The UK Rules
People Leaving Foster or Local Authority Care

Leaving Foster or Local Council Care

Councils support care leavers through the process of leaving foster or local authority care. Check what happens when you leave care and what the local authority must do to help.

LEAVING CARE: It's a big step, but your local council must provide you with a certain level of support. Council support can continue until you reach 25 (depending on your circumstances).

Note: When you are leaving care there will be a meeting to help you set out clear goals on what your next steps will be.

Things the Council Must Do to Help

There are several functions and services that the council must undertake to help you, including things like:

Your Statutory Review Meeting

Discussing your future is part of the process when you are leaving care. The local council will set up a 'statutory review meeting' for you. It is an opportunity to discuss your future plans and what support you might need.

What to Consider Before the Meeting

Several important topics get discussed at your statutory review meeting, including things like:

People who Attend a Statutory Review Meeting

Besides yourself, there should also be several key support staff present at the meeting, including:

How to Complain about the Statutory Review Meeting

You have the choice to make a formal complaint if your meeting was unsatisfactory. You can get extra details from your social worker or your personal adviser from the leaving care service.

Note: The Independent Reviewing Officer must also explain how to make a complaint about a statutory review meeting.

16-19 Bursary: Supporting Your Education

Staying in full-time education means you should qualify for a scholarship or bursary of £1,200 a year. Contact the relevant education provider (school or college) for details on how to claim the 16 to 19 bursary fund.

Note: A higher education bursary of £2,000 also exists from some councils. As a rule, you would need to be going on to higher education (e.g. to university).

Once Care Leavers Reach 16 Years Old

The regional council must write a 'pathway plan' for you when you reach sixteen (16). The action point helps you to prepare for leaving care and states what support you should be getting. A pathway plan must include an outline for your:

Any pathway plan reviews must involve your personal adviser until you turn 21. The age limit increases to 25 if you choose to continue getting the support beyond 21. As a rule, you will get a pathway plan review:

Claiming Welfare Benefits

You may be eligible to claim certain types of benefits when leaving foster or local authority care, such as:

Setting up a Home Allowance

Some care leavers can get a 'leaving care grant' also known as the setting up home allowance. The grant can help pay for essential items when moving into a home of your own. You should contact your local council to check what is available.

Leaving Foster or Local Council Care in United Kingdom