Young People in & Leaving Care
The Children (Leaving Care) Act came into effect on 1st October 2001. If you left care after reaching 16 and before 1st October 2001, the new law does not apply to you, however, you are still entitled to advice and assistance until the age of 21 and you should speak to your social worker or contact Services to Children & Young People, if you need help.
If you are 16 or 17 and have been in care after 1st October 2001, for at least 13 weeks since you turned 14, the new law applies to you. This means you are entitled to have a Personal Adviser whether you stay in care or leave. Your Personal Adviser will make sure that you are ready and prepared to leave care. If you leave care and are 16 or 17 you will not be able to claim benefits and the local authority that last looked after you must plan to meet all your support needs. When you are 18 you can claim benefits but the local authority responsible for you must continue to plan to support you through your Personal Adviser at least until you are 21. After 21, if you go onto residential school or higher education you will continue to be eligible for support including accommodation during the vacation. Even if you have only been in care for one day after 16 you are still able to get some help and you should either speak to your social worker or contact Services to Children & Young People, to find out what you are entitled to.