What is a care leavers personal adviser and a pathway plan?

It is important for you to know what support you will receive from the Care Leavers' Service (CLS) as you begin to start your journey into independence. We want you to know how we will support, and also how this might look. It will be different for every young person depending on your needs and what support you would like.

What does a Personal Adviser (PA) do?

When you enter care, you are allocated a Social Worker. When you turn 16, you will be introduced to a Personal Adviser (PA) who will work alongside your social worker until you reach the age of 18. Once you turn 18, your PA will become your worker and you will no longer have an allocated social worker. You can ask for a PA profile which is an introduction into your allocated PA, this will include a bit about them and what their role is.

As a young adult, you can make your own decisions and choices. Your PA is there to support and advise you with making the right decisions for you. Your PA will continue working with you until you turn 21, or up to the age 25 if you are in full-time education, or if you have made a request for additional support and advice.

Your PA will give you their contact information, and should always tell you what days they work, if they are going on holiday and who you can call if you can't get hold of them in an emergency.

For care leavers aged 18 to 21 years old, your PA will see you at least every eight weeks to make sure you are okay and provide you with support where needed and will ensure they maintain contact with you in between visits. It's a good idea to let your PA know how you would like to be contacted. This might be by phone, WhatsApp, text or email.

For young people aged between 21 to 25 years old who have remained open under extended duties, your PA must see you a minimum of every 12 weeks. However, there may be times when you wish for advice and support, or have greater need, and therefore the frequency will depend on the assessment of your needs and what your Pathway Plan states in relation to maintaining contact.

For those between 21 to 25 years old who have closed to the service, we will contact you once every 12 months until your twenty-fifth birthday to remind you that you can access the Care Leavers' Service by asking for support and a PA will be allocated to you.

What is a pathway plan?

A pathway plan is a document that you will complete with your Social Worker or Personal Adviser between the ages of 16 and 21. Your pathway plan will set out your needs, your views, any future goals, and what support you will receive.

Your pathway plan will also consider your education, employment, health, finances, social needs, relationships and accommodation.

Your pathway plan should be created with you, reflect your current status and views and where you wish to get to - after all it is your plan!

If you request advice and support after you turn 21, up until your twenty-fifth birthday, your pathway plan will concentrate on the areas you feel you need support with. A full pathway plan may not be necessary, but all plans will explain how your PA and you plan to keep in touch.

It is important to recognise the change in duties to you between the ages of 21 and up to your twenty-fifth birthday and recognise that your primary source of financial and welfare support is provided in the same way as your peers. The amount of support and the frequency of contact that you receive post-21 will depend on your individual circumstances.

Your PA is responsible for ensuring you have a relevant, up-to-date pathway plan which considers your current needs and what needs to happen to aid your transition into adulthood and independent living. The plan needs to be clear, include your goals and how these will be achieved, by whom, and by when – these will then be reviewed at least every six months whilst you remain with the service. It's really important that you have a copy of your pathway plan, your PA will send this to you. If you do not receive a copy, please ask your PA.

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