Nottinghamshire Safeguarding Adults Board’s Learning and Development Sub-Group recently had a guest presentation from Kathryn Higgins, Designated Nurse for children in care (Nottingham City CCG and Nottinghamshire County CCGs - excluding Bassetlaw).
As a result, NSAB will be updating relevant learning opportunities to reflect awareness of Care leavers in relation to Safeguarding Adults.
Please see below for some useful ‘bullet points’ and contact info for the Local Authority Looked after Children Teams
What is a care leaver?
“Eligible being those young people in local authority care aged 16 and 17 who have been looked after for at least 13 weeks from the age of 14, relevant those young people aged 16 or 17 who have already left care, and who were looked after at least 13 weeks from the age of 14, and have been looked after at some time whilst 16 or 17 and former relevant those aged 18 – 21 who have been eligible and/or relevant, including through a compulsory care order, voluntary agreement or on remand”.
Care leavers are no longer looked after and don’t receive the statutory looked after review meetings and process to support them.
- Some may return home, some may be offered the “Staying Put” scheme which means some Young People can remain in foster care until 21 years and the remaining will move into independent living.
- Many care leavers do well in life and achieve success. However, there are many who find life challenging and require extra support and intervention.
How would you know a young person is a care leaver?
- Contact from the Local Authority who may be supporting them.
- Previous looked after children alert on records.
- You are informed when the last statutory health assessment is completed whilst in care (GPs).
- The young person informs you.
- Other health communication.
- You may not!
What are the issues facing care leavers?
- Independent living – challenges
- Sofa surfing/homelessness
- Managing finances/budgeting/debt
- Lack of support/isolation
- Managing health needs
- UASC (Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking children)
- Vulnerable to exploitation (Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE), criminality)
- Managing bills, food etc. on a low income. Debt may become an issue.
- No/minimal family support – at risk of exploitation.
- Some may struggle managing a tenancy. May become homeless.
- Isolated and lonely – vulnerable.
- Remember UASC (Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking children) arrive in the country at 16+ years, language issues, cultural difference and often placed within independent living straight away. Were a looked after child until aged 18.
- Previously may have had a lot of support around their health needs. They may not meet the threshold for adult services i.e. mental health
- If they have numerous health needs, they may struggle to get to all the appointments. Consider the implications of non-attendance.
Support for Care Leavers
- Social care offers support/personal advisor within the care leavers team until the age of 25
- County local authority leaving care teams – contact 0300 500 8080 for your locality team, or visit: https://www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/care/childrens-social-care/nottinghamshire-children-and-families-alliance/looked-after-children-care-leavers
- Keeley talks about the new Local Offer for Care Leavers in Nottinghamshire. Tax exemptions, help with housing and university, and personal support: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iVByaUO0FE8
- City local authority leaving care team - 0115 8761333