Local Offer for care leavers: support for children looked after and young people

Find out more about support for young people aged between 18 and 25 who have previously been looked after.

What the Local Offer provides

If you’re aged between 18 and 25 and have been in care, you could still be entitled to support from us and our partners. This is called the Local Offer for care leavers.

We will support you, encourage you, and help you prepare for adulthood and independent living. We’ll work with you to promote what is working well in your life while assessing your concerns and planning with you how to change them.

Eligibility

If you’ve been looked after, it does not automatically mean you will get a Leaving Care service. There are some important distinctions to make on who can receive a service.

If you were looked after for less than 13 weeks

The Local Offer is mainly for young people who were looked after for 13 weeks or more after they turned 14 and at some point after age 16. If you were not looked after for 13 weeks or more, but did spend time in care when you were 16 or 17, you are still entitled to some support as a 'qualifying child'.

We will:

  • offer you general advice and support and may provide financial support if it is connected with your education
  • keep in touch with you if you need that support
  • offer or pay for somewhere for you to live during the extended university holidays (summer and Christmas) if you have no other home during that period

If you were looked after for 13 weeks or more

If you’re aged 18 to 21, or up to age 25 if you are in education or training, we will:

  • provide you with a personal adviser who visits you at least once every two months
  • provide you with and review a Pathway Plan at least once every six months
  • help you with expenses relating to getting into, or remaining in, education, employment or training
  • offer you advice and support
  • keep in touch with you
  • offer or pay for somewhere for you to live during the extended university holidays – if you have no other home
  • provide you with a Higher Education Bursary and a Setting up Home Allowance (SUHA)
  • provide a home for you

If you're aged 21 to 25

We will offer support with a wide range of things and help to make sure that you are getting the support from those who can provide it to you.

Types of support

A needs assessment and a pathway plan are used to assess how you are doing and what support you might need. 

Personal advisor

If you're eligible for the local offer, you will get matched to a personal adviser by the time you are 17, in addition to your social worker. This will make sure you get to know the worker who will provide post-18 support before you become an adult. The worker will also have a much stronger idea of what you need before you turn 18 and can better prepare you for what is to come.

A personal advisor will provide general advice and guidance, and support you more intensely where you have particular needs – for example, if you wish to get into education. 

Pathway Plan

A Pathway Plan is a document outlining how you and your personal adviser or social worker will jointly respond to your needs and help you develop into an independent adult. But its biggest aim is to ensure there is an ongoing and evolving conversation about how you can move forward in your life.

A Pathway Plan will talk about all your key issues, for example your health, education, housing or money, and is as an opportunity for your personal adviser or social worker to understand what you want to achieve. For each issue, a goal or action will be agreed with you.

Independent visitors

Independent visitors are volunteers who will befriend and support you and be a consistent and supportive person in your life, helping you learn to trust, have fun and grow.

Other types of support

We work with a wide range of organisations to offer you support in education, work, housing, money, and many other areas – for example:

  • CAYSH homelessness support charity – provides a floating support service to you if you need it – this means you have a support worker who sort of ‘floats’ in and out of your life as you need them but who can provide more intensive or targeted support than your personal adviser
  • Young Croydon – offers a range of youth services, such as the Children in Care Council (CiCC) that offers programme of fortnightly sessions, activities and events which provide opportunities for them to share their views, discuss topical and thematic matters related to the leaving care journey
  • Youth Offending Service – works in partnership with other teams who directly support looked after children – like the Leaving Care or Permanence Service
  • Croydon Voluntary Action (CVA) – is an organisation that encourages and supports local community representation through voluntary action
  • Special educational and disability support – if you have learning difficulties or a disability you may be able to get support through an education setting or a supporting organisation

Know your rights

You can use the advocacy service to learn about your rights, how to ensure you are being respected, and ensure your views and wishes are heard at all times.

Learn about the advocacy service.

Download our Local Offer for care leavers guidance booklet

You can find out about the full range of support by downloading our Local Offer for care leavers.

Our Local Offer is available in several languages.

Download Local Offer for care leavers in English (PDF, 4.9MB)

Download Local Offer for care leavers in Albanian (PDF, 5.1MB)

Download Local Offer for care leavers in Arabic (PDF, 5MB)

Download Local Offer for care leavers in Dari (PDF, 5.3MB)

Download Local Offer for care leavers in Pashto (PDF, 5.2MB)

Download Local Offer for care leavers in Tigrinya (PDF, 5.1MB)