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Leaving care

You are an Eligible Care Leaver if:

  • You are currently being looked after; and
  • Aged 16 or 17; and
  • You have been looked after for a period of 13 weeks (or periods amounting to 13 weeks) which began after you reached 14 and ended after you reached 16.

You are a Relevant Care Leaver if:

  • You are no longer being looked after by the Local Authority but you have been ‘Eligible’; and
  • Aged 16 or 17 years old;

You are a Former Relevant Care Leaver if:

  • You are aged 18 years or above, and either have been a Relevant or Eligible child when under 18.
  • You are under 25 years old.

You are a Qualifying Care Leaver if:

  • You are at least 16 but under 25; and
  • You were looked after immediately prior to the making of a special guardianship order which was in force when you reached 18; or
  • You were privately fostered and assessed to be in need.
  • As a qualifying care leaver you are able to access advice and assistance based on a needs assessment completed by leaving care team.

The role of a leaving care Personal Advisor:

At 15 ½ years old you will be allocated a Personal Advisor. They will work alongside you and your Social Worker and will assist in the preparation of your Pathway Plan. Your Personal Advisor will provide you with advice, guidance and support about:

  • Accommodation.
  • Education, Training and Employment.
  • Health and Development.
  • Independent Living Skills.
  • Identity and Culture.
  • Family and Social Networks.

When you reach 18 years old and become Former Relevant your Personal Advisor will take over responsibility for your Pathway Plan. You will no longer have a Social Worker.

You should expect to see your Personal Advisor at least every 8 weeks, however you may need to see them more often.

Pathway Planning:

We will prepare a Pathway Plan for all Eligible, Relevant and Former Relevant young people. Your Pathway Plan will replace your Care Plan from the age of 16 years. Your Pathway Plan is about your needs and what we all need to do to ensure your successful transition to adult life.

How will I be involved?

We aim to fully involve you in the development of your Pathway Plan. You will be offered support from your Social Worker and Personal Advisor to express your wishes and views for your Pathway Plan review meeting.

Who else will be involved?

With your agreement, we will seek the views from our partner agencies when completing your Pathway Plan. This may include Housing, Education, Benefits, Health and Youth Offending Service to ensure we all work together to provide you with clear and consistent advice and support.

What will be included in my Pathway Plan?

  • Accommodation.
  • Education, Training and Employment.
  • Health and Development.
  • Independent Living Skills.
  • Family and Social Networks.
  • Hobbies/social/leisure.
  • Financial Support.
  • Ethnicity, Culture and Identity.
  • A Contingency Plan.

When will my plan be completed?

Your initial Pathway Plan will be completed before you are 16 years and 3 months old. If you are over 16 when you are first accommodated then this will be within 3 months of the date of you being accommodated. 

What about changes to my plan?

Your plan will then be reviewed and updated at least every 6 months or within 28 working days of any significant changes to your plan such as change of address. 

Health Passport:

You will be provided with a Health Passport around your 16th birthday. This will contain important information about your health history and any current health issues. It will include your current GP, dentist, and optician details. Also included will be contact details for all local health services. 


Access to records:

You may want to access your case records in the future, support will provided to do so. To access your records a formal request is required through the Complaints and Information Governance Team, Town Hall, Darlington, DL1 5QT. Telephone number 01325 406777.

How to make a complaint or compliment:

You may wish to make a complaint or compliment about a member of the team. You can do this through the Complaints and Information Governance Team. Telephone number 01325 406777.

The Leaving Care Team are based at:

Pease House
12A Horsemarket,

Should you wish to discuss a Looked After Child/Young Person and you are unable to contact their allocated worker you should contact the Duty worker on the following telephone number: 01325 406284

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