Are you eligible for help?
Depending on your circumstances and the time you spent in care, the law describes four different groups of care leaver:
- Eligible child
- Relevant child
- Former relevant care leaver
- Qualifying care leaver
You are an eligible child if:
- You are aged 16 or 17, and
- You are currently in care, and
- You have been in care for a period of 13 weeks (or episodes which add up to 13 weeks) since your 14th birthday and at least one day whilst you were 16 or 17 years old.
You are a relevant child if:
- You are no longer in care, but you have been eligible, and
- You are 16 or 17 years old
You are a former relevant child if:
- You are aged 18 or above, and
- Immediately before you reached 18 you were an eligible or relevant care leaver, or
- At age 21, or before age 25, you either continue to be on an agreed course of education and/or training or wish to receive support to start a new course.
At age 21, or before age 25 you can also ask for advice and guidance from the Leaving Care Team, even if it is not connected with a course of education or training. You may be going through a difficult time in your personal life or want some practical support with something. If you are not sure about what help you are entitled to, please ask.
You are a qualifying care leaver if:
- You are aged at least 16 but under 21, and
- You were looked after by the council prior to the making of a special guardianship order, or
- If at any time after you reached the age of 16, you were looked after for a period of less than 13 weeks and have not returned home.
- At age 16 or 17 you were an eligible child but were living with a parent for more than six months before you reached age 18 (unless you were there under a care order).
Coram Voice has a useful link to help you work out if you are a care leaver.