Who is a care leaver | Medway Council

The amount of support you can get when you leave care depends on your age and circumstances.

See the different terms used to describe care leavers and the support we'll give you if you have been in our care below.

Care leaver status

You're an eligible care leaver if you:

  • are aged 16 and 17
  • have been in care for at least 13 weeks since the age of 14
  • were still in care on your 16th birthday and at least 24 hours after.

Your support

We have a duty to support you up to the age of 18, wherever you're living.

You'll have an allocated social worker until you are 18.

When you are 17 a personal advisor will start to work with you. They will support you until you're 21, or in some cases 25.

Your entitlements

As an eligible young person, you're entitled to:

  • accommodation and living costs

  • a social worker and a personal advisor

  • a detailed assessment of your needs

  • a pathway plan which replaces your care plan

  • advice and support

  • an education pathway plan (EPP) and six monthly reviews

  • money to live on until you reach 18, and advice and support to manage your finances after this age

  • statutory visits at a frequency agreed at your Child in Care Review overseen by your Independent Reviewing Officer

  • statutory reviews chaired by an Independent Reviewing Officer every six months until you are 18

  • a health assessment every 12 months until you are 18, and a full Health History after your 18th birthday

  • opportunities for social activities, hobbies and cultural activities or outings.

You're a relevant care leaver if you:

  • are 16 or 17 years old
  • have been in care for at least 13 weeks since the age of 14
  • left care after your 16th birthday.

Your entitlements

As a relevant care leaver, you're entitled to:

  • help to maintain suitable accommodation

  • a personal advisor

  • a detailed assessment of your needs

  • a pathway plan reviewed every six months

  • help to make sure that you get education, training and employment

  • advice and support

  • visits from a personal advisor within seven days of you moving to a new property, and then every eight weeks.

You're a former relevant care leaver if you:

  • are 18 to 21 years old
  • are 18 to 25 and in education or training
  • were eligible or relevant before and would like to continue getting support.

Your entitlements

You're entitled to:

  • a personal advisor

  • a pathway plan and six-monthly reviews

  • help with education, training and employment

  • advice and support

  • visits from your personal advisor within seven days of you moving to a new property, and then every eight weeks while you're still getting support from us

  • financial support for equipment and costs for education

  • a higher education bursary of £2,000 if you're at university

  • vacation accommodation costs if in higher education or residential further education

  • access to local health, dental and optician services

Support up to 25

If you ask for support up to 25, we will:

  • allocate you a personal advisor

  • carry out an assessment to find out how we can support you

  • prepare a pathway plan

  • help you with your educational and training needs. This can include help with expenses.

We'll support you as long as you're in education, in line with your pathway plan. If you take a break from education but plan on returning we will continue to support you.

If you request this support, we'll assess the appropriateness of the course. This will include finding out how it will help you achieve your goals.

The support we give will depend on the type of course, if it is part-time or full-time, and your income.

You're a qualifying care leaver if you:

  • are under 21, or 25 if in education or training
  • have been looked after or accommodated in other settings such as custody, and have returned home and stayed there for six months or more after your 16th birthday
  • you were under a special guardianship order.

Your entitlements

As a qualifying care leaver, you're entitled to:

  • advice and support

  • financial help if assessed as needed

  • support with education, training and employment up to 25 years old

You are not entitled to a personal advisor or a pathway plan. In some circumstances, and depending on your needs, we may offer more support.

This may include:

  • keeping in contact

  • holiday accommodation if you're in further or higher education.

Contact us if you believe you're a qualifying care leaver and would like support.

You're entitled to the same level of care and support as any other care leaver if you:

  • are a former unaccompanied child who qualifies as a care leaver
  • and has been granted leave to remain
  • or who has an outstanding asylum or other human rights claim or appeal.

Your needs assessment

We'll carry out a needs assessment as part of your pathway plan. In this assessment, we must consider your needs as an unaccompanied child or victim of modern slavery. An independent reviewing officer will then review your pathway plan.

If you're unaccompanied or you have been trafficked from overseas, the plan may include:

  • issues relating to your immigration status

  • advice and support you need to engage in a timely and effective way with the process to resolve your status.

Future plans

If your long-term future is in the United Kingdom (UK) we'll need to consider the challenges and issues facing you. This may include education or preparing for independent living.

If you have been granted refugee status or humanitarian protection we'll help you plan for your leave to remain application.

Your personal advisor will help you understand the roles and responsibilities of the people working with you.

When making future plans we'll consider your risk of becoming socially isolated. We'll reduce this risk by taking into account your language and cultural factors.

We'll also consider the risks of exploitation when you leave care.