Leaving care can be a worrying and challenging time for young people. We've developed this part of the website to give you information about your rights and links to websites which might help you. This information may not always be up to date, so please use the links provided to ensure you have the most up to date and relevant information.
Support for care leavers
- You have a right to a needs assessment before you leave care. This report should include your views and wishes. It should consider your independent living skills and ability to manage your own finances. The aim of the needs assessment is to ensure that you leave care at a time that is right for you. You should be given a copy and be able to discuss it with your social worker.
- You should have a Pathway Plan, started sometime after your 15th birthday, that you have contributed to and agree with. Working from the outcome of the needs assessment, this should make clear what help you will get when preparing to leave care and what support you will receive after you have left. The Pathway Plan should say how your Local Authority will help you achieve the things you want in life, such as accommodation, educational achievements, training, finances or getting a job.
- You should be given a Personal Adviser until you are 25. This will be a worker from the Leaving Care Team. It is their job to keep in touch with you, check that you are alright and help you get what you need. To do this they must make sure that your Pathway Plan is followed and reviewed with you at least every six months. If you don’t want to see your PA you don’t have to but they should always be available if you ever do need them.
- If you need some extra support with a specific issue or need help to get your voice heard, you can request the support of an advocate. To do this please contact the Children’s Involvement Team via email on firstname.lastname@example.org
Finding somewhere to live
- If you are in a foster home, once you turn 18 you can ask to stay in the home the you are currently living until you are 21. This is called ‘staying put’.
- When you are moving into your own place you can ask your Local Authority for the Setting Up Home Allowance, which is normally £2000. This is to help you buy essentials for your new home, such as furniture or appliances.
Managing your finances
- Once you are 18, if you are not in employment or full-time education, you can claim benefits. Your PA can give you support to apply for the right benefits.
- When you’re moving into your own home you can ask for the Setting Up Home Allowance, which used to be £2000 but from April 2022 has gone up to £3100 This is to help you buy essentials for your new home, such as furniture or appliances. There is a new financial procedure for Care Leavers. Check it out here!
Continuing your education
- If you are staying in full-time further education and are 16-19 you would be entitled to the 16-19 Higher Education Bursary of up to £1,200.
- If you go to university you would be entitled to the Higher Education Bursary of £2,000. You should get in touch with your school or college to find out how to claim the bursary. For more information see https://www.gov.uk/extra-money-pay-university
- If you are attending university, the Local Authority should provide accommodation and financial support during the holidays. Speak to your PA for more information.
Making a complaint
- You are entitled to let children’s services know if you are not happy and, if necessary, you can make a formal complaint if you are not satisfied with the support you are getting, or feel that you have not been listened to. For more information about how to make a complaint please visit: https://www.sheffield.gov.uk/content/sheffield/home/your-city-council/make-complaint-council-service.html
- You also have the right to have an advocate who can help you to make a complaint. To request an advocate please contact The Children’s Involvement Team via email at email@example.com
Viewing your files
- The law says that you have a right to see information that is written about you. This includes social services files. You can request access to your files by contacting the council or talking with your social worker or personal advisor about how to do this.
- For more information on how access your files please visit: http://www.sheffield.gov.uk/content/sheffield/home/your-city-council/subject-access-request.html
https://coramvoice.org.uk/young-peoples-zone/what-are-my-rights-and-entitlements This website contains information specifically about care leavers and your rights.
https://england.shelter.org.uk/housing_advice/housing_for_young_people/preparing_to_leave_care This part of the Shelter website gives some useful information about housing and support you are entitled to. This includes housing grants and benefits.
http://www.becomecharity.org.uk/care-the-facts/being-a-care-leaver/ Become is a charity for children in care and care leavers and their website has loads of information about issues relating to being a care leaver and advice about how to overcome these.
https://www.ucas.com/undergraduate/applying-university/individual-needs/ucas-undergraduate-support-care-leavers UCAS manage all the applications to universities. This has a video and information about the support you are entitled to if you decide to go to university.