Information for Care Leavers
Our aim at Redbridge is to be one of the best places for all our children and young people to grow up and we want them to have the best possible start in life.
As your ‘corporate parents’ we want to ensure that you feel safe and supported and know where and who to go to for help if you have left care or are in the process of leaving care. With the right support, we believe those who leave care can go on to lead independent and fulfilled lives.
We will be here if things in your life don’t go to plan or you chose to have a change in direction. We want our care leavers to be active members of society, and to have all the chances in life that other young adults have.
If you are a care leaver under the age of 25 and require support or advice you can contact the leaving care team duty number on 0208 708 6807 and ask to speak to a personal adviser.
Our new local offer for Care Leavers outlines what support is available to you and includes information about Personal Advisors and Pathway Plans; education, employment and training; accommodation; health and wellbeing; relationships and financial support.
Local Care Leaver Offer
We have taken strong account of government guidance, including the Corporate Parenting principles enshrined in the Children and Social Work Act 2017. We have also worked with a number of care leavers over the years and their voices have helped us to put together this offer. We will continue to listen to your views to make sure the services we provide are what you need.
This booklet may not include all the support available to you. To get more information, or if you are not sure what level of support you are entitled to, contact your personal advisor who will be able to help.
Who is a Care Leaver?
You are an eligible care leaver if:
- you are currently looked after; and aged 16 or 17; and
- you have been looked after for a period of 13 weeks (or periods amounting to 13 weeks) which began after you reached 14 and ended after you reached 16.
You are a relevant care leaver if:
- you are no longer looked after by the Local Authority but you have been ‘Eligible’; and
- aged 16 or 17 years old; immediately before being detained or in hospital you were ‘Eligible’; or lived for continuous period of 6 months or more with a parent, someone with parental responsibility and where those arrangements break down.
You are a Former Relevant care leaver if:
- if you are aged 18 years or above, and either have been a Relevant or Eligible child when under 18;
- if at the age of 21 or before reaching the age of 25 you are in education or training, then you will remain a former relevant child until the end of the agreed programme;
- if after 21 years you inform us that you want to pursue or are pursuing a programme of education or training.
You are a qualifying care leaver if:
- you are at least 16 but under 21; and
- you were looked after immediately prior to the making of a special guardianship order which was in force when you reached 18;
- or if at any time after reaching the age of 16, but before reaching the age of 18 you have been a looked after child, accommodated by or on behalf of a voluntary organisation, registered children’s home, or by a health authority or privately fostered;
- as a Qualifying Care Leaver, you can access advice and assistance based on a needs assessment completed by the Leaving Care Team.
Your Social Worker or Personal Advisor can help you to understand which of these categories applies to you.
Redbridge Council will provide you with a Personal Advisor until you are 21. You can choose to keep seeing them until you are 25 if you wish. If you are in education your Personal Advisor will automatically continue to support you until you are 25.
Your Personal Advisor will help with various things which will help you move on to independence.
My Pathway Plan
Your Social Worker will work with you to prepare and agree a Pathway Plan. This is your own individual plan about your needs, views and future goals. Your Pathway Plan will be reviewed with you at least every 6 months.
Education, Employment and Training
Redbridge’s Virtual School can help you succeed in your learning. If you are aged 16-17, the Virtual School, alongside your Social Worker and Personal Advisor will help you with your Personal Education Plan (PEP).
We will always support you to find a home within Redbridge if that is the best thing to do. If you have left the area and wish to return we will try and help you to do this, provided it is a safe option.
Council tax – all Redbridge Care Leavers are exempt from paying any council tax until they reach the age of 25. This applies to Care Leavers who were previously looked after by Redbridge Children Social Care. Council tax exemption does not relate to other authorities' Care Leavers placed in Redbridge.
Further information about the different accommodation options can be found in the full local care offer document above.
If you are living independently you could receive support with things like clothing; exceptional circumstances; emergency storage provision; moving house; and cold weather payments. Please speak to your Personal Advisor about this.
Health and Wellbeing
Whilst you are looked after (aged 16-18) you will continue to be offered an annual Health Assessment by one of our Looked After Children (LAC) nurses.
You will be registered with health services, such as a GP, dentist and optician by your carer, in the area you live.
Useful contacts for Health and Wellbeing:
R3 (Redbridge, Recovery and Reintegration) - free and confidential support service for individuals and their families affected by drug and alcohol problems. For more information telephone 0300 303 4612
Access, Assessment and Brief Intervention Service (Redbridge) - for adults aged 18 to 65 enquiring about mental health services in the borough. Visit NELFT website or contact 0300 555 1088.
Talking Therapies in Redbridge - free, confidential NHS service that will work with you to help you feel better. To access the service complete an online Talking Therapies form or call 0300 300 1554 (Option 1) to arrange an initial telephone appointment.
One Place East - provides information and signposting for people experiencing or recovering from mental health problems. Visit One Place East www.rcmh.org.uk or call 020 8925 2435
Imagine mental health provides a range of services in Redbridge including recovery support planning, social inclusion, user-led groups and peer support groups and a two hour drop in service open six days a week. Call 0208 551 5314 or email email@example.com
Richmond Fellowship Employment Service - If you have had an experience of a mental health illness and would like to return to employment or adult education or are at risk of losing your job. www.richmondfellowship.org.uk
Samaritans (Redbridge) - They provide free and confidential emotional support if you are experiencing feelings of distress or despair, including those which may lead to suicide. Call 116 123 free from any phone or visit the Redbridge website
If you are living independently (not with a foster carer or in a children’s home) you will receive an allowance.
From 18 you are entitled to claim benefits. Your Personal advisor can support you to claim benefits.
Your personal advisor can support you to access benefits you may be entitled to.
Leaving care/setting up Home Allowance
From the age of 18 you are entitled to support for setting up your own home (up to £2000).
Please contact the Leaving Care Team and arrange to come into the office for this
You have the right to see information that we keep about you. Please speak to your Personal Advisor for more information on accessing your social care files.
There are charities who give financial help in the form of a grant. The following charities may be able to help (click on the names to view their website):
Turn2us - have a grant search tool
Care Leavers' Foundation - award grants to care leavers aged 18-29
Lawrence Atwell's Charity - award grants to young people aged 16-26
The Spark Foundation - award grants to care leavers up to age 25 for home, education, employment, skills and interests
Capstone Care Leavers Trust - award grants to care leavers aged 17-25
Problems with utility bills - find providers who have debt relief funds at www.charisgrants.com
Buttle UK - award grants to estranged young people aged 16-20
The Prince's Trust - awards grant for young people aged 17-25
Please speak to your Personal Advisor if you need extra support because:
- you have special educational needs or a disability
- you were an unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Child (UASC) and your immigration status is still unclear
- you are in or leaving custody or you have had contact with the criminal justice system
- you are a young parent; or
- you are going through a difficult time in your personal life.
Your right to Advocacy support
If you feel that we are treating you unfairly, have not respected your rights or you want to make a complaint, you have a right to the support of an Advocate. An Advocate will give you confidential advice and support you to speak up, or will speak on your behalf if you prefer. Advocacy is independent and confidential.
Contact the Children's Rights Advocate
Working days: Wednesday, Thursday and alternative Fridays
T: 020 8708 5811 | E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Your right to see what information we hold about you
You have a right to see the information we keep about you, including the files and records about you when you were in care. Your Personal Advisor can help you get access to these.
The Don't Whisper Senior Children in Care Council
Care leavers up to the age of 25 can share their voices and experiences of being Looked After and a Care Leaver and help shape future services.
If you are interested in this speak with your Personal Advisor or the Children's Participation Officer on 020 8708 3448/07908 461 375.
Other places for help and advice
New City College
020 8548 7402
Government website student financial support
Job Centre Plus
0300 123 6600
0808 800 5792
National Youth Advisory Service (NYAS)
0151 649 8700
Asylum Support Tribunal
The Albert Kennedy Trust
Local Care Leaver Offer