Transition and Leaving Care

The Council has a legal duty to provide support and advice to young people aged 16 and over who are living in or have left the care of the local authority, preparing them for independent living and to have arrangements in place to support effective planning so their transition into adulthood is positive. The underpinning principles are to enable care leavers achieve their potential as young adults, maintain education, employment and training. The functions including the powers and of local authorities in relation to Care Leavers are set out in legislation, regulations and statutory guidance, as outlined below

  • The Children Acts 1989 and 2004
  • Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000
  • The Children and Families Act 2014
  • Children and Social Work Act 2017
  • The Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) Regulations 2010
  • Care Leavers (England) Regulations 2010 (the Care Leavers Regulations).

The Care Planning, Placement and Case Review and Fostering Services (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2013;

In April 2017 the Children and Social Work Act 2017 received Royal Assent and this further strengthens the provision for care leavers and sets out new duties for the Council and partners. The Act requires that all care leavers have access to a Personal Advisor up to the age 25 as well as setting out seven Corporate Parenting Principles and the requirement publishing a Local Offer for care leavers in consultation with them.

Corporate Parenting Principles set out in the Act are:

(1) to act in the best interests, and promote the physical and mental health and well-being, of those children and young people;

(2) to encourage those children and young people to express their views, wishes and feelings;

(3) to take into account the views, wishes and feelings of those children and young people;

(4) to help those children and young people gain access to, and make the best use of, services provided by the local authority and its relevant partners;

(5) to promote high aspirations, and seek to secure the best outcomes, for those children and young people;

(6) for those children and young people to be safe, and for stability in their home lives, relationships and education or work;

(7)  to prepare those children and young people for adulthood and independent living.

Local Offer

In addition the Act requires Local Authorities in England to publish information about their ‘Local Offer’ for Care Leavers which sets out sThis section has no associated Explanatory Notes

services to assist care leavers by the local authority and other services. This includes services relating to

(a) health and well-being;

(b) relationships;

(c) education and training;

(d) employment;

(e) accommodation;

(f) Participation in society.

Before publishing its local offer for care leavers (or any updated version) a local authority must consult with relevant persons about which of the services offered by the local authority may assist care leavers in, or in preparing for, adulthood and independent living.

The Purpose of Transitional & Leaving Care:  The service is responsible for providing support and advice to young care leavers from the age of 18 to 25. In addition the service allocates Personal Advisors who work jointly with a social worker to assess and support young people in care from the age of 17 years in preparing them for independent living and to have arrangements in place to support effective planning so their transition into adulthood is positive.

The aims of the service are to:

  • ensure transition arrangements are holistic, inclusive and our young care leavers are at the heart of what we do
  • work towards improving outcomes for young care leavers
  • work with relevant health services to improve the health of our young care leavers
  • help young care leavers have the best possible quality of life and to retain maximum dignity and respect
  • support and enable young care leavers to achieve their maximum potential
  • prepare young care leavers for greater independence as valued members of the community able to participate as active and equal citizens both economically and socially
  • ensure that each young care leaver has the opportunity and is supported to make informed choices about decisions that affect their lives, including employment, housing, leisure, recreation and relationships

Who are Transition and Leaving care?

We are a team of 1 Team Manager, 2 Assistant Team Managers, 10 Personal Advisors & 1 Assistant Personal Advisor.

At 1st June 2017 there are 220 care leavers aged 17 years to 25 supported by the Transition and Leaving Care Team.

Location of the service:  The service was co-located with the Looked After Children’s Teams at Townsend House, however the consultation with young care leavers acknowledged that the location as not suitable was nor conducive to engage young people meaningfully. More significantly young people wanted a venue that enabled them to drop in, engage with other services and somewhere they are proud to be.

In May 2017 we moved to the ‘TLC HUB’ : A new building within 10 minutes of walking distance from the town centre has been sourced, following consultation and joint visits with young care leavers and the Transitional & Leaving Care Team have moved in.

Alumwell TLC Hub, Brineton Street, Pleck, Walsall WS2 9EP

Consultation is underway with young care leavers as to what services they would like to see within their ‘TLC hub’.   So far they have told us they would like to – in their words

  • Be proud of our place, it is there to help us.
  • Most of all make it about the leavers; somewhere we feel safe and cared about.
  • Keep one room for our children, have soft toys, books and paint.
  • Hold Parent groups in that room.
  • Keep one room for TLC groups; e.g. drop-ins, New Belongings, make that room about the group; e.g. Pictures.
  • Have a kitchen for the leavers so they can make drinks (hot and cold). We are adults – treat us like adults.
  • Can we have a TLC nurse and can she be base there (free sexual health screening and free access to condoms)
  • Set up and hold clothes bank with leavers and member of staff. This helps with confidence, skills training and self-esteem.
  • Hold food bank for leavers in the new building so leavers won’t feel embarrassed getting their food when they are struggling.
  • Keep computers with access to interest so leavers can do job search, apply for benefits and for setting up home grant.
  • Have garden club so leavers can be proud of their space, pretty flowers, and homes for wildlife.
  • Have a room allocated for mental health with a Counsellor or someone just to talk with.
  • Have a benefit person there for when benefits get sanctioned etc.
  • Hold talks with local police and tell them what we think should be changed; also they can tell us what to look out for.
  • We should change the way people think about care leavers, invite people from Walsall in to see what we are really like.

Discussions are on going with other voluntary and statutory agencies to offer a menu of services from the ‘TLC Hub’ as outlined above as well as working with the Transitional and Leaving Care team to scope out officers becoming accredited trainers in life skills programmes that can also be ran from the Hub.

We have an active participation forum ‘Council 4 Kids’; where our children and young people support the service in developing ideas that can help them to  achieve their full potential. The group meets monthly to discuss issues that are relevant to them. We have members of our corporate parenting board as well as other guests attending so that they can hear our children and young people’s voice. We have a number of young people working with us to help develop this forum and its activity, they meet weekly at our ‘Respect’ and ‘New Belongings’ groups. Here is a link to our web page.

The services have developed good relationships with local universities and the further education colleges. There is a range of support available to care leavers who are in further or higher education and this may vary depending on individual circumstances.  Support can include financial support for course and exam fees, course equipment and books; clothing or uniform needed to do the course or job, vacation accommodation. We currently have 7 of our Care Leavers at university, 10 of our care leavers are due to start University in September 2017

The council is part of regional supported accommodation framework as well as securing bespoke accommodation for Young People with complex needs.  We also work very closely with our colleagues in Money, Home, Job to help our young people to access suitable and safe accommodation. Walsall has a wide range of accommodation options for Care Leavers as set out below:

  • Staying Put
  • Shared Tenancies
  • Supported Accommodation
  • Supported Lodgings
  • Accommodation & Support for those with complex needs (St Basils pilot)

Social & Private sector sole tenancies

We currently have 21 of our care leavers are in ‘Staying Put’ arrangements with their former carers and 55 of our care leavers live successfully in their own independent accommodation.

In addition to have piloted a guarantor scheme to secure accommodation for a young person in the private rented sector, have met with both legal an Chair of the Landlords Forum to scope out the possibility of introducing a similar scheme across the Borough

If you would like to contact us our telephone number is 01922 650555

 

The Guide for Care Leavers ia a guide to help you understand the type of support on offer and to make sure your journey into adulthood and independence is successful

Guide for Care Leavers 2017/18

 

Did you know you could get a free pass for Walsall Leisure Centre’s? see the below leaflet for more information and what leisure centre can be accessed under the offer:

Leisure Pass poster

 

page updated 03.07.2017

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