Fact or Fiction?
Here are some frequently asked questions that we wanted to make sure you knew the truth about.
“What does ‘looked after’ mean?”
This is the name given to all children that the local authority has some sort of responsibility for. It includes all children that are on a care order and those who are accommodated. It sometimes includes children who are living at home and who the local authority has responsibility for.
If you are not sure you should ask your parent/carer, social worker, PA or support worker to check for you. You can find a really helpful flow chart here that will help you in easy steps or go to our ‘what does this mean?’ page.
“Young people in care are not allowed to go to their Child in Care Reviews”
This is fiction. Your reviews are all about you and you should be able to chose where you have them and can even chair them if you like. Ask your Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO) about this and they should help you.
“If I am in care my social worker should visit me every six weeks to check how I am doing?”
Yes, this is a fact that is laid down by law in the 1989 Children’s Act.
“Once you are 18 you can access the information that social care hold about you”
Yes, this is a fact! Speak to your social worker or contact your local authority to find out how.
“If I choose to go to university, I will have no financial support”
This is fiction too! If you decide you to go on to university, care leavers can access a bursary to support them to do this. A lot of universities will also offer reduced accommodation fees, to find out more contact your PA.
“When I turn 21, I will no longer have a PA”
This is fiction, if you are in education or have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) you will keep a personal advisor till you are up to the age of 25. When you turn 21 and you still want to keep your PA, you can request to do so till you’re 25.
“Am I a care leaver or not? How do I know if I have ‘Care Leaver’ status?”
People often use the term ‘care leaver’ to refer to lots of different things, which can be very confusing! It can be used to name somebody’s experiences or as a legal status. Leaving care services cover the age range of 16 to 25 years. Here are some of the definitions that you may find helpful:
- Eligible If you are aged 16 or 17 and have been ‘looked after’ for at least 13 weeks since the age of 14 (not necessarily all in one go) and are currently looked after.
- Relevant a young person aged 16 or 17 years old who has left care who was previously eligible.
- Former Relevant a young person aged 18 years and over who was either eligible or relevant.
- Qualifying a young person who
- Is aged 16-21 and was Looked After immediately before the making of a Special Guardianship Order
- Is 16 or 17 years old and has spent LESS THAN 13 WEEKS in care since the age of 14 years old but includes at least 24 hours in care aged 16 or 17 and is not returning home to a parent or adult with Parental Responsibility
- Has been successfully living at home for more than six months and was previously an ‘eligible’ or ‘relevant’ care leaver
- Is aged 16, and under 21 who was looked after in a series of pre-planned short breaks
- Has been privately fostered and also assessed as a child in need
In situations where a ‘Qualifying Young Person’ requires practical or financial support the local authority is required to undertake an ‘Assessment of Need’.
You are all welcome to come to our care leaver forums 🙂
“If you are a care leaver and you get pregnant, your baby will be taken away from you”
This is fiction. Your child will only be taken from you if they are at risk of significant harm and you cannot keep them safe.