Leaving care

If you are leaving care, we can help you to move on to the next stage of your life as smoothly as possible.

What happens when I am ready to leave care?

What happens when I am ready to leave care?
AgeWhat happens
14 You'll get help and support to develop skills that will help you to live independently.
16 You'll be given a plan to help you move from care to independent life.  This is called a Pathway Plan.
18 You can leave care if you decide you're ready, and there is a plan in place for us to support you.
21 You'll get help and training from us until you're 21 (or longer depending on what is agreed in your pathway plan).

What help can I get?

We will give you a personal adviser who will stay in touch with you after you’ve left care.

We can help you to find somewhere to live, get into education or training, and learn practical skills like cooking and managing your money, to help you be independent. We can also give you advice on what benefits you might be able to claim.

What is a Pathway Plan?

Your Pathway Plan is an important document, as it tells you what support you are going to get from your leaving care team, including all the financial support that is in place for you. It is like a contract to promise what support you will receive in preparing to leave care, and after you leave.

You need to make sure you include all your goals and dreams in your Pathway Plan, so that you can make sure you have everything you need to help you get there. This includes things like:

  • goals you have in education, training and employment – this is a chance for you to think about your career aspirations 
  • finding a place to live 
  • getting practical skills to help you live independently 
  • healthy living

We will help you to start planning your future at your first review after your 15th birthday. We will talk to you about what your goals are, and what help you might need to achieve those goals, and we will put this together in your Pathway Plan. We will review your Pathway Plan every 6 months, until you are 21 (or older if you are reconnecting to care).

Remember: you don’t have to leave care until you are 18 years old, unless you agree that you are ready to leave before.

You can find more information on leaving care in our guide for young people.

A young person's guide to leaving care (PDF, 160KB)

Reconnecting to care

If you've been looked after by the local authority, you can make a request for support up to the age of 25, this is known as ‘reconnecting to care’.

To find out more, speak to your personal adviser or social worker. You can also call us on 01824 712200.

Emergency contacts

Children and Family Support Gateway 

  • Phone: 01824 712200 
  • Opening hours: 9am to 5pm from Monday to Thursday and 9am to 4:30pm on Friday

Single Point of Access (SPOA)

Find out how to contact SPOA

Emergency Duty Team

  • Phone: 0345 0533116 
  • Opening hours: Evenings and Weekends

Homeless Prevention Team 

  • Phone: 0300 456 1000 
  • Opening hours:  9am to 5pm from Monday to Thursday and 9am to 4:30pm on Friday

Homeless Prevention Team Out of Hours 

  • Phone: 0300 123 30 68 
  • Opening hours: Evenings and Weekends


In an emergency, if someone’s life is in danger or a crime is in progress, always dial: 999.

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