A Care Leaver is
A label defined by law and covers a range of circumstances
There are some additional categories which the government has developed to make sure young people get the right level and type of support that relates to the amount of time they are children in care. These categories are:
You would be an eligible young person if:
You are 16/17 and you are currently a child in care and you have been in care for a period of 13 weeks (or episodes which add up to 13 weeks) since your 14th birthday and at least one day whilst you were 16 or 17 years of age.
Please note: Looked after children who are subject to a care order but return home to a parent or someone with parental responsibility remain looked after and eligible.
You would be a relevant young person if:
- You are no longer being cared for by the local authority but you have been eligible and you are 16/17 years old, or
- Were detained in custody (due to a court order) or in hospital but were looked after immediately prior to detention for a period of at least 13 weeks which began after the age of 14.
Please note: If you are not subject to a care order and return home to a parent or a person with parental responsibility for a period of 6 months or more you will lose your relevant status. If this arrangement breaks down before you are 18 and you stop living with your parent then you will be treated as a relevant child.
You would be a former relevant young person if:
You are aged 18 or above and immediately before you reach 18 you were or had been a relevant or eligible care leaver or
At 21 or before the age of 25 you either continue to be on an agreed course of full time education and/or training and wish to continue to receive a service or
After 21 and before the age of 25 you can return to service requesting support and advice which require a pathway plan be developed
And if after you turn 21 and we all think you don’t need us anymore we will write to you between aged 21 to 25 at least annually to explain and remind you that the service is still available and how you can return to the service at any time during this period to seek support.
You would be a qualifying young person if:
- You are aged at least 16 but under 21 and you were a looked after young person prior to the making of a Special Guardianship Order or if at any time after you reached the age of 16, you were looked after for a period of less than 13 weeks and have not returned home or
- At age 16/17 you were an eligible child but were living with a parent for more than 6 months before you reached the age of 18 (unless you were there under a care order)
- The local authority can give financial assistance to you where there is an assessed need. Where appropriate this can be at the same level as other care leavers e.g. where they have no parent to turn to for assistance or the parent does not have capacity for assistance.
- It is the responsibility of the local authority to decide on an individual basis the provision of financial assistance.
- The Leaving Care Act states that the responsible authority must provide vacation accommodation to any qualifying young person between the ages of 16 and 25 in higher education or in residential further education.