What does the care leavers service do?

What does the care leavers' service do?

The Surrey Care Leavers' Service (CLS) do lots of things for young people. The commitment from the CLS to you, as a care leaver is that we will:

  • listen to you and hear what your ambitions are for your future. We will advise and support you in how these can be achieved
  • offer you the chance to shape the service you access by becoming a member of the Care Council and the Care Leavers' Forum, giving us your views through surveys and focus groups
  • support your Personal Adviser to have a long-term professional relationship with you
  • support you in improving your physical and emotional health and wellbeing
  • support you in feeling safe and secure in your accommodation
  • support you to access mental health support, this could be through CLS CAMHS workers within the county
  • support you to stay in touch with the people who are important to you and have your well-being at heart
  • work with other agencies to improve their understanding of your views, wishes and needs
  • work with the eleven housing districts and boroughs in Surrey to support you to find suitable accommodation and support you in keeping your accommodation
  • do everything we can to support you to access education, training and employment and work closely with the 16+ specialist in the Surrey Virtual School
  • keep in touch with you until you are 21, or 25 should you wish.

How we can support you?

The Care Leavers' Service (CLS) is currently divided in to six teams covering the following areas:

The Care Leavers' Service is currently divided into five teams:

  • North west: this team covers the boroughs of Runnymede, Surrey Heath and Woking
  • South west: this team covers the boroughs of Guildford and Waverley
  • North east: this team covers the boroughs of Elmbridge, Epsom and Ewell and Spelthorne
  • South east: this team covers the boroughs of Reigate and Banstead, Tandridge and Mole Valley
  • Two asylum teams: these teams work across Surrey with young people 18+ who have claimed or are awaiting asylum decisions. One team is based in the South West and the other in the North East

Each team is made up of a Service Manager, Team Manager, Senior Practitioner and several Personal Advisers (PA) all working to ensure care leavers get all the support they need. You will normally be matched with the team closest to where you lived before entering care.

The work of the service is underpinned by the care leavers' service plan which is informed by the priorities of the Corporate Parenting Board and the Corporate Parenting Operational Group. Both groups work to promote the Corporate Parenting Principles within Surrey in the work we undertake with care leavers.

Your personal adviser (PA) can support and advise you with accessing housing, education, employment, training, health services, finances and can provide a shoulder to lean on, when needed. Your PA will play a vital role in supporting you.

Tailored support within the service

The Children and Young People's Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health Care Leavers Service, which is provided as part of Mindworks Surrey, offers mental health support to vulnerable young people aged 16-25 as they leave their children's homes, hostels and foster placements and transition in to adult life. This service aims to prevent long term emotional and mental health problems for care leavers. We provide a primary mental health service which offers additional support but does not replace existing provision for this age group, including under 18s or the Community Mental Health Recovery Services (CMHRS) for over 18s. Find out more about the mental health support available to care leavers.

Within the Virtual School there is a dedicated Education and Employment Adviser, providing tailored Career Information Advice and Guidance (CIAG) to Care Leavers aged 18-25. Contact your Personal Adviser (PA) for more information.

The Homeless Prevention Team is a county-wide service that helps with the prevention and relief of homelessness amongst Care Leavers. We aim to prevent homelessness by setting up agreements, arrangements and meetings with young people, their landlords or providers, their Personal Advisers (PA) and any other specialists who are involved in the young person's Pathway Plan in order to work together to make sure each young person has a safe and secure place to stay. We believe that all Care Leavers deserve to be in suitable accommodation in line with the Children's Act (7.12). We work with the local districts and boroughs in order to get the best outcomes for our young people, this includes the Care Leavers Joint Protocol. We ask that referrals are completed by Personal Advisers in order for us to help you find or maintain your accommodation. For more information please email homelessprevention.duty@surreycc.gov.uk.

Support for care leavers (formerly asylum seeking children)

If you are an asylum seeker or do not have status to remain in the UK, we have support workers who can help you with any specific challenges.

The Migration Project is a countywide effort to expand opportunities for Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children (UASC) in Surrey's care. We engage closely with young people and the people supporting them to better adapt our services to their needs.

Whether through drop-in sessions with foster carers, welcome packs for new arrivals, life skills training, or collaborative projects with local organisations, the Migration Project aims to help asylum seeking young people integrate in to Surrey. The service helps them to access vital services and expand their opportunities. It also works to increasing awareness amongst staff, service providers and residents. Most of all we want to support young people to contribute to and help define what life in Surrey is like.

If you have any questions you want to ask, ideas for support groups or activities you'd like to see, or just generally want to chat, please contact us directly. We also offer training to staff and foster carers, so if you're new to working with UASC, we'd love to speak to you too!

You can contact duty.deskleavingcare@surreycc.gov.uk for more information.

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