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 or periods amounting to 13 weeks) since the age of 14 and beyond your 16th birthday

You’re a relevant care leaver if:

  • you’re aged 16 or 17
  • You were 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 an eligible or relevant young person

You’re a qualifying care leaver if: 

  • you’re at least 16 but under 21, and
  • You were a relevant care leaver for 6 months  by the age of 17.5 years old
  • you were Looked After immediately before the making of a special guardianship order
  • You were Looked After on your 16th birthday and beyond, but for less than 13 weeks in total before returning home. 

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

Your Social Worker will plan your transition to Leaving Care prior to your last Looked After Review as they are linked to a Leaving Care Unit, they should also have shown you this Local Offer so you know your entitlements. The Leaving Care service is made of Social Workers and Personal Advisors.

Your Leaving Care 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 file may be closed, 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 every 6 months. Your Pathway Plan is important as it will look at the things that are important to you in gaining more independence: where you live, what support you need, keeping safe, money management, health, employment, education and training as well as relationships. Your Pathway Plan is also your record of the support that we have agreed to provide to you.

Page updated on: 28 April 2022