Skip to main content
CAPTION: Floating Button
View Greater Manchester SCB Procedures
View Greater Manchester SCB Procedures View Greater Manchester SCB Procedures
Caption: main heading

5.7.1 Leaving Care Service


This Policy and Procedural Document outlines the provision of leaving care services based on the Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000 and associated regulations. Including Care Planning, Placement and Case Review Regulations 2010 and Care Leavers (England) Regulations 2010.

These procedures apply to young people who are or have been in care and are entitled to support after their 16th birthday.

There are three categories of those leaving care all of whom are entitled to support after their 16th birthday. The categories are Eligible, Relevant, and Former Relevant.

These procedures also refer to Qualifying Young People who may receive support, advice and assistance after their 16th birthday.


Financial Policy for Young People Receiving Leaving Care Services Procedure

Protocol for Working with Former Relevant Young People Housing Assistance to Care Leavers Including Those Who May Present as Homeless

Bolton Local Offer


Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations - Volume 3: Planning Transition to Adulthood for Care Leavers

Extending Personal Adviser Support to All Care Leavers to Age 25: Statutory Guidance for Local Authorities (DfE, February 2018)

Applying Corporate Parenting Principles to Looked-after Children and Care Leavers - Statutory Guidance for Local Authorities (DfE, February 2018)

Local Offer Guidance: Guidance for Local Authorities (DfE)


Section 5, Pathway Plans was updated in November 2021 to note that, in relevant cases, immigration status should be included as a separate section on the Pathway Plan. This will help to ensure that young people who have been granted Pre-Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme apply to convert this to Settled Status at the appropriate. Pathway Plans should contain clear information about what action needs to be taken by whom and when to ensure that the young person’s right to remain legally in the UK is jeopardised.

NOTE: from September 2021, looked after children under 16 years of age cannot be accommodated in unregulated independent or semi-independent placements.

This chapter is currently under review.


  1. Aims of the Service
  2. Standards for Leaving Care
  3. Children and Social Work Act 2017 - The Impact Upon Leaving Care Services and Care Leavers
  4. Procedures for Referral for Leaving Care Services
  5. Pathway Plans
  6. Education, Training and Employment
  7. Preparation for Leaving Care
  8. Role of Leaving Care Team
  9. Inter-Agency Working
  10. Risk Assessment
  11. Access to Records

    Appendix 1: Eligibility for Leaving Care Service

    Appendix 2: Protocol for Transfers from Looked After Children Teams to Leaving Care Team

    Appendix 3: Pro Forma for Case Transfer Summary

    Appendix 4: Letter

    Appendix 5: Needs Assessment and Content of Pathway Plans for Relevant and Former Relevant Children

1. Aims of the Service

To offer a comprehensive service to care leavers who are Eligible, Relevant, Former Relevant and Qualifying.


In light of current Regulations and Department Standards:

  • To be responsible for the creation, implementation and review of Pathway Plans with young people;
  • To maintain contact with these young people whilst they are eligible for services;
  • To help young people access and maintain suitable accommodation;
  • To help young people achieve appropriate education training and/or employment and to contribute to help them attain their Personal Education Plan objectives;
  • To help young people make a positive transition from childhood to adulthood;
  • To support young people to become integrated members of their community;
  • To provide personal support and access to services that will help young people deal with personal and past issues and gain practical, financial and other skills;
  • To develop partnerships with other staff, departments and organisations to better promote positive outcomes for these young people;
  • To provide services that will help young people reach their potential, taking into account their own specific needs;
  • In all of these objectives to work in line with Bolton's Valuing Diversity Policy recognising each person's strengths and uniqueness.

Defining those eligible for support

(See also Appendix 1: Eligibility for Leaving Care Service)

Note: Any decision to cease looking after a child aged 16 or 17 who is Looked After other than by virtue of a Care Order, must be approved by the Director of Children's Services. The Director must be satisfied that:

  • The child's wishes and feelings have been ascertained and given due consideration;
  • The child's Independent Reviewing Officer has been consulted;
  • The child's relatives have been consulted, where appropriate.

There are four categories of Looked After young people and "care leavers" who are entitled to support after their 16th birthday until their 25th. It is important to establish initially which, if any, of these categories a young person falls into as the first stage of assessing their eligibility for leaving care services and financial assistance:

  • Eligible child. This category defines those young people who will go on to become "care-leavers" when they cease to be Looked After. They will be aged 16 or 17 and currently Looked After, either on a Care Order or Accommodated. To be "Eligible", the young person must have been looked after for a period or periods totalling at least 13 weeks since their 14th birthday (this total should include at least one spell of over 4 weeks, but does not include respite care).

    A child remains "Eligible" if, having been looked after for three months or more, they are then detained after their 16th birthday either in hospital, remand centre, young offenders' institution or secure training centre.

    (For details of financial support see PPD - Financial Arrangements for Eligible, Relevant and Former Relevant Young People.);
  • Relevant child. This category defines young people who are "care-leavers" but who are not yet 18. They will be aged 16 or 17 and have left care, having previously been in the category of "Eligible child". If a person leaves care and returns home for a period of 6 months or more to be cared for by anybody with parental responsibility for them, they cease to be a "Relevant child" (this does not include young people on a Care Order who remain 'Eligible').

    (For details of financial support see PPD - Financial Arrangements for Eligible, Relevant and Former Relevant Young People.);
  • Former Relevant child - This category defines young people who are "care-leavers" and who are over 18. They will be aged 18-25, and have left care having been previously either "Eligible", "Relevant" or both. There is a duty to consider the need to assess financial support for these young people in terms of Higher Education and training.

    (For details of financial support see PPD - Financial Arrangements for Eligible, Relevant and Former Relevant Young People.);
  • Qualifying- this category defines young people who are over the age of 16, under the age of 21, have been looked after, privately fostered after reaching 16 or are the subject of a Special Guardianship Order and were Looked After immediately before the SGO was made but are not Eligible, Relevant or Former Relevant Young People. They qualify for support, advice and assistance. If in full-time further or higher education, this may include assistance in relation to securing vacation accommodation.

An additional category is:

  • Former Relevant Young People whose case is closed to the Leaving Care Team, who later want to return to education after their 21st birthday. They can request an assessment of need - a letter will be given to the young person to explain this at the time of their case closure (see Appendix 4: Letter).

The guiding principle within these definitions is to identify those young people for whom the Local Authority should act in the place of a parent and to define the level of support to which they are entitled. As a "Corporate Parent", the Authority should act in the best interests of the young people for whom it has a responsibility and take on the full parental role.

Where young people are looked after or supported only briefly, or where they return successfully to their families for six months, it is expected that the families themselves resume responsibility for their welfare and support. This is in line with the overall ethos of the Children Act 1989, which the Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000 amends.

It is vital that case records are kept accurately and referred to when defining a young person's status, especially where individuals have complex care histories involving periods spent back at home.

Those not affected:

  1. The legislation is intended to help those young people who depend on the authority in place of family. The provisions are modelled on what good parents would normally expect to provide for their children. It does not apply to those young people who receive respite care, but remain the responsibility of their parents or other carers;
  2. The regulations also stipulate that young people who remain at home successfully should cease to be a relevant child. Young people who have been settled for a period of at least six months with a parent or a person with parental responsibility or a residence order in force prior to admission to care. The pathway plan review will determine that the return is successful.

2. Standards for Leaving Care

  • To work at all times to current Government Regulation and Departmental Policy;
  • Provide stable placements, continuity of carers and the maintenance, wherever possible, of positive links whilst young people are 'looked after';
  • Support young people until they are prepared and ready to live independently and have access to their own personal support networks;
  • Promote and maintain relationships with carers and families, where possible, after young people leave care;
  • Prepare young people gradually to be ready to leave care, paying attention to practical self-care needs - health, budgeting, domestic skill - and personal and relationship dimensions;
  • Maximise the education, training and employment outcomes for young people leaving care;
  • Promote choice for young people leaving care to access to a range of accommodation and the support skills to maintain themselves in their accommodation;
  • Ensure that there is a contingency provision to support care leavers in the event of a crisis, including arrangements for respite care;
  • Provide or enable on-going personal support. This may include specialist leaving care scheme support, support by carers and social workers, and support by youth workers, befrienders, mentors or volunteers. All young people who are Eligible Relevant and Former Relevant shall have a pathway plan. Visits and contact frequency will be defined in the Plan with a minimum as laid down by regulations;
  • Where young people leaving care are entitled to claim welfare benefits, ensure that they receive their full entitlements;
  • Facilitate the involvement of young people in all assessment, planning, review and decision making arrangements for leaving care;
  • Inform young people leaving care of the available services - including the provision of accessible leaving care guides;
  • Where necessary, act in accordance with the Protocol for Working with Former Relevant Young People Housing Assistance to Care Leavers Including Those Who May Present as Homeless;
  • Monitor and evaluate the outcomes of 3.1-3.11.

3. Children and Social Work Act 2017 - The Impact Upon Leaving Care Services and Care Leavers

The Children and Social Work Act 2017 introduces 3 new provisions:

  1. A duty on local authorities which requires them to offer 'Personal Adviser' support to all care leavers towards whom the local authority had duties under Section 23C of the Children Act 1989, up to age 25 - irrespective of whether they are engaged in education or training. This includes care leavers who return to the local authority at any point after the age of 21 up to age 25 and request such support. (Under previous legislation, local authorities were required to only provide care leavers with support from a Personal Adviser until they reached age 21, with that support continuing up to age 25 if a care leaver was engaged in education or training. However, this support was not available to care leavers aged over 21 who were not in education, training or employment);
  2. A duty on local authorities to consult on and then publish their ‘Local Offer’ (see Bolton Local Offer) for care leavers, which sets out both care leavers’ legal entitlements and other services which may assist care leavers in, or preparing for, adulthood and independent living. The local offer should cover health and well-being; relationships; education and training; employment; accommodation; participation in society. the additional discretionary support that the local authority provides. Bolton’s Local Offer for Care Leavers is in development; and
  3. A duty on local authorities which requires them to have regard to seven ‘Corporate Parenting Principles’, that will guide the way in which the local authority provides its services to children in care and care leavers. The Children and Social Work Act 2017 set out seven principles for Corporate Parenting:
    • To act in the best interests, and promote the physical and mental health and well-being, 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 the local authority and its relevant partners;
    • To promote high aspirations, and 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.

See - DfE Applying Corporate Parenting Principles to Looked-after Children and Care Leavers - Statutory Guidance (Feb 2018).

These are specific requirements in addition to the existing provisions relating to support for care leavers. The Children and Social Work Act does not extend all care leaver support to age 25.

The duty that extends Personal Adviser support (where requested) to all care leavers means that the local authority continues to exercise functions in respect of care leavers to age 25 and should therefore apply the corporate parenting principles when exercising those functions.

The ultimate aim of leaving care services is to support care leavers so that they can experience a smooth transition and go on to live successful independent lives. Each care leaver will reach that point at a different age and there should be no assumption that the duty means that all care leavers will require statutory support until the age of 25. Children are supported to prepare for their future and develop their independence in line with their individual needs, while protecting themselves from being in unsafe situations or with unsafe people.

The duty therefore means that local authorities do not necessarily need to provide the same level of support to care leavers aged 21 to 25 as it does for those aged 18-20. The duty does however enable local authorities to respond positively to requests for support from care leavers aged 21-25 who may be continuing to struggle with the transition to independence and adult life.

4. Procedures for Referral for Leaving Care Services

See Appendix 2: Protocol for Transfers from Looked After Children Teams to Leaving Care Team.

5. Pathway Plans

Prior to transfer to the Leaving Care Team, (usually when young person is about fifteen years 6mths) a leaving care worker will be allocated to undertake an assessment and write a Pathway Plan. This process will identify areas of strength and need and define where help and support are most needed. Areas such as accommodation, education, training, employment and self care skills etc. will be covered. The young person will be highly involved in this process but where they are reluctant to participate every effort will be made to encourage them to do so. The assessment and plan should also incorporate the views of interested people, for example, family members, carers, other professionals.

When carrying out an assessment of needs, the local authority must determine whether it would be appropriate to provide advice, assistance and support to facilitate a Staying Put arrangement. Where they determine that it would be appropriate, and where the child and the foster parent wish to make a Staying Put arrangement, then the local authority must provide such advice, assistance and support to facilitate a Staying Put arrangement.

The assessment and plan should reflect the viewpoints, interests and priorities of the young person but will also include detailed conclusions about the young person's readiness for transition into independence. This plan will form the basis for aiding the young person through the transition into adulthood at a pace most appropriate for him/her.

The Pathway assessment and plan will be updated on a six monthly basis by the named worker on the Leaving Care Team, involving the young person and any other appropriate interested people.

The Pathway Plan will be reviewed at least 6 monthly and more frequently if required. Reviews will continue until the young person is 21 or up until 25 if the young person is in higher education, and if they remain beyond 21 to help maintain education, training or employment. Reviews will be chaired by an Independent Reviewing Officer until the young person reaches the age of 18. For Eligible young people the Pathway Plan review will be combined with the Looked After Child Review. The chair will write up the review minutes and copies will be given to attendees and any other people by agreement with the young person. For young People over 18 Pathway Plan reviews may not always be face to face reviews.

Pathway Plan reviews should be attended by the young person and people the young person wants at the review. This may include family members, friends, current carers, advocates and other professionals.

Where a young person moves out of Bolton the receiving authority will be informed by letter in line with Climbie procedures. Bolton will remain the Responsible authority but when necessary, for example if distance precludes our customary service being offered, a request will be made for the receiving authority to undertake leaving care duties on our behalf. When the young person remains within the North West this will be done via the North West Aftercare agreement. Bolton will retain responsibility for reviewing the plan.

The Pathway Plan must address in particular:

  • The young person's health and development building on the information included in the young person's Health Care Plan;
  • Education, training and employment. The Personal Education Plan (PEP) should continue to be maintained while the young person continues to receive full or part-time education (up to the age of 18). Information within the PEP will feed directly into the Pathway Plan. Pathway Plans must have an explicit focus on career planning, taking into account the young person's aspirations, skills, and educational potential;
  • Contact with the young person's parents, wider family including siblings and friends and the capacity of this network to encourage the young person and enable them to make a positive transition to adulthood;
  • The young person's financial capabilities and money management capacity, along with strategies to develop the young person's skills in this area;
  • Where relevant, immigration status should be included as a separate section on Pathway Plans. This will help to ensure that young people who have been granted Pre Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme apply to convert this to Settled Status at the appropriate time. Each young person’s personal deadline for converting Pre Settled into Settled Status is unique to them and contained in a digital format – it is important therefore that this is recorded and monitored by the local authority. Plans should contain clear information about what action needs to be taken by whom and when.

Note: Information from the Pathway Plan should not be shared with other agencies or individuals without the young person’s consent.

Where agencies are contributing to the delivery of an individual young person’s Pathway Plan they should be provided with a copy of the relevant extract from the Plan relating to their contribution.

The local authority is required to offer all care leavers a Personal Adviser up to the age 25 and apply the corporate parenting principles when continuing support is agreed or requested.

However, the duty at this stage of a young adult’s life is seen as different from the age 18 - 20 in that it enables the local authority to offer support to some individuals who may need continuing support in the transition process. The level of support and intervention will vary considerably; many at this stage of their lives will not require, or want, ongoing help and will not have a Pathway Plan. However, for others:

  • There may be multiple issues which will require a Pathway Plan being fully completed and regular contacts, planning/co-ordinating meetings with partner agencies, etc.
  • Care leavers may have single or specific issues where they require support and guidance, e.g.:
    • Pregnancy or becoming a parent;
    • Release from custody;
    • Mental health issues;
    • Risk of homelessness;
    • Debt, including rent arrears;
    • For advice or guidance on commencing education or training;
    • For advice or support following experience of domestic or sexual violence/abuse.

Where care leavers require support with single or specific issues, the Pathway Plan should be completed only in the relevant part that reflects the issues being dealt with.

Where a Relevant or Former Relevant Young Person enters custody, pathway planning must continue. The young person must be visited on a regular basis and it is good practice for the first visit to take place within ten working days. The role must not be fulfilled by a YOT worker. The Local Authority must liaise with the YOT or Probation Providers to support the young person emotionally, practically and financially while in custody. A review of the Pathway Plan should be carried out at least a month before the young person's release to give sufficient time to plan for their resettlement, including identifying suitable accommodation where the young person's placement had to be given up or has been lost and identifying who will collect the young person and the sources of support after their release.

  • In the event of a Relevant or Former Relevant Young Person breaking off contact and/or not engaging with the agreed support and advice being offered, a review of the Pathway Plan may take place by telephone, e-mail or letter, if agreed in advance by the Chairperson and the Personal Adviser. In these circumstances the Personal Adviser will attempt to negotiate a revised plan that is acceptable to all parties;

Where contact is lost, the emphasis of the Pathway Plan Review will switch to record how attempts will be made to re-establish contact and these efforts will be reviewed within the established system.

For those aged 21 and up to 25 the frequency of contact between Personal Advisers and care leavers will vary depending on the nature of each individual’s circumstances.

Where a Pathway Plan is amended as a result of a review, the Personal Adviser will amend the Plan. Any necessary approval to the amended financial arrangements will be sought from the Designated Manager (Leaving Care). Once the changes are approved, the Personal Adviser will send a copy of the amended Plan to the young person, the Chairperson and the Designated Manager.

6. Education, Training and Employment

6.1 Planning for Education, Training and Careers

Care leavers must be provided with access to high quality information, advice and guidance to inform their plans in order to progress into continuing education, training or employment. How this will be met should be included in the Pathway Plan. They should be offered work experience and other opportunities to allow them to test their career aspirations and needs. Career planning tools should be used to inform Pathway Plans.

Placement arrangements for young people considering attending university, from their 18th birthday to the point they commence higher education courses, must be addressed and agreed well in advance of their 18th birthday. Plans need to be made for the vacation breaks. The local authority should not move a young person participating in a course of education during the academic year after their 18th birthday.

6.2 Care Leavers Continuing in Education

Where young people are continuing with an education or training course beyond their 21st birthday, the practical and financial support being provided must continue to be set out in their Pathway Plan.

Pathway Plans must set out accommodation arrangements, including financial arrangements during term time, short vacations and the long summer vacation.

6.3 The 16-19 Bursary Fund and Higher Education Bursary

The 16-19 Bursary Fund helps 16-19 year olds continue in further education, where they might face financial barriers to participation such as the cost of transport, food or equipment. Young people in the defined group include those in care and care leavers. See Education and Skills Funding Agency: 16 to 19 education: financial support for student.

The Higher Education Bursary is for care leavers in higher education.

6.4 Young People Resuming Education or Training After 21

Young people previously eligible for leaving care services resuming programmes of education or training after the age of 21 are entitled to continuing support from a Personal Adviser.

The definition of a programme of education or training must be interpreted broadly. For example, this might include options such as: completion of a basic skills course, so that the young person has the numeracy and literacy skills needed to compete in the jobs market; take up of a course of further education; take up of a university place; support to enable the young person to complete a recognised postgraduate qualification; or participation in vocational training and apprenticeships.

Where a care leaver requests this support, an assessment should be made to assess the appropriateness of the education or training course and how it will help them to achieve their ambitions. The leaving care team should meet with the young person and, based on the assessment of their needs and the suitability of the course, assign a Personal Adviser to participate in the preparation of a Pathway Plan. The plan should reflect the agreed educational outcomes for the young person and the type of support the young person will require. This assessment should draw on the information about the young person's skills and capabilities which will have been set out in Pathway Plans up to age 21. The extent of practical and financial assistance provided will depend on the assessment of the young person's needs and will reflect the type of course, whether it is full or part time and the young person's existing income.

All care leavers (including those who live out of authority) should be made aware of their entitlement to a Personal Adviser up to age 25 if they wish to return to education and training, including by the provision of information (e.g. a letter or leaflet) on how to get in touch in the future together with details on accessing Bolton’s Local Offer. It should be explained to them that they will be supported to overcome difficulties so that they can return to education or training up to age 25 if this is their wish. In particular, all young people who are not in education, employment, or training (NEET) should be encouraged to take up this offer of support.

This entitlement to resume the pathway planning process and a support relationship with a Personal Adviser starts from the time the young person informs the local authority of their intention to resume their education or training and ends with the completion of the course. This may include the need for continuing assistance where young people seek support to complete a series of education/training opportunities. Young people do not need to have decided what education or training they would like to pursue. In such cases, the Personal Adviser should help the young person identify the options best suited to them.

Care leavers will need support and guidance to help them think about and plan their return to education or training, consider all aspects such as financial support and impact on housing or benefits. The re-instated Pathway Plan must have a specific focus on the support that the care leaver will need to be able to meet the education or training goals agreed.

7. Preparation for Leaving Care

It is the responsibility for all concerned to help a young person become ready for independence. Preparation for independence should be regarded as an integral part of the care process; with stable care relationships being an important basis on which to plan preparation for leaving care.

This preparation covers three broad aspects:

  • Enabling young people to build and maintain relationships with others, (both general and sexual relationships);
  • Enabling young people to develop their self-esteem;
  • Teaching practical and financial skills and knowledge.

Family members and carers have a particular contribution to make. This is notably so in ensuring that the learning of skills important for living independently, such as budgeting, shopping, cooking, handling money are part of the young person's day to day life. It is important that carers involve young people in the practical details of their lives to help them prepare for future independent living.

To help young people develop socially and culturally, carers must be prepared to provide an emotionally safe environment in which young people can experiment with new relationships or challenge old ones. Carers will play a significant role in supporting young people through breakdowns in these relationships, e.g. with family members, boyfriends or girlfriends.

Services should be appropriate to reflect the gradual transition of a young person from childhood to adulthood and be supportive in the way a good parent might.

Preparation should help develop a young person's capacity to make satisfactory relationships, develop self-esteem and enable them to acquire the necessary practical skills for independent living.

Preparation for independence and provision of leaving care support must take account of religious persuasion, racial origin, cultural and linguistic background and any other needs of the young person.

Preparation for independence and the provision of leaving care support must be planned in conjunction with all other interested agencies. These agencies should be invited to contribute to a young person's continuing care plan and, on reaching 16, his or her pathway plan.

7.1 Delegation of decision making regarding agreement for young people to move into unregulated provision

NOTE: from September 2021, looked after children under 16 years of age cannot be accommodated in unregulated independent or semi-independent placements.

Any young person 17 years and over where there is a proposal that it will be in her or his best interest to move into unregulated provision needs IRO and HOS agreement.

Any young person 16 years and over where there is a proposal that it will be in her or his best interest to move into unregulated provision needs IRO, HOS and Assistant Director agreement, unless it is in an emergency situation where agreement can be given by the HOS.

Additional reviews should be held when a young person moves from regulated to unregulated accommodation. Changes in accommodation would also trigger increased contact:

  • If a Relevant young person moves to new accommodation, they must be visited at that accommodation within 7 days, Subsequently before the Pathway Plan is reviewed and then at 2 monthly intervals;
  • If a Relevant young person moves into accommodation that is not regulated under the Care standards Act 2000 nor by Ofsted - a Pathway Plan review must take place as soon as possible after 28 days and then at intervals not exceeding 3 months.

See also Schedule 6, Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) Regulations 2010.

8. Role of Leaving Care Team

The Leaving Care Social Worker or Support Worker will take primary responsibility for writing, monitoring and updating the Pathway Plan, ensuring their part is carried out and co-ordinating other people's contributions. Prior to allocation of case responsibility it may be that a different worker undertakes the assessment and prepares the plan.

Leaving Care Support Workers have a caseload which in the main will consist of Relevant and Former Relevant young people although occasionally will include Eligible young people.

Specific services will be offered such as group work run by staff with the appropriate experience, knowledge and skill.

Members of the Leaving Care Team will work alongside and in partnership with young people offering them appropriate services and co-ordinating services with other agencies. Typically leaving care workers will have skills in working with young people who have difficulty in engaging with and taking up services. Part of the leaving care role is to act as an advocate for the young person in negotiating, accessing and taking up services.

The Leaving Care Service provides additional services: supporting unaccompanied asylum seeking young people aged 16-21 (or until their asylum claim fails if before), this work is based on supporting them as care leavers and also through their asylum claim while maintaining a sensitivity to cultural needs; working with young people aged 16 and 17 who present as homeless, undertaking assessment of their situation, involving family when possible and accessing short and long term accommodation when not; undertaking joint assessments with other agencies (mainly YOT) of young people either already on our caseload or previously unknown to the department who exhibit sexually harmful behaviours. Additionally the team has access to an Emotional Health Practitioner who provides a service for young people from the LCT caseload. This role allows workers to consult about areas of concern; the early assessment of the emotional needs of young people; the provision of support to colleagues in developing suitable work strategies with young people; direct individual work with young people; or the links to other mental health services as appropriate.

See also:

9. Inter-Agency Working

Services for young people leaving care are provided by a variety of agencies including Career Connect, Education, Youth Services, Colleges, Health Service, YOT, 360, Housing agencies and other voluntary agencies offering support, mentoring and counselling.

A multi-agency approach has been developed for services offered to young people through joint planning, strategies and co-ordinated delivery. Examples include joint work on the development of housing services and accommodation.

Specific arrangements for CAMHS involvement:

  • Through consultation at specialist CAMHS services and referral if appropriate.

Under the Care Leavers (England) Regulations 2010 and Transition into Adulthood for Care Leavers Guidance, the Leaving Care team will explore "Staying Put" options for young people in foster and/or residential care.

Regular meetings are held with colleagues from Adult Services to discuss young people who are identified as having additional and complex needs, which may require services from Adult Social Care. This may result in a period of joint working, provision of a care package from adults or transfer to Adult Services. If Adult Services role ends prior to a young person's 21st birthday, Leaving Care team will resume case responsibility until that time

10. Risk Assessment

Employees should understand the importance of assessing Health & Safety risks to themselves, colleagues, service users and the wider community. All relevant risk assessments must be completed, monitored and reviewed as necessary.

Employees must be aware of their legal obligation to follow safe systems of work and the possible consequences of departing from agreed procedures.

Generic risk assessments of the main activities of the service and place of work are in place and must be reviewed by the Team Manager (Leaving Care).

A service user risk assessment (SURA) must be undertaken and maintained on each eligible, relevant or former relevant service user of Leaving Care or any young person receiving ongoing support as and allocated case. The assessment must be shared with the young person and, where possible, agreed and signed by them. If the young person does not agree, and this is not resolvable, a note must be made on file.

The SURA PPD states that where a service user is seen or visited once, all risks should be adequately covered in a general risk assessment. If a Single Assessment identifies risks a full SURA must be completed. Where a service is provided or regular work done a SURA must be carried out. Use of SURA should be considered in all cases.

11. Access to Records

Over the course of their lifetime, people who have spent all or part of their childhood and adolescence in local authority care may want to access information about this period in their lives. There can be a range of reasons why people who have left care want to do this, including curiosity about why they came into care; what happened and when; a need to make sense of difficult memories and life events; to clarify disparate explanations; a desire to trace family members; seeking medical information in reference to hereditary illness/disease and also to obtain photos/certificates. For information on access to records by care leavers, see Access to Records / Subject Access Requests Procedure, Applications by Care Leavers.

Appendix 1: Eligibility for Leaving Care Service

Click here to view Appendix 1: Eligibility for Leaving Care Service

Appendix 2: Protocol for Transfers from Looked After Children Teams to Leaving Care Team


Leaving Care Team (LCT) managers to email Looked After Children Team (LAC) managers with names of allocated social workers from LCT (This will happen approximately 5 months before the young person is 16 years of age. LAC managers to keep LCT managers informed about young people reaching 15 1/2.)

LCT worker to contact LAC worker within a week of allocation.

Meeting (to discuss case) between LCT worker and LAC worker to take place within one month of allocation. Joint visit also to be completed, it would be helpful if this was done at the same time as the meeting if possible but should take place within 2 months of allocation at the most.

Pathway Plan Assessment

The LCT worker will read the files and inform the LAC worker of what needs to be updated prior to transfer. Please see attached form which identifies which paperwork needs to be completed and up to date.

Between the meeting with social workers and the handover to our team the LCT social worker to attend meetings about the young person including PEPs and LAC reviews etc.

During the period when pathway plan assessment is on-going, LAC social workers to e-mail LCT social workers for contribution to current Care Plan.

Within one month prior to transfer of case LAC and LCT social workers to meet to provide a complete handover update for the case. It is probably preferable to have this meeting closer to the actual time of handover so that the information is complete. At this meeting the social workers will agree a date for the transfer of the case.


LAC managers to audit the file prior to its transfer.

LAC social worker to inform LAC admin of the agreed date for transfer and LCT social worker to inform LCT admin and managers. If for some reason the case cannot be transferred on the agreed date the social workers to negotiate another date and inform the relevant people of the change of date.

On the agreed date LAC admin will transfer the case into the LCT manager's work tray. The paper file should also arrive on the agreed date of transfer.

Pathway Plan Part One is to be completed in time for the transfer of a young person to the Leaving Care Team in all but exceptional cases. Pathway Plan Part Two to be completed within two weeks of the young person's transfer.

LCT managers will allocate the case to LCT social worker's work tray.

Click here to view Planning the Transition from LAC Team to Leaving Care Team

Appendix 3: Pro Forma for Case Transfer Summary

This will be completed by the LAC social worker prior to transfer and it will be done with ICS case notes as follows:

  • Type of Contact - General Note;
  • Reason for Contact - Case Transfer Summary;
  • Case Note - body of Case Transfer Summary.

We agreed the following items should be documented:

  • Reason for young person coming into care and brief care history;
  • Contact with family/friends etc. including quality of relationships;
  • Education/employment/training plan;
  • Health issues and needs including emotional wellbeing, alcohol or substance misuse etc.
  • Current placement stability;
  • Any particular concerns held by current social worker about the case;
  • Financial contributions currently made by the LA to the young person or their family, carers etc.

Appendix 4: Letter

Click here to view Appendix 4: Letter

Appendix 5: Needs Assessment and content of pathway plans for relevant and former relevant children

Appendix 5: Needs Assessment and Content of Pathway Plans for Relevant and Former Relevant Children.