What is a Care Leaver?
If you’re researching fostering, you may have come across the term ‘care leaver’. Generally, any young adult who has spent time in the care system, away from their family and birth parents, can be considered a care leaver. This applies whether they lived in a foster home with foster parents, in a children’s home, or supported housing. In each situation, they will have had experience with social workers who have made arrangements for specific care outside of their family.
In terms of the law, The Children Act 2000 states that a care leaver is someone who has been in the care of the Local Authority for at least 13 weeks or more spanning the weeks that cover their 16th birthday.
One option for care leaver who wants to stay with their foster carers is the Staying Put scheme, which has been designed and developed to help teenagers to stay with their foster family past their 18th birthday. This is helpful for teenagers who may be more vulnerable and have not yet fully developed in terms of maturity. This option helps to give them more time to prepare for life in the adult world. It means they may have more time to complete their education or any training they are doing. This will better prepare them for working life and improve their chances of beginning a successful career.
Within the Staying Put scheme, each young person has a Pathway Plan which will support a young person with their transition from foster carer into independent living. This covers topics such as accommodation, further education, finances, and employment. The Plan will be discussed with the young person and will always reflect their personal wishes and hopes for the future. A personal adviser will continue to work with the young person as they leave home to ensure the plan is followed and that the plan is updated regularly to reflect their growth and personal life circumstances. Children’s Services in the UK have a duty of care until the care leaver reaches the age of 21.
If you’re interested in long term fostering and want to know more about how it works, and what happens to foster children as they grow older, please contact Fusion Fostering who can answer any questions you may have and offer advice. Please call 03301 239 355 or click here to fill out our contact form.
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