Care Leavers Local Offer

Children’s Services want to support our care leavers to transition into independent adults.  Help and support is available to support this objective:

Health & Wellbeing

We want you to all be happy, healthy and live life to the full, we will:

  • Ensure that your Personal Advisor will support you to register with a GP and Dentist and were appropriate attend hospital or doctors’ appointments with you.
  • Ensure your Personal Advisor supports you to access specialist services such as sexual health or substance misuse services.
  • Ensure your Personal Advisor supports you to access counselling services for example Walsall Talking Therapies (Walsall and Dudley Mental Health Trust) which is open to anyone over the age of 17 who are registered with a Walsall GP. You can also self-refer on line or free phone number that your Personal Advisor will give to you.
  • Walsall Council also has a licence to enable you to access an online counselling service. com is an online counselling service that is a free, confidential, safe and anonymous way to ask for help. The service is for young people up to the age of 25, is available from 12 noon to 10 pm Monday to Friday and from 6 pm to 10 pm at weekends.
  • Ensure your Personal Advisor will provide help and support to you if you are a young parent/s to ensure that you are able to access support and help.
  • Ensure that health passports are offered to you by the Looked After Children Nurse, this provides you with your own health history as.
  • Ensure you have access to information, advice and guidance around specific health needs via the Looked After Children’s Nurse.
  • Walsall Council’s Sport and Leisure Services and Children’s Services have arranged for all Walsall looked after children and care leavers to have free access to all individual activities at the Council’s four Leisure Centres. This allows free use of the new Oak Park and Bloxwich Active Living Centres, Walsall Gala Swimming and Fitness Centre and Darlaston Swimming Pool. Care leavers have access to free swimming and free use of gym
  • Make sure that we let you know about sporting’s clubs or groups

Action in progress:

  • Young people have asked for regular drop in service to support access and this is currently being explore with the manager of the FLASH service.
  • The Transition and Leaving Care Nurse will add further capacity and support for Care Leavers
  • We need to provide Care Leavers with improved and quick access to services that continue to promote good emotional and mental wellbeing.
  • Work with Health partners to continue working together aorund their contribution to the Local Offer for care leavers.

 

Relationships

We want our Care Leavers to have good, positive, safe and secure relationships, we will:

  • Ensure you all have a Personal Advisors up to the age of 25.
  • The Personal Adviser role is the key enabler in supporting young people leaving care to plan and prepare for the transition and to manage and sustain their independence after the age of 18. There is a commitment to ensuring the Personal Advisors work with no more than 25 young people at any one time.
  • We will support all of you into Education, Employment & Training as set out below.
  • Support you to meet the extra ordinary costs of travel to maintain contact with family or previous carers to promote relationships and reduce isolation.
  • Support young people and care leavers by offering them a safe space to meet fortnightly and build positive relationships through the Leaving Care Forum.

Education, Employment & Training

We want to support you and have high aspirations for you,  we want to help develop opportunities for you and make sure that you have the skills and are ready for work, so we will:

  • Ensure the team have a dedicated Impact worker who is co-located with the Leaving Care Service.
  • That all of you aged 16 and 17 year of age will have a review of your education via a Personal Education Plan to ensure that there is a clear plan around your education, employment or training.
  • Ensure that any of you that are at risk of losing your placement or not in education, employment of training are supported by the Virtual Head and Team Manager of the leaving care service.
  • Ensure that you all have equal access to the Council offers of apprenticeships and work experiences to care leavers.
  • Provide you with supported in preparation with interview practice, applying for jobs and with creating your CV and personal statement.
  • Work with you to ensure that you are ready for work and are successful in apprenticeships/works experience and training.
  • Provide information on and support you with opportunities via open days at colleges and universities.

Action in progress:

  • Establishing a mentoring scheme for children in care and care leavers.

Finance

Financial Support and Managing money successfully: We want you to be able to manage your money and make the right decisions for yourself, so we will:

  • Help you get settled into your own accommodation and not ask you to pay any Council Tax if you live in the Walsall borough until you are 25 years of age.

Action in progress:

  • Consideration to be given to those outside of the Walsall Borough to ensure fairness and equality
  • Support you with making any applications/registering with the Job Centre.
  • The Care Leaving Service has a joint protocol with local JobCentre Plus (Department of Works and Pensions) to allow for two-way communication between named staff at the DWP and a named personal advisor to allow them to solve any administrative issues in respect of their benefits.

Financial Entitlement

  • Those of you aged 16 and 17, living in supported accommodation as well as those who are unable to claim for benefits will be offered a weekly allowance equivalent to state benefits and wherever possible this will be paid into their bank accounts.
  • Ensure you all are provided with a setting home grant of up to £2000 Additional Financial Support.
  • Make an annual festival payment of £50.
  • Give you a gift for your birthday of £25 (when oyu are 19 or 20 years of age), £50 on your 18th and 21st.
  • Support you to meet the extra ordinary costs of travel to maintain contact with family or previous carers to promote relationships and reduce isolation.
  • Pay for the first key documents such as a passport or driving licence.
  • Consider addition payment towards travel costs, book’s and equipment for those of you in apprenticeships and further education, this will be based on individual need and your Personal Advisor will give me more advice on this.
  • Those of you in further education offered a small financial reward of £50 for demonstrated effort.

Budgeting Advice

  • Supported you with one to one budgeting advice either via your Personal Advisor or someone from the welfare rights service as part of your pathway plan.
  • Sign post you to other services such as Jobcentreplus or Turn2US who have online tools for debt management, your Personal Advisor will support you with this, if needed as part of your budgeting skills, and debt management. https://www.turn2us.org.uk/Other-help/Debt or the Government’s Money Advice Service.
  • Make sure you have access to the benefits you are entitled to.

Higher Education

  • Offer those of you in higher education at University or equivalent a bursary of £2000 over the duration of your course, subject to attendance, vacation costs, moving accommodation costs, support you to apply for other sources of funding and student loans

Accommodation

We want you to have a somewhere to live that you call ‘home’, where you feel safe and secure, so we will:   

Housing Options

  • Make sure you have priority status for Housing in Walsall.
  • Make sure, for those in a crisis; you will NOT be placed into bed and breakfast accommodation.
  • Work together with the councils Money, Home and Job Directorate to reduce the risk of any one becoming intentionally homeless.
  • Work with other services to ensure there is a range of housing accommodation and supported accommodation provision in the Borough to offer a range of choice
  • Support you in maintaining your tenancy, including paying rent and bills.
  • Consider and support you with other accommodation options of things go wrong for you
  • Offer practical moving-in help and support.

Actions in progress:

  • Review of supported accommodation provision in the Borough is underway with Money Home Job and Children’s commissioning.

Staying Put

  • Offer you, where we can the option to stay with your carers until the age of 21

Actions in progress:

  • Review the offer and ensure all care leavers and foster carers consider this option

 

Participation in Society

We want you to feel part of your community and be proud of the community you live in, we want you to share your views and to be involved, so we will

  • Appoint a Children’s Champion to drive the involvement and participation of you all in a wide range of activities in and around your community.
  • Encourage you with in getting involved, in shaping services, in challenge discrimination or barriers you may face as a care leaver and make sure your voice is heard and you are listened to.
  • Provide you with opportunities to come together – children looked after and care leavers have access to Walsall’s Participation Groups operating at the Hub or at My Place. This is one of the ways in which children in care and care leavers can get involved in making changes to services, training of foster carers, social worker, personal advisors or being part of a range of activities.
  • Let you know ‘How to Complain’ if you are angry or upset with something.
  • Support you to access the Advocacy Service or contact the Coram Advocacy Service, both of which are independent of the council.
  • Encourage you to be involved with national organisations campaigning for better services for care leavers, they run national consultation events, to hear your views.
  • Ask and support you to be involved in the appointment of staff, service reviews and development of the service offered to you. Actions in progress:
  • To further strengthen, widen and develop involvement and participation looked after children and care leavers in the Council4Kids.

 

 

 

 

 

Comments are closed.