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Preparing to Leave Care – What’s Next?

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Your Rights and Entitlements

Once you reach 16 and have been in the care of Kent County Council (KCC), you are legally entitled to ongoing support from Kent County Council. KCC works within ‘The Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000’ and the ‘Children Act Transition Guidance (vol3)’ which is designed to give 16 and 17 year olds still in care, and care leavers, the support and advice that you need to enable you to move successfully into adulthood.

Click here to find out what help and support you are entitled to from Kent County Council. If you are unsure about what you are eligible for, need help understanding the rules around eligibility and entitlements or have any concerns you are not getting the support you need, please speak to your Social Worker or your Personal Adviser (P.A.). They will be able to explain the rules around entitlements and make sure you are receiving the support you should.

For more information regarding Rights and Entitlements click here or visit the Coram Voice website.

The Leaving Care Charter

We know that leaving care can be a difficult and uncertain time with lots of changes to consider. Kent County Council, as your ‘Corporate Parent’, can be there to guide and support you through it.

We wrote the Leaving Care Charter to explain exactly what you should expect in terms of the help and support Kent County Council will give you as you leave care. Click here to read the Leaving Care Charter.

This Charter is Kent County Council’s promise to you to help support you when you leave care. It follows on from the Kent Pledge made to Children and Young People in the care of Kent. We are committed to ensuring that you, as a Care Leaver, have access to the best possible chances in life when making the transition from being in care to independence. The Charter also explains what you can do if things aren’t going well or you feel you are not receiving the support you should. It also tells you how you can have an input into the services Kent County Council provides for Children in Care and Care Leavers.

The Care Leavers 18+ Service

As your corporate parents, it is our responsibility to be good parents to all our young people in care and leaving care. Being a good parent means keeping our young people safe and providing them with the highest possible level of support to recognise and meet everyone’s individual needs.

We can assist young people over the age of 18 in accessing housing, education, training, work experience and health services. We are also able to assist you by providing you with support, encouragement and financial advice to help you make the most of your journey through the care system.

Our Care Leavers 18+ Service is based in West Malling and Dover. It works closely with young people who are over the age of 18. Our Care Leavers 18+ Service team is made up of personal advisers who will support you with your journey to independent living. The Care Leavers 18+ Service has a legal obligation to support you and provide you with assistance until you are 25.

If you are based in North and West Kent, contact the team at Worrall House, West Malling on 03000 421124.

If you are based in South and East Kent, contact the team at Thistley Hill, Dover on 03000 410701.

What is a Pathway Plan?

The Children Act 1989 places duties on all Local Authorities to ensure that all eligible, relevant and former relevant children should have a Pathway Plan, which should set out the support that will be provided to the care leaver once they have left care. This must be based on the Needs Assessment carried out. The Plan should be prepared before the young person leaves care.

What does this mean?

A Pathway Plan sets out the arrangements that should be put in place to meet your current and predicted needs. Your Pathway Plan will be started by your social worker when you turn 16. This will be reviewed with your care plan twice a year. When you turn 18, your personal adviser will take over the duties in managing this for you.

You should be a part of the process of writing it and should always receive a copy of your Pathway Plan. It should be written in language that you understand and you can ask for changes to be made to your plan if you don’t understand it.

The Pathway Plan should identify support needs and agree actions to be taken to meet your needs. Some of these actions will be for you to complete and some will be for your Social Worker, Personal Advisor, key worker or family members.

The Pathway Plan should outline your rights and entitlements as a young person in care/leaving care. You might find it a long document, but that is because it needs to cover certain topics including: a short explanation of why you entered care, who you are and your identity, who has your important documents and a little about your family and friends. It also needs to cover how your needs will be met in relation to education, employment and training, health, managing and living independently and where you live and will live in the future. It should also document support with budgeting and your financial entitlements and agreed actions to be taken. Pathway Plans should always show evidence of your input. Your Pathway Plan will have the following 8 ‘domains’:

  • Where I Live
  • Daily Living Skills
  • Identity
  • Family, Friends and Relationships
  • How I feel and behave
  • Education, Training and Employment
  • Health
  • Finances

Your Pathway Plan needs to be updated at least every six months and a manager from the Leaving Care Team will read and agree to the plan.

In April 2017, the Children and Social Work Act became law and the provision for care leavers has been extended to include all young people up to the age of 25 including those who are not in education. This means that KCC now has a duty to support you as a care leaver up to aged 25 and the level of support will depend on your individual needs. A lighter touch pathway plan record may be created to capture your needs and plan post 21.

To find out more about Pathway Planning, look at the documents below.

Pathway Planning – Young Person’s Version
Pathway Planning Information from Become

If you are under 18 and would like to know more about your Care Plan and Child in Care Review Meetings, please click here.

Your Personal Adviser

When you turn 18, your social worker will be replaced with a personal adviser. The role of your personal adviser is to become your main point of contact and continue supporting you at least until you turn 21. However, they can support you until you turn 25 if you need or want further support. Your personal adviser will be identified for you after you become 17. This is to help you build a relationship with them before they become your allocated worker.

Your personal adviser will keep in contact with you and arrange meetings to support you to make the best choices and decisions for your future. They can visit you at home but can also arrange to see you in the community. You will be provided with your personal adviser’s mobile number and email address. They work from 9:00 –17:00, Monday to Friday and can offer support during that time.

Personal Advisers can provide help and advice about:

  • Developing the practical skills, confidence and decision-making capabilities you need to live independently
  • Budgeting and financial advice
  • Housing options available to you and how to access accommodation
  • Education, training and employment
  • Maintaining positive health and wellbeing as well as how to access specialist health services
  • Leisure, sporting and cultural opportunities to allow you to enjoy and participate in community life

Your Personal Adviser will act as a focal point to ensure that you are provided with the right kind of personal support. They take the lead in helping manage your Pathway Plan once you reach 18, and ensure it is reviewed and updated every 6 months. Your Pathway Plan should set out the kind of support you need from your Personal Adviser.

Occasionally, personal advisers leave. If this does happen, your personal adviser will say goodbye at least two weeks before this. If this does not happen, we will explain why. In exceptional circumstances, you can request to have your personal adviser changed. If you would like this to be considered, you will need to speak to the care leavers 18+ service team manager.

The Pathway Planning Pack

Now that you are aged 16+ and have been in the care of Kent County Council, (KCC), you are legally entitled to ongoing support from Kent County Council.

We will give you a pack that contains a number of leaflets to help explain what support and financial help you should receive from Kent County Council as a Care Leaver and also gives you details of other information that you can access to help you understand what support you can expect to receive from KCC.

It is important that your social worker understands how you feel about your current situation and what thoughts you have about your future. This may all seem a bit overwhelming at the moment, but please don’t panic. You are not on your own, and your social worker, carer and other adults around you all have a part to play in supporting you into independence. This pack simply aims to set out what you can expect and to help you start conversations with your worker and carer about what things you might need support with to increase your confidence, knowledge and skills as you move into adulthood and independence.

In your pack you will find:

Kent’s Care Leaver Charter –This sets out KCC’s promise to you.

Entitlements document – This sets out what practical and financial support you are entitled to depending on your care leaving status.

All About Me - Checklist for you to complete to help you see what areas you feel confident in and what areas of your life you need support with.

Staying Put – A guide about possibly staying with your carers post 18

Pathway Plan – Young person’s version - allows you to note down key areas that you want to discuss with your social worker that will help form your Pathway Plan.

Pathway to Success document – This sets out what a Pathway Plan is.

Two further documents that may be useful to you are:

Accommodation document

Education, Employment and Training document