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Who is a care leaver?

Anyone who is over 16 and under 25 and who was ‘looked after’ by Cambridgeshire County Council (‘in care’) qualifies if they have been, or were, looked after for 13 weeks or more since their sixteenth birthday.

Some other young people also qualify for support, including those who were ‘looked after’ before a Special Guardianship Order was made and others who were privately fostered after the age of sixteen.

If you think you might be eligible for support, please ask your Personal Advisor or Social Worker.



Leaving care before age 18

Because most young people still live at home with their families at this age, we would normally encourage you to stay in your care placement until you are 18, unless you are able to return home, or move to live with friends or family, before this age. However, as long as you qualify (see above) you will still be entitled to support and services if you leave ‘care’ before this age.



Arranging support

Whilst you are under 18 and still a ‘Looked After Child’, we have a legal duty to see you regularly, usually at least every six weeks, depending on your Care Plan. This has to involve a face-to-face visit but we can come and see you where you would like to meet us. This could be at your home, college or wherever you choose, but sometimes we do have to see you at home to check that it everything there is OK.

When you are between 18 and 21 years of age, we will normally see you every 8 weeks, more often if you want us to. We will want to make arrangements that fit in with you and will be as flexible as possible. As an adult, you do not have to accept support, but we want to assist you in any way we can and will discuss with you how best to do this.

When you are over 21 years of age, we recognise that you are an adult and may not want to hear from us much at all. If you are in education, we will continue to visit and support you, like we did when you were 18. However, we will want to know what arrangement suits you best. For example, if you are at university, we would be happy to visit you there, but you may prefer to see us in the holidays. We will record in your Pathway Plan how often and when you want to be seen, and keep this under review with you. We would still keep in contact with you during term time to make sure you are OK and, if we were worried about you might visit to buy you a coffee and offer you someone to talk to.

Whatever your situation, you will have a contact number and know how to contact us when you need us. When you make contact, we will assess what help you need and where we can access this from. It can sometimes be that other agencies in the community can provide what you need and we can help you access this.

If we are not in contact with you, we will send you a birthday card until you are 25(?) so that you know we are thinking of you and to remind you that you can ask for support at any time. We will include a leaflet with the card containing our contact details and what support we can offer.


Young people seeking asylum

Once you have received the home office decision on your asylum claim you will be issued with a biometric card. This card proves that you are entitled to services and you may need to show it for example at the bank, the Department of Work and Pensions or at college.  However you do not need to carry this card around with you. In Great Britain citizens do not need to carry proof of identity. It is better to keep the card in a safe place and only take it out when you need to.

Once your asylum claim has been accepted you have the same access to financial support as any other young person. This means that you will need to claim benefits such as housing benefit to pay for your accommodation. For more information, look at the Finance section and talk to your Personal Adviser about what benefits you may need to claim.

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