“Up to 25, we will never turn them away.” BCP Practice Standards (2020)
Children who have been in care for at least 13 weeks since the age of 14 (not continuous) and who have spent at least one day in care since the age of 16 are entitled to a leaving care service.
There are different levels of eligibility depending on the young person’s current circumstances – qualifier, eligible, relevant, former relevant.
Young people should continue to have a social worker if they are in care until they are 18 years of age and a personal advisor is allocated to a young person aged 16, or as soon as possible or practicable after that.
The focus of the work of the personal advisor will be to start to look at independent living and life skills, explore with the young person what the personal advisor role will be like at 18 and will prepare a young person for turning 18 by talking about what might happen. The personal advisor might be available to help a young person if the social worker is not available.
The Care Leavers Regulations 2010 set out the functions of a personal advisor for a relevant or former relevant child.
- to provide advice (including practical advice) and support
- to participate in assessment and preparation of pathway plans
- to participate in the review of the pathway plan
- to liaise with the responsible authority in the implementation of the pathway plan
- to co-ordinate the provision of services and take reasonable steps so that care leavers make use of services
- to stay informed about the care leaver’s progress and wellbeing
- to keep full, accurate and up to date records of contacts with the care leaver and services provided.
For those aged over 18 (until aged 25) the personal advisor will provide advice, support and guidance for young people in all aspects of their lives. Sometimes this might be practical support, at other times this might be signposting to another organisation. The personal advisor will work jointly with other departments and organisations, including housing, mental health support, GPs, adult social Care.
The teams also have specialist workers who support Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children. The two main services these young people need are short-term stability to support recovery and longer-term independence.
All young people have an education plan, access to college including their English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) team and other education settings where required.
We have a specialist Independent Reviewing Officer for Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children and links with the contextual safeguarding team as they are at risk from trafficking, exploitation and modern slavery.
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