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2.8 Preparation for Leaving Care


The Care Leavers (England) Regulations 2010

The Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations - Volume 3: Planning Transition to Adulthood for Care Leavers (revised January 2015)


Arrangements for young people Leaving Care are the responsibility of the Placing Authority; therefore managers and staff should obtain copies of procedures from relevant authorities and assist social workers in implementing them. 

This chapter summarises the key terms and responsibilities in relation to Leaving Care and what steps should be taken by homes in relation to them.


This chapter was slightly amended in June 2013 in regard to higher education bursary and the role of the personal adviser.


  1. Definitions
  2. Key Responsibilities
  3. Work Undertaken by the Home

1. Definitions

1.1 Eligible Young People

There is a duty to support young people up to the age of 18 years if they meet the following eligibility criteria.

Young people who are aged 16 or 17, who have been Looked After for a period or periods totalling at least 13 weeks starting after their 14th birthday and are still Looked After. (This total does not include a series of short term placements of up to four weeks where the child has returned to the parent.)

1.2 Relevant Young People

Relevant young people are aged 16 or 17 and are no longer Looked After, having previously been in the category of Eligible Young Person when Looked After. However, if after leaving the looked after service, a young person returns home for a period of 6 months or more to be cared for by a parent, he or she will no longer be a "relevant young person". A young person is also "relevant" if, having been looked after for three months or more, he or she is then detained after their 16th birthday either in hospital, remand centre, young offenders' institution or secure training centre. There is a duty to support relevant young people up to the age of 18.

1.3 Former Relevant Young People

Former Relevant Young People are aged 18 to 21 (or up to 24 if in full-time further or higher education), and have left the Looked After service having been previously either "eligible", "relevant" or both. There is a duty to consider the need to support these young people. Placing Authorities also have a duty to pay a higher education bursary.

1.4 Qualifying Young People

They are over the age of 16 and under the age of 21, and have been Looked After or, if disabled, Privately Fostered after reaching 16, but do not qualify as eligible, relevant or former relevant. They may receive support, advice and assistance.

1.5 Personal Adviser

A Personal Adviser is the person appointed to work in relation to the Relevant child or Former Relevant child, usually at the first Looked After Review after the young person's 16th birthday, and will occupy a key role in identifying services that prepare the young person for independence. They will also provide support after the young person ceases to be looked after. He or she will hold a pivotal role in the assessment, planning and review of services as set out in the Pathway Plan.

Where accommodation is provided to a young person by the responsible authority under section 23B or section 24B of the Children Act 1989, the Personal Adviser must visit the Relevant child or Former Relevant child at that accommodation:

  • Within 7 days of the accommodation first being provided;
  • Subsequently, before the Pathway Plan is reviewed; and
  • At subsequent intervals of not more than two months.
They should be kept up-to-date with the young person’s progress and wellbeing.

1.6 Pathway Plan

The Pathway Plan sets out the ambitions and route to the future for young people leaving the Looked After service and will state how their needs will be met in their path to independence. The plan will continue to be implemented and reviewed after they leave the looked after service at least until they are 21; and up to 24 if in education.

2. Key Responsibilities

The (Leaving Care Team) are responsible for making arrangements for children leaving care.

This summarises the procedures, roles of the (Leaving Care Team), social workers and Children's Home.

  1. A Personal Adviser should be appointed for every looked after young person from their 16th birthday. The Personal Adviser's appointment will continue while the young person remains an Eligible, Relevant or Former Relevant Young Person;
  2. All eligible, relevant and former relevant young people must have received a multi-agency assessment of their needs and abilities to live independently. This will be informed by the ongoing assessment, planning and review which takes place throughout the period they are Looked After;
  3. They must also have a Pathway Plan, which will be drawn up having regard to the above assessment. The Pathway Plan must be owned and shaped by the young person who must have a copy of the Plan for safekeeping;
  4. The Pathway Plan should complement the Care Plan and be regularly reviewed;
  5. Where the young person continues to be Looked After, there should additionally be a Placement Plan, which should describe what arrangements have been made within the home to support the Pathway Plan. The Placement Plan will continue to be the responsibility of the home where the young person is placed, and must outline the arrangements in place for supporting the Pathway Plan;
  6. The Pathway Plan will continue in place for eligible, relevant and former relevant young people.

3. Work Undertaken by the Home

The home recognises the it’s role in supporting young people towards independence and it’s suitability to undertake practical work to equip young people with the skills required to live independently after they leave care.

The home provides advice, support and guidance in domestic and personal life skills as well as opportunity to learn and practice these skills with supervision. Children’s homes staff must help each child prepare for transition in regard to self help skills and living independently and assist in the pathway planning process.

Some of the areas the home is able to offer opportunities to learn and practice are;

  • Cooking skills;
  • Laundry skills;
  • Personal care and hygiene skills;
  • Sewing and craft skills;
  • Home care skills;
  • Decorating;
  • Shopping and budgeting skills;
  • Personal administration (e.g. using a bank account, or writing a C.V.)
  • How to manage good health (such as; understanding the value of good nutrition, and making G.P. appointments;
  • Structure use of recreational time.

The home will work to seek other agencies that can offer support, guidance and opportunities to engage (e.g. educational or recreational) after the young person has left care.