What is a care leavers local offer?
The Children and Social Work Act 2017 ensures that all local authorities establish a Corporate Parenting Board, and publish a 'local offer for care leavers'. The local offer for care leavers' should explain the services on offer from both the local authority and other agencies.
The local authority must publish information about:
- services the local authority offers for care leavers as a result of its functions under the Children Act 1989
- other services the local authority offers that may assist care leavers in, or in preparing for, adulthood and independent living
- information about services offered by others which the local authority has power to offer as a result of its functions under the Children Act 1989/ 2004
As your corporate parent, it is our responsibility to make sure you know what services are available to you, and what you can expect to receive when you are a care leaver.
Former relevant care leavers are now able to request support and advice between the ages of 21 and 24 and a personal adviser (PA) will be allocated to you either until you reach your twenty-fifth birthday, or until you decide you no longer want this support.
The local offer must be updated from time to time, as appropriate but only after consultation with relevant persons, including care leavers. It must reflect what you tell us you need, and not what we think you need.
The local offer for care leavers should relate to six areas, these are:
- Health and wellbeing
- Education and training
- Participation in society
Corporate parenting principles
There are seven corporate parenting principles for local authorities to follow to ensure that they are the best corporate parents to the children in care and care leavers they support, and to ensure that you remain the focus:
- To act in the best interests, and promote the physical and mental health and wellbeing of those children and young people
- To encourage those children and young people to express their views, wishes and feelings
- To take in to account the view, 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 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
- To prepare those children and young people for adulthood and independent living.
Terminology used by the care leavers' service
If you are a care leaver, you have certain rights and entitlements from Surrey Children's Services. Although we sometimes refer to young people in different categories, to us you are an individual. Below is a basic explanation of what these terms mean:
An eligible young person is someone who is aged 16 or 17 and is still in care.
A relevant young person is someone aged 16 or 17, but has left care on or after their sixteenth birthday.
A former relevant young person is someone aged between 18 and 25 and who was in care on or after their sixteenth birthday.
A qualifying young person is someone aged between 16 and 21 (or up to 25 if in education) who was no longer being looked after or accommodated in other settings, or privately fostered, after the age of 16 and not on their sixteenth birthday.
Extension to 25
Extension to 25 is someone under 25 years old who has previously been open to the Care Leavers' Service (CLS) who is entitled to request support, contact the CLS and ask to speak to the duty worker.
For more information about these terms please visit Coram Voice.