So I'm 18 - Now What?
Once you are 18 years old, you legally become an adult. This means that you will no longer have a social worker and will no longer be in care. However, this does not mean you are on your own! To give you support and to help you to leave care there is a specialist team called the ‘Next Steps Team.’ This is the team where the personal advisors (PA’s) work.
What does the Next Steps Team do?
Next Steps is a team of personal advisors who provide support to young people preparing to leave care and to young people who have left care. The team also includes a careers advisor and a participation officer. The careers advisor supports young people aged 16 and above with education, training and employment. .
The service user involvement worker is a care leaver who supports young people to become involved in volunteering with the local authority to make services better for young people. The participation officer also organises activities and events, and helps young people with education, training and employment.
The Next Steps Team also has a Practice Manager who supports the team day to day and a Principal Manager who oversees everything.
The level of leaving care support that you are entitled to depends on the amount of time that you have spent in care, how old you are and your plans for education and training. The Children (Leaving Care) Act (2000) describes four categories of children and young people, each of which has different entitlements under the law. These are eligible, relevant, former relevant and qualifying.
In April 2017 a new category of entitlement was created for young people who are care leavers aged 21-25 years old, known as ‘former relevant pursuing education or training.’ The Children and Social Work Act (2017) also ensures all care leavers have access to personal advisor up to 25 years old.
Once you know which category you are, you can then find out your rights and entitlements. It’s really important that you understand what support you are entitled to, but unfortunately it can be difficult to work out which category you fit into, but don’t worry even professionals struggle to remember it all. If you’re not quite sure, don’t give up; ask your personal advisor who will help you to understand it. Or visit Voice online at http://www.voiceyp.org/young-peoples-zone/are-you-care-leaver. Here you can complete a quick online survey which will help you to work out category you fit into.
Check out the ‘My Rights’ to find out more information about your rights and entitlements.