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What will happen when my child is ready to leave Local Authority care?

View profile for Chelsea  Harris
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Once a Care Order is made at Court, this Order remains in place until a child reaches 18 years old. Once a child reaches adulthood, the Care Order will cease to have effect. The Local Authority have a duty to support young people who have been subject to a Care Order and help them prepare and plan for their future. Practical and emotional support will be offered during this transitional period towards independent living.

What must the Local Authority do?

The Local Authority must provide support for a child in Care until they are 18 years old. The support offered by the Local Authority can last until the young person is aged 25 years old, if they wish to continue to engage and they are also able to continue to live with their current carers until the age of 21 years old, if this is something they wish to do.

Meetings called  “Statutory Review Meetings” will be held once the child reaches 16 years old to decide what support needs to be put in place and what support the young person needs. The outcome of these meetings results in a “pathway plan” which is also referred to as a “transition plan” and this sets out the plan for the young person to transition into adulthood and prepare for independence. The plan will set out how much support is needed and will include health, education, financial management, accommodation and contact with family.

A personal advisor will be provided to the young person, and it is expected that the personal advisor will contact the young person every two weeks to provide continued support.

The  personal advisor must be proactive with supporting the young person. It is acknowledged that young people leaving Care can face considerable challenges and it is therefore important that practical support, advice, and resources are made available to them.

It is vital for the young person in question attends the statutory review meetings, they can also bring their personal advisor for support. The young person’s current carers will attend the meeting and can provide an insight into the needs of the young person. The social worker will be in attendance and if the young person is still in education, then a representative from their education will be present. Additionally, the Independent Reviewing Officer will also be in attendance.

A review meeting should take place every six months, but this can be reviewed earlier if requested.

What can we do?

Here at Johnson Astills Solicitors, members of our Care Department are highly experienced and can deal with a wide range of matters where Social Services are involved.  If you require legal representation at a Child Protection Conference, Pre-Proceedings Meeting or would like advice in relation to your matter do not hesitate to visit our Care Team Page on our website or call our Leicester office on 0116 255 4855 or Loughborough office on 01509 610312 or email us at careteam@johnsonastills.com.