If you are still in care, we will provide you with accommodation up to the age of 18.

Leaving care before turning 18

We will encourage you to stay in care until you are 18. If you choose to leave care before age 18, the law says we must provide you with suitable accommodation.

Housing options

Your social worker or personal adviser 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. This might be for you if you are not ready to live independently.
  • Independent housing including social housing – (accommodation managed by district councils or a housing association).

Discuss your options with your social worker or personal adviser.

Help and advice

If you are aged over 18, your personal adviser will help you to find suitable accommodation. This might involve:-

  • Working with housing services to come up with suitable housing options for you
  • Advice about holding down a tenancy, including avoiding rent or Council Tax arrears, paying bills and budgeting. We know it can be very hard having your own place for the first time. We will do whatever we can to ease the pressures on you
  • Helping you to claim universal credit.
  • Practical support with moving into and furnishing your new home.
  • Supporting you if you have a housing crisis, including helping if you are threatened with or lose a tenancy (homelessness laws say that care leavers aged 18-20 have a priority need for housing).

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?

Financial support

We will provide:

  • 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
  • Council Tax grant- if you are living independently and liable for council tax payments we provide a council tax grant up to the age of 25. Your personal adviser will discuss this with you and what you need to do, such as signing a declaration form which is then sent to the district council. You must tell your personal adviser of any change of circumstance or if you move. If you are closed to the service and under 25 then you can contact customer care on 0300 123 6720 and request a council tax grant as you are a care leaver. A personal adviser will then arrange to see you and see if you are eligible for the grant.

Speak to your personal adviser if you have any questions about what you are entitled to.

More information and advice

The preparing for independence section has more information about the support you'll get to prepare for living independently. The money section has more information about other financial support such as benefits.

Other organisations that provide information and advice: