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Care leavers and personal advisors

Personal advisor

Definition of a care leaver

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

It is often confusing understanding the terms that councils use to describe care leavers. You may need to know what term applies to you when understanding out how much support you can get.

There are several types of care leavers:

  • Eligible care leaver is a young person still in care aged 16 and 17 who has been in care for a total of 13 weeks from the age of 14
  • Relevant care leaver is someone aged 16 or 17 who has left care having been looked after for at least 13 weeks from the age of 14 (including some time aged 16 or 17). This includes young people who were in care immediately prior to being detained in a Youth Offending Institution, or hospital, from age 16
  • Former relevant care leaver aged 18-25 who has been an eligible and/or relevant care leaver
  • Former relevant child is a young person who is aged 18 to 25, and has been a relevant child (and would be one if aged under 18), or was an eligible child immediately before he/she ceased to be looked after at age 18.

Personal Advisor

If you are leaving care and are between the ages of 18 – 21, we’ll provide you with a Personal Advisor (PA) who will be part of the Supporting Independence Team.

A Personal Advisor is someone who offers advice, support, and information to make sure you’re ready to leave care and live independently. They will stay in regular contact with you, create a Pathway Plan with you and give you help and advice if you need it. Your PA can continue to stay in contact and support you from age 21 – 25 if you would like this.

Pathway Planning

Your Pathway Plan is an important document that prepares you for leaving care. It makes sure you get what you need so you feel confident living independently. This might include finding accommodation or support to help you achieve your career goals.

A Pathway Plan should be created with you as it’s about your life. You can decide who you want support from to write the plan. For example, you can bring an independent advocate to support or challenge any decisions if you would like.

Remember, it’s an opportunity for you to have your say about how you want to be supported until you feel confident to live independently. You should always be given a copy of your Pathway Plan and It will be reviewed with you every six months, but you can ask for a review at any time if there are any major changes in your life.

They will take over your care planning and there are also some benefits you can apply for through your advisor.