social worker in between these contacts if you need advice and support.

Once you are 21 years of age you will only have a social worker if you want ongoing support with an area of assessed need for as long as required up until your 25th birthday. This means that your case could close, but if you need support later on you can ask for support again, up until your 25th birthday.

Your pathway plan

It is expected that as you are preparing to leave care, and after leaving care, you will be involved in agreeing and reviewing your Pathway Plan. Your Pathway Plan is important as it will look at the things that are important to you in moving to independence, such as being ready to leave care, where you live, money management, looking after yourself, health, employment, education and training issues. Your Pathway Plan is also your record of the support that we have agreed to provide to you.

Page updated on: 16 August 2019