As a qualifying care leaver, Children’s Services must:
- Give you advice and support.
- Keep in touch with you.
- Provide or pay for accommodation during college or university holidays, if you are studying full-time away from home, up to age 25.
Children’s Services might also:
- Find you somewhere to live in exceptional circumstances.
- Support you by buying the items you need or, in exceptional circumstances, giving you cash if you need it for your education or health.
- Give you a grant to pay for expenses related to your education, training and work needs up to age 25.
- Contribute to living expenses related with your education and training, up to age 25.
Your Personal Advisor (PA)
If you want to change something about your current situation, it is best to speak to your PA first.
They will look at all your options with you and help you make a decision that will work best for you. They will make sure any changes are brought up at your next Pathway Plan review and are written into your Pathway Plan for the next six months.
Children’s Services have to honour anything they have agreed in your Pathway Plan, so try to get any agreements written down.
Your PA’s Manager
Your PA probably doesn’t have the power to make the final decision about changes to your care.
Normally, your PA’s manager will need to agree, or it might have to be considered by a special panel (this is just a group of managers who sit together and make decisions about specific things). If your PA says that they can’t decide immediately, try not to get frustrated with them as it is normal for them to have to check with their boss first.
However, if your PA says they will check with their boss and doesn’t come back with an answer or you think the answer they are giving is unfair, you can ask to speak to their manager directly.
If you are going to do this, it is important that you have clear reasons why you think you should be getting what you are asking for and how refusing this will have a negative impact on you.
If you are thinking about living independently, your carers probably know you quite well.
They will be the ones helping you to get ready to live independently. Your social worker will also speak to them to check that you are ready. So it’s a good idea to chat to them about it first.
Your Social Worker
They will be supporting you as you become a care leaver. Explain what you would like and ask about getting an assessment and Pathway Plan so things can get started.
Your Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO)
There will need to be a LAC Review before you can live independently and your IRO should speak to you on your own before the meeting. Make sure that you tell them what you would like so that this can be discussed in the meeting.
I need more help
If you still feel that no-one is listening, or you want to get some advice before contacting Children’s Services, contact Always Heard, our national advocacy advice service.