Eligible care leavers
You are an Eligible care leaver if:
You are aged 16 or 17 and;
- You are currently a cared for (Looked After) for young person and;
- You have been a Looked After young person for a period of 13 weeks (or periods amounting to 13 weeks) which began after you reached 14 and must include at least 1 day whilst you were 16 or 17 years old.
What you can expect from Lancashire Children's Social Care
- We'll listen to your wishes and feelings
- You'll have a social worker
- You'll be allocated a personal adviser no later than your 16th birthday, they will offer you support, advice and guidance
- We'll prepare a pathway plan
- We'll review the pathway plan
- Accommodation will be provided
- We'll provide you with a leaving care allowance and other financial support
As an Eligible care leaver you will receive all the support that comes with being a 'looked after' young person, such as accommodation costs and allowances.
As an Eligible care leaver living independently then in most cases you will not be able to claim certain benefits (unless you are a lone parent) such as Income support, Job Seekers Allowance and Universal credit. Therefore Lancashire County Council will provide you with financial assistance for your day to day living costs.
Support will be based on your needs assessment and noted in your pathway plan. This could include:
- A Leaving Care Allowance to cover the costs of day to day living including food, utility bills, general travel, social life and entertainment and toiletries. The amount will be the same as the current rate for Job Seekers Allowance or Income Support)
- Rent costs up to the age of 18 (half rent if you live with a partner)
- Rent deposit, bond and administrative fees
- Setting Up Home Allowance - funding up to £2,050 (based on assessed need) for items you need for setting up home like appliances, bedding, furniture and contents insurance. Your social worker or personal adviser will be able to support you when purchasing the items.
- Your first TV licence
- Removal costs
- Starter pack for setting up home – a one-off payment of £70 towards utilities, cleaning and food
- Funding to re-sit GCSE's, A Levels or AS Levels
- Funding from the 16-19 Bursary Fund from your school, college or training provider to fund transport costs or equipment.
- A Leaving Care Allowance Enhancement if you are in part-time education, training or voluntary work up to the age of 19.
- Course equipment for university like books, stationary and a laptop
- Birthday allowance
- Funding for your hobbies, leisure activities, talents or skills
- Driving licence or passport
- Driving lessons - if linked to a future career or employment, you'll need to contribute 10% or if you're in employment 50%
- Clothing allowance - for interview clothing, work wear or clothing for educational activities – based on need
- Health costs such as vouchers towards the cost of glasses
There are some exceptions to these entitlements and some young people may be entitled to additional benefits or funding. You should speak to your personal adviser if you have any questions about what you are entitled to.
If you were born before 1 September 2002 or after 2 January 2011, a special savings accounts called a Junior ISA will be opened for you with £200. You cannot take the money out until you are 18. Please discuss with your social worker.
Your social worker or personal advisor will be able to talk through what housing options are available when you turn 18. This could include:
- Staying Put - Young people in foster care are encouraged to 'Stay Put' with their carers when they turn 18. This arrangement allows you to remain with your foster carer until the age of 21. Your social worker will have all the details on Staying Put or you can read the guide from catch 22: Staying Put: What does it mean for you?(PDF 1MB)
- Supported accommodation - if you do chose to move on from your placement then care leavers have priority access to some supported accommodation projects in the county-discuss with your social worker or personal advisor.
What to ask
You may want to discuss some things with your social worker, personal adviser or carers, like:
- What do I need to do to prepare for when I leave care?
Think about practical things like budgeting, cooking and what bills will you need to pay.
- Where can I get career advice?
More information and advice
To find out more about leaving care, education and benefits check these websites.