Leaving Care and the Local Offer
The aim of Darlington Borough Council’s Local Offer is to tell you about all the support that we have in Darlington for you as a Darlington care leaver. We know that it is a big step when you move out of care and start living on your own or with friends.
Just because you are leaving care, or have already left care, we haven’t stopped caring about you. We want to make sure that you feel safe and supported and know where and who to go to for advice and help.
Darlington care leavers have been involved in developing and shaping this Local Offer. This offer will be reviewed on a 6 monthly basis to ensure that we continue to listen to your views to make sure the services we offer are what you need.
To be able to get the support set out in this offer, you must have been in care for at least 13 weeks between the ages of 14 and 16. This includes your 16th birthday or for 13 weeks after your 16th birthday. If you are not sure whether you qualify for support, then ask your Personal Adviser.
The corporate parenting principles set out seven principles that Local Authorities must keep in mind when exercising their functions in relation to looked after children and care leavers as follows:
- To act in the best interests, and promote the physical and mental health and wellbeing of those children and young people
- To encourage those children and young people to express their views, wishes and feelings
- To take into account the views , wishes and feelings of those children and young people
- To help those children and young people gain access to and make the best use of, services provided by Darlington Borough Council and its relevant partners
- To promote high aspirations and to seek to secure the best outcomes for those children and young people
- For those children and young people to be safe, and for stability in their home lives relationships and education or work, and
- To prepare those children and young people for adulthood and independent living.
Allocated personal adviser
Due to the changes in the Children and Social Work Act 2017 you are now able to receive support from your Personal Adviser until the age of 25.
Your Personal Adviser is there to help you through your transition into adulthood and independence. You will have a Pathway Plan which will set out your support needs and plans for the future. This will be reviewed every 6 months to ensure you are on track and identify any areas of need. The support you receive after 21 will depend on your current situation and needs.
If you feel you are ready for your involvement with us to end at 21 but have support needs in the future you can come back to us (until age 25); we will then assess the level of support you need.
We will try to enable you to keep the same Personal Adviser, though this will not always be possible. The amount of support that you receive from your Personal Adviser will depend on your circumstances.
Your Personal Advisor will work with you to identify what extra support you may need. You might, for example, need extra support because:
- You have special educational needs or a disability.
- You are an unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Child (UASC) and your immigration status is unclear.
- You are in or leaving custody or you have had contact with the criminal justice system;
- You are a young parent; or
- You are going through a difficult time in your personal life.
You have a right to be involved in all decisions about your plans for leaving care. You have a right to support from an independent advocate if you want to challenge decisions about the support we give you.
Independent advocates can inform you about your rights and help you to be heard in meetings. They are separate from Children’s Services.
- If you are under the age of 18 you can request an Advocate from NYAS (National Youth Advocacy Service).
- If you are aged 18 or over you can request an Advocate from Advocacy Together.
You have a right to see the information we keep about you. This includes the files and records written about you when you were in care.
- Your Personal Advisor can support you to make a request to access your records, and support you through the process, there is no cost for this service.
- Looked After Through Care Team - 01325 406284
- Emergency Duty Team, out of hours support - 01642 524552
- Housing Options Team - 01325 406948
- Complaints and Information Governance - 01325 406777
- Access to records - 01325 406777
- NYAS (National Youth Advocacy Service) - 0151 6498700
- Advocacy Together [external link]
- Darlo Care Crew, Participation Officer - 01325 4062
- Childline [external link]
- Universal Credit [external link]
- Money Advice Service [external link]
- Citizen’s advice Bureau - 0300 3301195
- Student Finance Direct [external link]
- Direct Gov [external link]
- Student Loans Company [external link]
Health and Well-being
- SWITCH/NECA (substance misuse services) - 01325 267230
- CAMHS - The Mulberry Centre, 0300 1239296
- Adult Mental Health Crisis Team - 01325 552230
- Gay Advice in Darlington (GAD) - 01325 252522