“As the Leaving Care Service we promise to provide support to prepare you to live independently when you are ready to leave care. We have a number of values and aims to help you have a happy and successful life in Bracknell Forest”.

INTRODUCTION

This guide will inform you about the support and services available to you as a Care Leaver. We recognize that moving from care and living independently can be a big challenge. 

As a local authority we want you to feel supported and take pressure off you knowing you have and financial help and support.

A Care Leaver is a Young Person who has previously been in care. Your right to support as a Care Leaver will depend on when and how long you were in care.

To qualify for the full support package from the Leaving Care Service you must have been in care for at least 13 weeks since the age of 14 which must include some time when you were 16 years old.

If you came into care after you were 16 and for a short period of time, you will still get support but not the full package. This also applies if you lived with carers under a Special Guardianship arrangement before you turned 18.

A young person over 18 will also be eligible for Leaving Care support and entitlements up to the age of 25.

If you are unsure whether you are a Care Leaver, have a look at this website www.coramvoice.org.uk/young-peoples-zone/am-i-care-leaver

 You are only a Bracknell Forest Care Leaver if it was Bracknell Forest Council who Looked After (i.e your Social Worker worked for Bracknell Forest Council) you when you were in Care. If you live in Bracknell but another Council Look After You, please speak to your Social Worker or ring us at the Leaving Care Service on 01344 354304 and we can give you advice on what to do.

The Leaving Care Service is here to support young people Leaving Care in Bracknell. We are a small team, based at

76 Binfield Road, Bracknell. RG42 2AR  Tel: 01344 354304

We are here to make sure that young people Leaving Care in Bracknell have all of the help and support that they need to achieve a positive future as an adult. The things that we help each individual person with, are listed in their Pathway Plan which we review every six months. The Pathway Plan is so important- it belongs to the individual young person and the goals are decided by them.

Our team offer lots of things, Not only do we come and visit our young people regularly (or they can come and see us!) but we also organise social events, we have a Participation Officer who gets young people’s views and makes positive changes for Care Leavers through groups and events, we have free laundry, internet and cooking facilities at the office and young people can come in any time for a chat and advice.

We support young people from the ages of 16-25 and we are always happy to have people pop in for a chat or for them to call us if they have questions.

Our number is 01344 354304

These are some great sources of information for Young People Leaving Care which well worth a look!!

http://www.coramvoice.org.uk/sites/default/files/Sorted%20%26%20Supported.pdf

http://www.coramvoice.org.uk/young-peoples-zone/are-you-care-leaver

http://www.childrenscommissioner.gov.uk/get-advice/questions/what-are-my-rights-and-entitlements-care-leaver

http://www.reesfoundation.org/our-services/?gclid=CLakuqKQtdICFUkQ0wod9KMLVg

http://www.barnardos.org.uk/get_involved/campaign/care-leavers.htm

An Eligible young person is somebody who is 16 or 17 and is still
Looked After

  • All of the support that comes from still being Looked After (carers
    or key-workers who look after you, pocket money, clothing money,
    health and education support, a Social Worker, regular Reviews)
  • As an Eligible young person you must be provided with a safe and
    appropriate place to live by the Local Authority who are your
    Corporate Parents. An Eligible young person can never be
    ‘Homeless’.
  • An allocated Personal Adviser from the Leaving Care Service who
    will meet you and get to know you before you turn 18.
  • Needs assessment;
  • A Pathway Plan which lets you plan what support you need to
    achieve your goals
  •  Advocacy if you would like it

A Relevant Young Person is no longer ‘In Care’ but is aged 16 or 17. They get:

  • An allocated Personal Adviser from the Leaving Care Service who visits you regularly and stays in touch. Your Personal Adviser must also listen to your wishes and feelings.
  • A living allowance and accommodation costs paid for by the Leaving Care Service because Relevant Young People CANNOT claim benefits such as Housing Benefit, Universal Credit, Income Support or JSA.
  • Needs assessment
  • Pathway Plan which is reviewed at least every 6 months
  • Relevant young people must be provided with ‘Suitable’ accommodation by the Leaving Care Service. Relevant young people cannot be ‘Homeless’
  • Advocacy if you would like it

A Former Relevant Young Person is an Eligible or Relevant Young Person who has turned 18.

  • Listen to your wishes and feelings
  • Provide you with a Personal Adviser
  • Review your Pathway Plan at least every 6 months
  • Help you with expenses connected with your work, education or training
  • Provide or pay for accommodation during college or university holidays if you are studying away from home
  • Provide you with other support by buying the items you need directly or, in exceptional circumstances, by giving you cash, to the extent that your welfare and education needs require it
  • Give you a £2,000 grant if you are in higher education
  • Keep in touch with you
  • Visit you regularly

The Leaving Care Service may:

  • Consider making a contribution to post-graduate courses
  • Assist you identifying financial support and resources to enable you to undertake post graduate study

You are expected to claim benefits or apply for a student loan as any other young person.

It is important that your Pathway Plans sets out your programme of education if you are aged over 21.

  • The Leaving Care Service will give you advice and support
  • The Leaving Care Service will develop your Pathway Plan and review it every 6 months
  • The Leaving Care Service will keep in touch with you
  • A £1500 Leaving Care Grant which you can use between the ages of 18-21 to buy furniture, white goods and furnishings for your accommodation.
  • 1 years TV License
  • 1 years Contents insurance
  • 1 removal Van move
  • A £2000 Bursary if you go to University
  • The Leaving Care Service will help you apply for grants from organisations like the Princes Trust or the Buttle Trust if there are things that you need that you cannot afford
  • The cost of storage for furniture before or after a move
  • Help with the cost of college, work or interview clothes or equipment for college or work.
  • Emergency financial support if there is a problem with your income (for example if your benefits are delayed or if you have unexpected expenses)
  • You will receive an extra payment on your 18th 
    and 21st birthdays to help you celebrate
  • Money at Christmas/Eid/Chanukah or any other celebration that is important to you.
  • You choose which celebration you would like to get money for and write this in your Pathway Plan

We will ensure you have free gym membership and free access to leisure facilities in Bracknell (or an equivalent pass if you don’t live in Bracknell)

The Leaving Care Service offer free social events and trips throughout the year. Speak to your PA or to the Participation Officer for more details

ID

  • We will ensure you posses a form of ID.
  • This means we will make sure you have a passport, provisional driving license or another form of photo ID if you cannot get those.
  • We will make sure that you are given a copy of your birth certificate. If you lose this, we might support you with the cost of 1 replacement.

The Leaving Care Service will pay for 6 driving lessons and the cost of 2 test (one theory and one practical) only for those in education, training or employment. This applies to the period of time you have also been a Looked after Child.

When you are coming up to 18, you can request a ‘Health Passport.’ This contains important information about what illnesses you had as a child, immunisations you’ve had and any health issues you may have. This is important information for your future health care.

These include:

A Pathway Plan

  • Your Social Worker will talk to you about your Pathway plan for Leaving Care just before your 16th
  • Your Pathway Plan is an action plan to help to support you to achieve the things that you want to do with your life. Remember it’s your plan.

Your Pathway Plan will be reviewed every 6 months until you finish working with the Leaving Care Service, which may be up to 25 years old. This will help you keep your plan up to date and to discuss any changes or support you may need. It’s YOUR plan and it’s YOUR future. Be a part of it!!

  • A Personal Adviser from the Leaving Care Service will be allocated to you when you are 16. They will come to your LAC review meetings and will get to know you. They will become your main support worker when you Leave Care at 18.
  • Their job is to help prepare you for independent living.
  • A Personal Adviser is responsible for ensuring your Pathway Plan is developed and kept up to date.
  • You have the right to be involved in all decisions regarding when you Leave Care and your plans for Leaving Care.
  • You have a right to let us know how you feel about the services you receive and if necessary you can give feedback or make a complaint.
  • You have a right to an Independent Advocate. An independent advocate is someone outside of Children’s Social Care who can help you have your say.
  • You have the right to receive advice and guidance about education, training and employment.
  • You have the right to learn and develop skills on how to live independently.
  • You have a right to share or not to share information with other professionals such as housing, health, benefits agency or other services that support you.
  • You have a right to see your personal information To request an access to records leaflet call 01344 352 020

We have opportunities for young people to be involved in National and Local Participation events and organisations- representing the views of Care Leavers. If you are interested, talk to your Personal Adviser.

  • The Leaving Care Service organise day trips out. Some of the young people have been out to places like Thorpe Park, Bowling, Go-Karting and others.
    You will get texts or letters to tell you about up and coming events. If you are interested let us know if you want to come!
    It is FREE for you to go.
  • Our office has a kitchen with a FREE washing machine and tumble dryer, FREE internet and printer, FREE Cooking facilities and FREE telephone facilities……come and use it anytime between 9-5 Monday-Friday.
  • Care Leavers who have Immigration or Asylum status from the Home Office will have lots of complicated forms and tasks to complete before they turn 18 and every few years after that. If things are not done on time, it can have a negative effect on your chances of staying in the UK.

  • This is a difficult process and it is really important that your Pathway Plan is clear about what you need to do.

  • The Leaving Care Service will support young people as much as they can, offering guidance, advice and advocacy to help to get the best possible result from the Home Office.

  • It is really important though that you talk to your Social Worker and PA about what is happening with your Immigration status BEFORE you turn 18 and if you do not understand, that you tell us!

The Care Leavers Forum is young people just like you!

Want to get your views heard?

Want to influence how things are for young people in care now and in the future in Bracknell Forest?

To join the Care Leavers Forum or find out more contact  01344 354304