It is a big step in any young person’s life to reach the age when you start moving towards independence. This may include living on your own or in a shared home, starting a new job, starting university or a college course, managing your own finances, shopping for yourself and making health appointments. All of these are big steps to take and we want to make sure you feel safe, supported and know where to go for advice, help and information
If you have been in care for 13 weeks or more since your 14th birthday, or after your 16th birthday, you are entitled to leaving care services. This includes;
- A Young Persons Advisor or Pathway Coordinator to work with you (from the age of 16 if you are entitled to services at this age)
- A Pathway Plan that includes your views and is regularly reviewed
- Financial support (this will be different depending on your situation) and help you work towards financial independence
- Support with gaining education, employment or training opportunities
- Keeping in touch with you, and visiting you regularly, if this is what you want
You can find out more about what your status is and what support you are entitled on the Coram Voice Website
What is a Pathway Plan?
A pathway plan is put in place under the Leaving Care Act 2000 for eligible, relevant and former relevant young people and adults. This plan details the services and support that must be put in place for the young person/ young adult. This is pivotal in mapping out with the young person/ young adult their future, aspirations and identifying interim goals that assist them in realising their ambitions.
A pathway plan is more than statement of intent. This is a living document. A pathway plan must be prepared for all eligible young people and young adults and continued for all relevant and former relevant young adults. It is important to have a lawful, detailed plan rather than working without a plan or having a bad plan. The consequences of the latter can be severe. Eligible 15 ¾ -25 year olds should have a pathway plan.
Who owns the plan?
The plan should be put together with the young person or young adult and belongs to them. Each young adult or young person should have access to a copy of their agreed plan. This will map out the steps required to achieve full independence and become be in a position to make a positive contribution to their community and lives.
Who contributes to the plan?
The young person / young adult and all professionals involved in supporting the plan e.g. SW, Health, Education, Housing, DWP, Drug and alcohol services, Youth offending, parents/ carers/ guardians etc. Each young person / young adult should know which professional is supporting them with what aspect of their life.
How often should your plan be reviewed?
Pre and post 18 this is 6 monthly and more regularly if there are significant events. Each team manager will discuss the impact of your plan during supervision with your designated worker. In turn your worker should explore with you how the agreed plan is progressing and your role in this during visits and meetings.
Will someone independent review your plan?
Yes, an Independent Reviewing Officer will review all post 15 ¾ pathway plans until the age of 18. Post 18 the service will bring in someone independent to review the plans taking into consideration your needs, your engagement and the support put in place. This is to make sure the plan is improving different aspects of your life and preparing you for independence. In some instances only two or three areas become the focus of support in order to build greater resilience in your future.
What if you can’t achieve full independence?
The plan should identify whether any referrals are required in order to assist you to enjoy quality of life. Such referrals could be made to Adult Services; mental health services or other service areas. In some instances additional assessments might be required in order to be clear about what support is required. Other Agencies have an equal role in supporting skills for independent living.
What if you don’t work with the plan?
The service understands that some young people and young adults may not want ongoing support from the service. This will be assessed with your co-operation. We have to consider whether you understand the impact or implication of refusing a service (capacity to make such a decision), whether you have other support you can access and whether you have the right skills to live fully independent of the service and the support on offer. In some instances visits/ contacts can be reduced to suit request for more independence. This will be clearly recorded with evidence that you have agreed this.
It might be that other agencies are asked to step in and support you as they would any other member of the public.
The service will make sure that should support be required before you turn 25 years old that you know who to contact and how to access support again.
What if I disagree with the plan?
A plan should not be put in place without your input. We acknowledge that most care experienced young people and young adults do not have access to parental support to guide them through the challenges of life. We are therefore, fulfilling the parental role and providing for you as any responsible parent would. There will be good reasons why your designated worker might hold a different view to yourself. It is important to talk these over
Your views, wishes and feelings will be incorporated into the plan; however, if you feel your plan is not working please discuss with your designated worker and or team manager
Subsistence (16 and 17 year olds)
You are not allowed to claim benefits if you are living semi-independently, so we will provide you with a subsistence payment to cover your day to day living costs. It is never too late to start managing your money, but if you require support to budget your money we can help by spreading out the payments, supported shops, part cash and voucher payment to ensure you have enough money for food.
This applies to young people not living with foster carers or in a residential placement and some young people who have No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF). We will pay you £60 per week. Young people who are in paid training will receive the equivalent or higher allowance from their training provider
Help to Pay your Council Tax
Any young person leaving care in Havering aged 18-25 years old, can make an application for Council Tax Support. The application will have to be made supported by the Provider, your Young Person Advisor or Pathway Coordinator. The amount you receive will depend upon your income. For example if you receive certain state benefits you may be entitled to the maximum contribution of 100% or if you are working, depending on your income, you may have to contribute towards your Council Tax bill. If you are living outside of Havering you will need to check with your local council to see if it offers the same type of Council Tax scheme.
You can find out more council tax by visiting www.havering.gov.uk/counciltax or speak to your allocated worker.
First benefits claim
Your Social Worker will support you to ensure that you have the relevant documentations, because once you turn 18, you will need to claim Job Seekers Allowance, Income Support, Employment Support Allowance or Universal Credit.
The Leaving Care Service will lend you up to 4 weeks subsistence payments to assist you while you are waiting for your claims to be processed. Once your payment has been processed, and this is backdated from the date the initial claim was made, we would therefore reach an agreement for this repayment to be made back to the Leaving Care Service. Your Young Person Advisor or Pathway Coordinator will be able to provide you with further information about this.
All children who are in care for more than 12 months will have either a Child Trust Fund (if born between 1 September 2002 and January 2011) or a Junior ISA administered by an independent organisation called The Share Foundation on our behalf. You cannot remove the money from these accounts until you are aged 18. Full details of entitlement, amounts and how you can access your savings after you turn 18 are in our Looked after Children Saving Policy. Please ask your allocated worker for further details.
Every child in care is entitled to have a bank account set up for them, when you first come into care. Your Independent Reviewing Officer will check that this has been done for you during your LAC Reviews. If you do not have a bank account, your allocated worker can advise and support you to get one set up. A bank account is not only important to have for savings, but also to pay your wages or benefits in to and potentially any financial support you receive from us.
For the full information please refer to the the Leaving Care Local Offer Document
Sometimes we may not be able to provide you with the support you feel you need, or we may not agree to provide you with a particular piece of funding or service you have requested. There may be a number of reasons for this so it is important you understand the reasons for you not getting the support you feel you need.
Your allocated worker should:
Record any decision not to provide you with a service or funding and the reasons why.
Tell you about the reasons for this decision (and give you details of the complaints and appeals process if you would like this).
If you are unhappy about a decision, you need to firstly try to talk to your allocated worker before making a complaint as they may be able to help you understand more about why this decision has been made or why the support is not available.
The Social Care Complaints Team can be contacted on:
Tel: 01708 431029
Post: Complaints & Information Team
London Borough of Havering
Mercury House, Mercury Gardens,
Romford, RM1 3SL
If you decide you want to make a complaint, you may want to have an advocate to support you in making the complaint. The Havering Children’s Rights Advocacy Service is run by the Early Help Service, to ensure it is separate from Children’s Social Care. This avoids conflict of interest. You can contact the service directly by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 01708 432321.
The role that the council plays in looking after children and young people is one of the most important things we do. The local authority has a unique responsibility to the children we care for and also to our care leavers. A good corporate parent should have the same aspirations for a child in care or care leaver, as a good parent would have for their child. It means providing them with the stability and support they need to make progress; and helping them to access new opportunities and experiences that inspire them to set ambitious goals for themselves. It means celebrating their successes, but also recognising that they will sometimes make mistakes and need help to get back on track. It also means supporting them to gain the skills and confidence to live independent lives, while letting them know that they have someone to call on for help if the going gets tough. Our strategy has been produced to set out how we intend to challenge ourselves as corporate parents over the next three years.
Click here for the Corporate Parenting Strategy EBook
Advocacy and Mentoring
Havering Advocacy Service
The Havering Advocacy Service provides care-experienced young adults with representation at meetings and forums, ensuring their voices are heard and their rights upheld.
What can an Advocate offer?
An Advocate makes sure that a person’s wishes and feelings are heard when decisions are being made about their care. This can include representation and support at meetings and forums, advice regarding their rights and entitlements, and help to make a complaint.
An Advocate acts independently from Children’s Social Care or Leaving Care, and solely in the interests of the young adult accessing the Service.
Whilst an Advocate cannot guarantee a decision will be made in favour of a person, they can guarantee that their voice will be heard and considered.
Who runs the Service?
Havering Advocacy Service is run by the Early Help Service, to ensure it is separate from Children’s Social Care and to ensure there is no conflict of interest
How can I access the Service?
To make a referral, please email email@example.com where your enquiry will be picked up by a member of the team. Alternatively, you can speak to your Young Person’s Advisor (YPA) or Pathway Coordinator who can make a referral on your behalf.
Havering Future Choices Mentor Service
The Havering Future Choices Mentor Service matches care-experienced young adults with a Mentor to reach long-term goals in education, employment or training.
What can a Mentor offer?
A Mentor will work with you over a period of up to 12 months, to explore your education, employment or training choices, and work with you to reach your goals. A Mentor is a trained, adult volunteer who will have contact with you on a weekly basis to support you into your education, employment or training, and then stay with you as you embark on that journey.
Who runs the Service?
Havering Future Choices Mentor Service is run jointly by the Early Help Service and the Leaving Care Service.
How can I access the Service?
To make a referral, please speak to your Young Person’s Advisor (YPA) or Pathway Coordinator.