The support we must give you by law:
Advice and Support from a Personal Advisor
Following changes introduced through the Children and Social Work Act 2017, you will be able to ask for support from a Personal Advisor up to the age of 25, whether you are in education or training or not.
Your Personal Advisor is there to help you to prepare to live independently and to offer advice and support after you leave care. Personal Advisers should talk to you about what support you need and record this information in your pathway plan.
Useful contacts for you: There are lots of services available that can offer you advice and guidance about different things. We have included some of them but if you are looking for other support, please speak to your Personal Advisor as they will probably have lots of other information for you.
Am I entitled to a leaving care service?
If you a care experienced young person you may be entitled to help and support when you “leave care” from Nottingham City Council. The law says you have an entitlement to leaving care services if you are an Eligible, Relevant, Former Relevant or Qualifying young person:
Eligible Care Leaver
- You are 16 or 17 years and you are currently looked after by Nottingham City
- You have been looked after for a period of 13 weeks or more (or periods amounting to 13 weeks) or more which began after you reached your 14th birthday and continued to at least one day following your 16th birthday.
Relevant Care Leaver
- You were an “eligible” child, but you are no longer looked after.
- You are currently 16/17 years old
Former Relevant Care Leaver
- You are aged between 18 & 21 years old
- You were (before your 18th birthday) an “eligible” or “relevant” child
- You will continue to be former relevant until your 25th birthday.
Qualifying Care Leaver
- You are at least 16 years old, but under 21 years old.
- You were “looked after” prior to having a Special Guardianship Order, which remained in place until you were 18 years old.
- You were subject to a private fostering agreement.
- You were successfully “returned home” to a person with parental responsibility for 6 months (aged 16/17); you were previously “eligible” or “relevant”.
- You were “looked after” for less than 13 weeks between the ages of 14 to 18 but were looked after for at least 24 hours aged 16 and 17.
- Young people aged 16, and under 21 who were looked after in a series of pre-planned short breaks.
- Young People in this category qualify for advice and assistance only and following a needs assessment, may qualify for some financial assistance which is usually university vacation accommodation.
From age 17 ½ you will be introduced to your Personal Advisor who will work alongside you and your social worker until you are 18th helping you plan and prepare for the changes that will happen when you are 18 around your home and your money etc. Your Personal Advisor will:
- work with you until you are at least 21 years old and/or up to your 25 birthday.
- help you to prepare to leave care and become more independent as you move into adulthood.
- keep in regular contact with you, this will be at least every 8 weeks, as you get older you may feel you need less support, you and your Personal Advisor can work this out together and agree how best to keep in touch and how often
- offer advice and guidance to support you to achieve your goals
- work together to review and support you to achieve your goals through your pathway plan
Following changes in the law, if you are aged 21 (or above) you can decide if you want to continue working with the Leaving Care service. Your Personal Advisor will start to explore this with you before your 21st birthday. If you want to continue working with your Personal Advisor, you can agree together what support you will need and how often you will keep you in touch, we will still want to see you at least every 12 weeks and you will still have your pathway plan every 6 months.
If you think you no longer need our support, that’s fine, you can opt out of the service. We will keep in touch with you with birthday cards, Christmas cards and a phone call just to check in with you once per year. If you need some advice and guidance, you can always contact our duty service (details below).
If your circumstances change at any time and you think you need more support, you can request to come back to the service and we will ensure you have a Personal Advisor and a pathway plan, this will continue for as long as you feel you need the support or up to your 25th birthday.
If you are over 25 years old and feel you need some advice or guidance, although we cannot offer you a full service, you can always contact our duty service and we will try and give you some advice and guidance or signpost you to a relevant service that can help you.
You will have all the same leaving care support as young people that live within Nottingham City, however you may need support to access services in the area where you live, this might include access to education, setting up benefit claims and access to housing. Your Personal Advisor will help you to find out what is available in your local area and will support you to access local service.
If you are entitled to a leaving care service, but have specialist educational needs, you may be entitled to additional specialist support/provision, please see the SEND Local Offer Special Education Needs & Disabilities Local Offer | Ask Lion - Nottingham City Directory
If you are under 18 you will have a social worker and financial support, when you reach 18 years old, you will be considered a former relevant young person and have you will be entitled to support, but the level of support will depend on your immigration status.
You will have a Personal Advisor and pathway plans; we will always work with you the three possible outcomes (this is known as triple planning) which means:
1) Planning on the basis that you have a positive outcome to your asylum claim and you receive some form of leave to remain
2) Continue to plan and support you whilst you await a decision
3) What will happen if your asylum claim is refused, and you have exhausted all appeal rights.
You will be supported to:
- Study and find work
- Have safe and suitable accommodation
- Have good physical, emotional and mental health
- Ensure your cultural and religious and dietary needs are met
- Medical treatment from the NHS if you are 16/17 years or you are over 18 (but under 21 years old) and in education
- Trace family members from specialist organisations
We understand that the asylum process is difficult and you will need legal support from an Immigration Solicitor to support you. Your Personal Advisor will try and help you understand the process and the possible outcome of your asylum claim:
What if I am granted refugee status?
The Home Office can award refugee status to a person who is recognised as a refugee (as described int eh Refugee Convention). If you have been given refugee status, this is usually “leave to remain” and is awarded for 5 years. Following this you can apply for “Indefinite Leave to Remain”.
What if I am granted Indefinite Leave to Remain?
This is also known as “permanent residence” or “settled status” and it gives you the right to stay in the UK on a permanent basis.
What if I am granted Discretionary Leave to Remain?
Discretionary leave is granted when the Home Office has decided that you do not qualify for refugee status or humanitarian protection, but there are good reasons why you need to stay temporarily in the UK. If you have exhausted all your appeal rights, we will carry out a human rights assessment to decide if removing leave care support would breach your human rights. If it is decided that we can longer support you, you would still receive support from the home office.
Refugee Council website: Refugee Council website
Home Office: Home Office - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Nottingham Refugee Forum (advice and support) Contact us | Nottingham Refugee Forum (nottsrefugeeforum.org.uk)
Join us at Nottingham Playhouse for our Conversation Café, where refugees and people seeking asylum can come for a free hot drink and a chat. For more information and contacts
If you are in contact with Police, Prisons or Probation it is helpful that you share that you are working with the Leaving Care Service and have a Personal Advisor, so that we can work together to support you. If you are invited to a police interview or attending a court appearance, please speak to your Personal Advisor who can support you to access a solicitor/duty solicitor.
What if I am working with Probation?
If you have a Probation Officer, we can work together to support you to comply with supervision or requirements. Your Personal Advisor and Probation Officer will offer to meet jointly with you and explore your aspirations and goals, which will be recorded in your pathway plan.
What if I am in custody?
If you find yourself in custody, we want you to know you are still important to us and we want to stay in touch with you.
If you have a Personal Advisor, we will still visit you at least every 8 weeks and we will continue to work with you on your pathway plan. You can speak to your Personal Advisor about how they visit you as this could be a legal or social visit, or, where possible, a special arrangement with the prison.
If you turn 21 while you are in custody, we will take your lead about whether you still want a Personal Advisor and how you have contact with us to support your release and resettlement.
If you don’t have a Personal Advisor, you can contact our Duty Service, for advice/guidance, you are able to ring this number for free if you are in HMP Nottingham. You can request to come back to the service and we will ensure you have a Personal Advisor, pathway planning and regular visits/support, this will include the time you are in custody and planning for release.
We have links with Care Experienced Leads within prisons, should you need to seek advice, share concerns or compliments. It is still really important to us that your voice is heard, we are committed to continuing to offer you opportunities to have your say via our annual surveys, co-delivering training with us via video link, or joining us at meetings using ROTL (Release on Temporary Licence.) Each secure estate has a care experienced Champion or Lead Worker who you can speak to, and there are often opportunities e.g. peer mentoring that you can get involved in.
Preparing for release:
- will work with you, the prison and Probation to find you safe and suitable accommodation
- we will work with your landlord to see if you can keep your tenancy and claim universal credit housing payments (if your sentence is less than 6 months and you were already receiving universal housing credits pre remand/custody) this may be possible
- support you to access your available setting up home allowance
- work with MyBag to provide you with a box of toiletries and cleaning products
- we may be able to provide you with a basic mobile phone (with agreement from Probation) and clothing upon your release, you can talk to your Personal Advisor before your release to see if this is available.
- Additional support is available from our Well-Being Practitioners
Care Experience Matters: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/care-experience-matters
Reducing Criminalisation: National protocol on reducing criminalisation of looked-after children
Prison Reform Trust: T: 02072515070 E: email@example.com
Doing Time (a guide to prison and probation) https://doingtime.co.uk/
Women in Prison: T: 020 7359 6674 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
What if I am a pregnant?
If you are worried you could be pregnant or need some support to think about starting a family, when the time is right for you, you can talk to your Personal Advisor about support with:
- Healthy relationships
- Sexual Health and contraception
Your Personal Advisor can help you access our Family Hub for more advice and information.
If you are pregnant, we can ensure you are in touch with health professionals who will provide you with ante-natal care. The NHS website has lots of information on heath support during pregnancy Your antenatal care - NHS (www.nhs.uk)
Your Personal Advisor will support you to prepare for having your baby and help you to access any financial support that you are entitled to. You can receive the Sure Start Maternity Grant. This is a one-off payment of £500.00 to help buy the essential baby items that you will need when your baby is born. Find out more about Sure Start Maternity Grants on Gov.uk Sure Start Maternity Grant: Overview - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
You may be able to receive Healthy Start Vouchers, if you are more than 10 weeks pregnant (or have a child under 4 years old), this to help you to buy healthy food and milk. Your Personal Advisor can support you to apply for the Healthy Start Vouchers at the Healthy Start website:
What if I am a parent?
If you already have a child or children, we want to make sure you have all the support you need on your parenting journey. Nottingham City has a network of Family Hubs that can support you, the Family Hubs are3 based in community venues and some can be accessed online. The Hubs offer lots of different services:
- Antenatal services (midwives)
- Post-natal services (when you have your baby)
- Infant feeding support
- Mental health and wellbeing services, including Healthy Little Minds, Children and adolescent Mental Health Service, Peer support services.
- Family Support Services
- Play and learning activities
- Special educational needs support, advice, and services
- Parenting support
- Healthy Relationships support
- Young Parents together groups
- Housing, benefit, and welfare advice
- Substance misuse (drugs and alcohol) support
- Youth services and Youth Justice
You can talk to your Personal Advisor or find more information on the Family Hubs at: Family Hubs | Ask Lion - Nottingham City Directory
Your Personal Advisor can support you to access other support within the City:
Healthy Little Minds provides extra support to help you understand your baby’s needs based on you and your baby’s individual needs.
- Help and support to talk about any difficulties
- Support to understand your baby’s emotional and mental health needs
- Build on strengths to support you and your baby to thrive.
More information and a self-referral to Healthy Little Minds visit: Healthy Little Minds SSBC (smallstepsbigchanges.org.uk).
Young Mums Connect: works with young mums to build your confidence as a parent and have ta healthy parent-child bond. Explore and encourage you to use your support systems and ask for help if you feel you need it. Support you to think about your future goals and aspirations. For more information, speak to your Personal Advisor or visit: Young Mums Connect
Baby Basics: This project aims to support new mums/families who might be struggling financially. The project can support with essentials and equipment to mothers and families who are unable to provide these items for themselves. The project works with midwives, health visitors and others to provide support directly which can include: a ‘Moses Basket’ of clothing, toiletries, and essential baby equipment. For more information, speak to your Personal Advisor or you can visit the Baby Basic Facebook page.
What is the Family Nurse Partnership?
The Family Nurse Partnership works with first-time mums who are still teenagers. If you have a Family Nurse, they will visit you at home, providing support and advice for you and your baby. For more information you can speak to your Personal Advisor or for more information, you can visit Children’s Public Health 0-19 Nursing Service :: Nottingham City Care
What if I need help with childcare?
Your Personal Advisor can support you to explore the childcare that is right for you and any financial support that is available.
There is lots of financial support available to help you pay for childcare, which will depend on your individua circumstances. You can find more information about help with childcare at: Help paying for childcare: Childcare you can get help paying for - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
What if Children’s Social Care are involved with my child?
If Children’s Social Care become involved with you and your child your Personal Advisor can support you to understand the process, this can include support to make sure and help you understand the process and what is happening, what plans are in place and what might be expected of you, to support you at meetings and make sure that your opinion, wishes ad feelings are heard.
If you/your child is going through the adoption process, your Personal Advisor will support you, there is additional support available through the East Midlands Adoptions Agency. This is a completely free service providing emotional support, or more practical support like helping with letterbox exchange, meeting with adopters
What about planning for my future?
We understand that through you are a parent you will still have ambitions and goals for your future and when you are ready, your Personal Advisor will be able to talk you about support available for you and your child if:
- You want to return/continue your education
- You want to return /go into training or employment
- You want to get some advice and guidance on your options
Family Hubs Nottingham City: Children and Families | Ask Lion - Nottingham City Directory
Bestwood Family Hub, Southglades Access Centre, Southglade Road, Bestwood, Nottingham NG5 5GU Telephone 0115 8761890
Broxtowe Family Hub, 18 Strelley Road, Nottingham, NG8 3AP Telephone 0115 8763888
Hyson Green Family Hub, The Mary Potter Centre, 76 Gregory Boulevard, Nottingham, NG7 5HY Telephone 0115 8838202
Meadows Family Hub, Kirkby Gardens, The Meadows, Nottingham, NG2 2HZ Telephone 0115 8761320
Baby Basics Facebook page; Bundles of Hope and Baby Basics Long Eaton | Long Eaton | Facebook
Family Rights Group offers legal advice to families whose children are involved with local authority children’s services. TeL: 0808 801 0366 (lines open Monday – Friday 9.30am -3.00pm) or by email at email@example.com or visit: FRG Website
Family Lives offers support to anyone in a parenting role for any parenting problem. You can contact Parentline on 0808 800 2222 (lines open Monday - Friday 9am-9pm, Weekends 10am-3pm) or visit Family Lives Website
Families Information Service supports mothers and fathers by helping you to find the right childcare, listing lots of different activities for you to go to with your child as well as providing you with information about free childcare places for 2, 3 and 4 year olds. Tel: 0800 4584114 or visit: Families Information Service Website
Coram Voice: Coram Voice can ensure that you know your rights. They can offer advocacy services, ensuring that your voice is heard and acted upon. You can contact their Always Heard service by freephone 0808 800 5792 (lines open Monday – Friday 9.30am – 6pm, Saturday 10am – 4pm); email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit: https://coramvoice.org.uk/myrights/all-you-need-to-know-about-leaving-care/i-am-care-leaver/
Become is a national charity which works to improve the care system and support young people. Their mission is to provide help, support and advice to children in care and young care leavers so that they can take control of their lives and unleash their potential. They want you to reach your dreams through recognising your abilities. They can be contacted by phoning their free number on 0800 023 2033 (lines open Monday-Friday10.30am-3pm), Become Website or email: email@example.com
Rees, the Care Leavers Foundation. If you’re looking for information, advice, financial support, or to find a community of people who are care experienced, Rees can help. Reese provides a range of useful extra services that anyone with care experience can take advantage of including a peer network, opportunities, sign posting, a crisis fund, and various other things. It I worth checking out their website to see if they can help support you. Rees Website
The Care Leavers’ Association is a national user-led charity aimed at improving the lives of care leavers of all ages. We bring together the voices and experiences of care leavers to support care leavers of all ages, improve the current care system and change for the better society’s perception of people in care. If you would like to find out more, Care Leavers Website email firstname.lastname@example.org or call on 0161 236 5665.
Capstone Care Leavers Trust (CCLT) awards grants to people aged 17-25 years who have been in local authority care in England or Wales and are in need. The CCLT also offers advice and guidance to young people to help reduce their experience of social exclusion and enhance their life chances. They can be contacted on 0121 374 2601. They will consider awarding grants for lots of different things like training courses, travel costs to places of study/ training. Capstone Website
Catch 22 supports care leavers in the transition from care to independence. Catch 22 Website
They can support with:
- alternative education provision
- support for children who go missing and/or experience sexual exploitation
- skills development programmes such as the National Citizen Service
- housing support and a peer landlord scheme
- apprenticeships and employability services, including Care2Work
- engagement within prison or youth offenders institutes.