Berkshire Safeguarding Children Board Procedures
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5.9.2 Financial Support for Children & Young People Leaving Care

Contents

  1. Introduction - staff guide
  2. Payments to Eligible and Relevant 16 & 17 year olds
  3. Discretionary payments to 16 & 17yr olds
  4. Payments available to Former Relevant 18 + Young People and qualifying Young People
  5. Payments to former relevant young people 18 + in full-time Education
  6. Payments made to former relevant Young People in higher Education (University)
  7. Payments made to all Young People Leaving Care
  8. Further Guidance
  9. Placement Approval Forms


1. Introduction - staff guide

This guidance details the financial support available to young people leaving care in Slough and meets the requirements of the 'Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations Volume 3: Planning Transition to Adulthood for Care Leavers'.

Financial support can include:

  • Money to live on;
  • Accommodation costs;
  • Support to enable a young person to engage in education and training;
  • Money to help find employment;
  • Money to promote contact with family;
  • Money to cover emergencies;
  • Payment for special needs.

The amounts young people are entitled to will depend on their circumstances and their legal status under the Children (Leaving Care) Act. They can be Eligible, Relevant, Former Relevant or Qualifying Young People. This status will depend on their age and whether they are in care or have left care.

Other matters that affect the payments made to young people will include what type of placement they live in and if they are engaged in employment, education or training.

Any financial support offered to Care Leavers must be linked to an assessment of need and include the following:

  • Whether the request is consistent with the aims of the Pathway Plan, Initial Pathway Plans should be very clear about financial arrangements and reviews should modify/update these arrangements as necessary;
  • Whether the young person is able to finance the item or request themselves;
  • Whether it is appropriate to approach birth parents;
  • Whether there is a grant, benefit or trust that can be applied for.


2. Payments to Eligible and Relevant 16 & 17 year olds.

When all young people reach the age of 16 the social worker MUST SUPPORT THEM to apply for a National Insurance Number (NINO) via DWP. Please see separate guidance. If the young person does not have a NINO they cannot claim benefits.

Basic living Payments

If a young person is not working, entitled to benefits or receiving any other form of income and they are supporting themselves in their own accommodation (not in foster care or residential care) they will receive the following payments:

Description Amount Notes Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000 - reference
Living allowance Equivalent of JSA/ Income Support rate for a single person (£56.25 on 1.4.12)   Section 9 point 16 (Minimum standards) 
Accommodation costs We will meet the costs of the placement for young people who are Eligible or Relevant young people until they reach 18yrs On reaching 18, Young People will be required to claim benefits or seek employment to pay for their accommodation Section 7 point 6 and Section 7, Regulation 11, point 2
Birthday allowance £30 on 17tth and 18th Birthdays    
Festival allowance £30 for one religious festival per year Festival to be agreed in the Pathway Plan  

In addition to the above, the Leaving Care Team will support young people in education at the following levels:

Travel to and from college Up to £20 per week This is based on 5 days at up to a maximum of £4 per day Section 7, Regulation 11, point 1
College registration & admin fee Up to £80 per year Requires a letter from the college confirming offer of college place. Section 7, Regulation 11, point 1


3. Discretionary payments to 16 &17yrs olds

Discretionary payments are available subject to the agreement of the Leaving Care Managers and must be included in a young person's Pathway Plan.

Description Amount Notes Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000 - reference
Dental treatment Full NHS costs Completion of the form to access the NHS low income scheme required (HC1 Form) to obtain a HC2 certificate  
Glasses Up to £100 per year This is for frames, they should get lenses on NHS  
Phone Cards /Mobile phone

1 Mobile phone per year up to the value of £20.

1 £5 overseas phone card per month - up to £60 per year

in exceptional cases only Section 4, point 39.
Passports, travel document, Cost of application    

Educational materials/special equipment.

Up to £100 per year Must be linked to improving life chances and agreed in the Pathway Plan Section 4, point 39 and section 9 point 7.

Costs associated with special needs (such as a disability or pregnancy) Cultural/religious text or festivals

Hobbies/holidays/leisure activities including gym costs and driving lessons.
Up to £200 Must be linked to improving life chances and agreed in the Pathway Plan Section 4, point 39 and section 9 point 7.
Maternity payment Up to £500 Equivalent of Maternity Benefit paid by DWP  
Travel to contact Rail/Bus ticket Maximum 8 times a year  
Clothing Allowance Up to £120 per year    


4. Payments available to Former Relevant 18+ Young People and qualifying Young People

Emergency Payments

The Leaving Team service may provide emergency payments when young people do not have access to other forms of funding, e.g. In the initial stages of making a claim for benefits.

At the age of 18, young people who are not working will need to apply for Job Seekers Allowance and go to sign on at the local benefits office. They will need to claim an emergency cases payment (Crisis loan) to cover their costs between the time the application is made and the benefits start.

If they are not in full time employment, are in college or university and are studying full time they are eligible to Income Support until they are 20 years old (dependent on hours and course type). However, a separate application for Housing Benefit will also need to be made.

We will not make emergency payments to young people who chose not to sign on or consistently fail to sign on and lose access to benefits.


5. Payments to former relevant young people 18 + in full-time Education

If young people are aged 18 and attend college full time they will be entitled to apply for income support and Housing Benefit. If their college course is part time they will need to make a claim for Job Seekers allowance and make themselves available for work; they should also make a claim for Housing Benefit and although their full rent may not be paid they should receive some assistance towards this.

In addition Pathways will pay the following if young people are not eligible to EMA; they may be eligible for ALG (Adult Learning Grant) which can be used for transport to and from college. Speak to the college about any other financial assistance to which they may be entitled.

Description Amount Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000 - reference
College registration & admin fee £80 per year Section 8, point 22
Fares to college £4 per college day (term time only) Section 8, point 22

Young people must attend their course for at least 80% or they will lose their entitlement to these payments. These payments will also be stopped during term holidays by the allocated worker and re-started back up for the new term.


6. Payments made to former relevant Young People in Higher Education (University)

Description Criteria Amount Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000 - reference
Education equipment & living costs support In higher education or university £2,000 per year Section 8, point 5 and 23
20 weeks holiday accommodation In higher education or university £85.00 a week for 20 weeks holiday total of £1,700 a year

Section 8, point 5 and 23

Section 7, point 15

(These payments are made until the young person complete their Higher Education course or up to their 24 birthday.)


7. Payments made to all Young People Leaving Care

Setting up Home Allowance (previously Leaving Care Grant)

The setting up home allowance is a set financial amount available to all care leavers based on the cost of purchase of a range of items that are needed to live independently. Payments towards these items is discretionary and based on a needs assessment and reasonable costs.

The allowance is not intended to meet the costs of personal support or accommodation.

The young person may be able to access some of their allowance when they move to semi-independent living if the unit does not provide.

Description Amount Notes

Setting up home allowance.

Young people moving to supported lodgings (16 - 18).

Young people moving to independent accommodation (18 - 21)  

Up to £1400

The young person must also apply for a Community Care Grant from the Benefits Agency.

Any purchases should be on the approved list of items and includes the first years TV licence and home insurance.
Moving costs Up to £50 Payable once only

Community Care Grant

Who is eligible?

Young People moving to live independently in the community, may be able to get a Community Care Grant. This grant can be used to cover the cost of specific items. Social Workers and Personal Advisors should support young people in applying for this.

Young People can apply for a Community Care Grant if they are either:

  • Already getting Income Support, income-related Employment and Support Allowance or income-based Jobseeker's Allowance;
  • Likely to start getting one of these benefits within the next six weeks because you're moving out of care;
  • And any one of the following applies:
  • You're moving out of residential or institutional care to live independently;
  • You're moving to a new home which will be more suitable for you following an unsettled period in your life and are being resettled by an organisation like a local council or voluntary organisation.

See Department for Work and Pensions website for more information and to download an application form.

See Community Care Grants (Gov.uk) for information about what the grant covers and does not cover.


8. Further Guidance

Contributions from employed young people

Young people aged 16 or 17 who are employed and living in supported accommodation will be expected to make a contribution towards their rent. This amount will depend on how much they earn and this will be agreed in the Pathway Plan and with the manager of the team.

Living with Friends or extended family

Where the LA has a duty to provide accommodation and the young person chooses to live with friends or extended family Children's Social Care will consider financially supporting the arrangement on the following basis:

  • The person providing the accommodation must undergo a DBS check and must consent to a basic health and safety check of the premises;
  • The young person must have a permanent bedroom (even if this is a shared room) and must have use of a kitchen and bathroom;
  • A Living Together contract should be drawn up.

Single Parents

Young people who become parents are entitled to benefits from 11 weeks prior to the birth and will not be entitled to financial support with accommodation and subsistence.

What if a young person is unhappy with the support available?

If a young person feel's that we've got it wrong or they are not getting what they are entitled to, they have the right to complain.

They can tell anyone at Children's Services that they wish to complain or ask for the 'How to complain about Children's Services, A Guide for children and Young People' booklet.

If they or their worker want some confidential advice or someone to help speak up for them this is a list of organisations that may be able to help.

  • Child line (Freephone) 0800 1111;
  • Voice for the child in Care (Freephone) 0808 100 3244
    A national organisation providing advice, help and advocacy for young people in care and for care leavers;
  • National Youth Advocacy Service (Freephone) 0800 616 101
    A national organisation providing advice, help and advocacy for young people in care and for care leavers;
  • Children's Legal centre 01206 873 820
    This organisation provides free and confidential legal advice and an information service covering all aspects of law and policy affecting children and young people;
  • Refugee Council 020 7820 3000 or 020 7346 6770
    An organisation offering advice and support to asylum seekers, unaccompanied minors and refugees;
  • EGAS - Educational Grants Advisory Service 020 7254 6251
    An organisation providing advice and funding options available to post 16 students in full time education;
  • First Key 020 7700 8130
    Improves young people's lives in and leaving care by providing information and support to people working directly with young people.

Independent Visitor

Policy :

The local authority has a duty to appoint an independent visitor in respect of any child they are accommodating if they believe that it would be in the child's best interests and if:

  1. There is infrequent communication between the child, the parents or those with parental responsibility, or, ii) the child has not visited or been visited by such persons during the preceding twelve months;

An independent visitor shall -

  1. Have the duty of visiting, advising and befriending the child and ii) be entitled to recover from the local authority any reasonable expenses incurred by them for the purpose of fulfilling their functions.

Please refer to Sough Borough council policy regarding Independent visitors at for further information. Please also see the Advocacy and Independent Visitors Procedure of these procedures.


9. Placement Approval Forms

  • IN ALL CASES - Following approval at LAC panel for a placement, a placement approval form must be completed and signed by Assistant Team Manager, Team Manager. This form is then emailed to the contracts manager to seek signatures from the Head of Service and Assistant Director;
  • Each worker should regularly discuss financial commitments for their young people through supervision so that their manager can have monthly meetings with the team manager, to ensure financial projections for each child is accurate for the relevant financial year.

End