Leaving care entitlements

When you leave care we will continue to support you. The level of support we give you depends on your age, when you were in care and for how long.

See the detailed criteria below or check out our simple flow charts (PDF 1730KB) to see what your legal status is and what you are entitled to.

If you are aged 16 or 17 and;

  • You are currently a cared for (Looked After) young person and;
  • You have been Looked After 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.

You are an Eligible care leaver.

If you are 16 or 17 and;

  • You were previously an Eligible care leaver
  • You have left care

You are a Relevant care leaver.

A Relevant care leaver can include those that have been detained through the criminal justice system or were in hospital on their 16th Birthday.

If you are:

  • 18-21 and were previously an Eligible or Relevant care leaver

You are a Former Relevant care leaver.

If at the age of 21 you're still being helped by Lancashire county Council with education or training then you'll remain a Former Relevant care leaver, until a maximum age of 25. What support you'll be receiving must be set out in your pathway plan.

If you are 16-21 and;

  • Have been in care at some point after your 16th birthday for less than 13 weeks since the age of 14
  • have been privately fostered
  • Were in care prior to becoming subject to a Special Guardianship Order (SGO)

You are a Young person Qualifying for Advice and Assistance.

If you are a care leaver aged 21-24 you can now request support from a leaving care personal adviser up to the age of 25. If you were in care/looked after by Lancashire County Council and need support then contact customer services on 0300 123 6720.

A personal adviser will then arrange to see you to complete an assessment of what support you need, this could be from the leaving care service or you maybe signposted to other services.

Follow the links above to find out more about the support you're entitled to depending on which criteria you meet.

Read on to find out more about personal advisers and pathway plans for Eligible, Relevant and Former Relevant care leavers or see help for contact details and other information and advice for a list of websites you might find useful.

Personal advisers

If you are a care leaver, just before your 16th birthday you'll be allocated a personal adviser.  They will provide you with advice and guidance and help prepare you for living independently (along with your carer and social worker).

Once you turn 18, in most cases, you'll no longer have a social worker so your personal adviser will make sure you get the services you need and help co-ordinate your pathway plan and reviews. You will have a personal adviser up to the age of 21, or 25 if you're in education or training.

Pathway plans

Every Eligible, Relevant and Former Relevant care leaver must have a pathway plan. Your pathway plan is about your needs and what we all need to do to ensure your successful transition to adult life. You will continue to have a pathway plan until you're 21 (or longer if you're in education or training).

There are different areas that will be covered in your pathway plan, these include

  • health and self-care skills
  • accommodation
  • family and social relations
  • identity
  • education, employment and training
  • emotional and behavioural

Your plan your life

For your pathway plan to be effective it will be based on an up to date needs assessment (an assessment we carry out to find out what support you need).  It will set out the support that will be offered to you to achieve your aspirations. We aim to fully involve you in the development of your pathway plan. It's really important that you contribute. Remember this is your plan so get involved, the plan will confirm what support will be provided so remember to ask for a copy.

Working together

With your agreement, we will seek the views of our partner agencies when completing your pathway plan. This may include housing, education, training and employment providers, benefits and health services, youth offending services and probation to ensure we all work together to provide you with clear and consistent advice and support.


Your plan must be reviewed every 6 months or earlier if there is a change of circumstance like moving into different accommodation.

More information

The Pathway to success factsheet from the Become charity for children in care and young care leavers has more information about pathway plans. The factsheet is also translated into Arabic, Kurdish, Pashto, Tigrinya and Vietnamese.


If you need to contact Lancashire children's social care call 0300 123 6720 or out of hours you can call 0300 123 6722 (8pm-8am Monday to Friday and any time during weekends and bank holidays).

You can also ring the above numbers if you

  • can't reach your social worker or personal adviser and need to speak to someone 
  • think you are a Young Person Qualifying for Advice and Assistance
  • are a care leaver aged 21-24 and would like to request support from a leaving care personal adviser  

Our Children and Family Wellbeing Service can offer general advice and support, get in touch with us for help.


If you have any concerns about the service and support you are receiving then please raise this as soon as possible with your social worker, personal adviser or their manager, hopefully this will be resolved quickly.

Or you may want to contact Childrens Rights service to request an advocate, phone 01772 759 233 or Freephone 0800 085 6324

However, if you do want to make a complaint contact the Customer Service Centre on 0300 123 6720.

Other information and advice

To find out more about leaving care, education and benefits take a look at these websites:

National government – benefits calculators - information on benefits and links to benefit guides-also discuss with your personal adviser about advance claims for care leavers.

Shelter – housing advice 

Citizens Advice Bureau – information about money, benefits, your rights, employment, housing and the law

Propel - Information on what support is available for care leavers at university

National government- Information on all aspects of higher education

UCAS - Information on applying for courses

National government – information about student finance

Coram Voice - information about your rights and entitlements as a care leaver

Rees: The care leavers foundation – small grants for care leavers aged 18-29

The care leavers association – a charity aimed at improving the lives of care leavers of all ages.

Become - online advice and information for children in care and care leavers