In this article
- How the council will help you make the transition from foster care to independent living
- What support you may be entitled to
- What happens at a Statutory Review meeting to help you plan your future
If you are in foster care you will probably know that the council must support you until you are 21 though if you feel ready you can move on when you are 18. In the run up to that time you will have the opportunity to work out what you do when you leave foster care.
You will be given a plan by the social services department which currently looks after your needs to help you make the transition from care to independent life. Social services will also help you with the following things until you are 18:
- Accommodation and assistance in maintaining a home of your own
- Financial support so that you are able to pay for your domestic utility bills, travel cost to college or training courses, clothes, childcare if necessary, supporting you financially by paying for your food, bills, travel costs for education and training, clothing, pocket money and childcare if you need it
- any other support that you as an individual need including assistance if you want to continue your education, finding employment and helping with personal problems
You can leave care if you decide you’re ready and there’s a plan in place with the local council to support you.
Up until you are 21
You’ll get help and advice from the council about how to move on for independent living, though this can last longer if you’re still in education or training.
The council’s obligations after you have left foster care
When you leave foster care you will be given a ‘personal adviser’ by the council. It is the adviser’s job to stay in touch with you, to offer advice and guidance to help you make the transition from care to living independently.
The council also has to make sure you’ve got somewhere to live and enough money.
Before you leave care there will be a ‘statutory review meeting’ where your support needs will be addressed, such as:
- Where you’re going to live (you can move somewhere where personal support and advice is always available if you want to)
- If you’re going to work, get training or continue in education
- How much support you think you’ll need from your social worker or personal adviser
The meeting will include the following people
- An adult of your choice who can sit with you to help explain things
- Your social worker
- Your carers
- Any other people responsible for supporting you (like a mentor or a member of staff from your school or college)
- An Independent Reviewing Officer (a neutral person appointed to make sure everything is done properly)
When you leave foster care
It is useful to know that when you leave foster care you might be able to claim some benefits, like:
- Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Housing Benefit
- Income Support
These are likely to come under the new all-in-one Universal Credit benefit.
Where to go for further help and advice
It’s important to know that if you’re not happy with how your meeting went you can make a formal complaint. To do this you should speak with your social worker or personal adviser or the Independent Reviewing Officer who will all be able to tell you how to do this.
- If you are in foster care, the council has an obligation to see you are housed and looked after right up until you are 21
- A plan for your future will be given to you at 16
- At 18 you can leave your foster home if there is a plan of support in place
- If you stay in care until you’re 21 you will receive on-going support and guidance to help you prepare for when you move out and start living independently
- Before you leave there will be a meeting called a ‘statutory review’ with relevant people who will be there to help you move on
- If you are not happy with the outcome of this meeting or the way it was conducted you can make a formal complaint