Northumberland Care Leavers

If you are leaving care or have left already, Northumberland County Council are committed to supporting you leaving care. We aim to clearly set out your entitlements and what you can expect from us in one place, helping you make the most of the services available to you.

If you are leaving care or have left already, we haven’t stopped caring about you.

Your leaving care support worker will talk to you about the information in the core offer, but if you have any questions or if you feel you need something different, just ask them.

We have listened to what our care leavers have to say about what we do and what is important to them. The feedback they gave helped us create this core offer to care leavers. We will continue to listen to what you tell us and make sure the support we offer is the support you need.
 
We know moving into independent living is a big step. We want to make sure you know where to go for support and advice when you need it.
Northumberland County Council are committed to support young people leaving care. We aim to clearly set out your entitlements and what you can expect from us in one place, helping you make the most of the services available to you.

To be able to get the support this core offer describes, you need to have been in care for at least thirteen weeks between the age of 14 and 16 years (including your 16th Birthday) or for 13 weeks after your 16th birthday. If you are not sure whether you have, then ask your social worker or personal advisor. 
 
Within Northumberland we have a specialist 18+ team, this ensures the support you receive is relevant to you. You will be allocated a support worker who will support you to meet your needs in all areas of your life. 
 
Your leaving care support worker is the person who you will have most contact with, they will coordinate the help and support we agree with you in your Pathway Plan. They will make sure your Pathway Plan is reviewed regularly with you to ensure it still meets your needs. Your leaving care support worker will take the lead in considering your safety and involve you in planning how to reduce the risks you face. 
 
Northumberland County Council has made some promises to all looked after children and young people. This is called ‘our promise’ and it sets out the help and support all looked after children will get, and what they should expect. For more information on Our Promise, click here.
Looking after your health is very important to you, and us.

We will ensure that you have support in all aspects of your health and we don’t just mean exercising and eating healthy foods but this is still important. When we talk about your health we also mean how you feel about yourself, managing your emotions and your mental health and supporting you to maintain good sexual health. We will do all we can to make sure you know where to go for the support you need.


We will support and encourage you to be healthy and provide you with support to achieve this. 

This includes: 
  • Providing you with a health passport as you reach 18 years - this is a summary of your health information and contains useful contact information for services you may need. 
  • Supporting you to register with health services and GPs and helping you attend health appointments. 
  • Helping you manage your emotional health - children and young people’s mental health service provide support until you are 18 years old, we also support you to access adult mental health services where appropriate or provide information on other relevant organisations. 

 

Usefull health and wellbeing links:

Health Services near me (inc doctor, dentist, optician, sexual health)
 
 
We understand that there are people who are important to you and who mean a great deal to you. We want to support you in re-establishing and maintaining these positive relationships with those who are important to you, as long as this is in your best interests.


 
  • We will give you the support you need to have contact with family and friends, including covering some travel costs where necessary if they live far away. 
  • We maintain a good relationship with you, ensuring face to face contact once a month as a minimum.
  • If you’re a parent we understand the support you need is unique, we will liaise closely with other agencies to ensure you feel supported in providing the best life for both yourself and your child. 
We know you take your future seriously, and so do we. That is why we will support you in whatever training or education you choose to take on. When we say we take you future seriously we mean that we will support you through an apprenticeship, through work based training, college or university. Your goals become our goals and we want to help you achieve them.

Make sure you discuss your goals and ambitions with your Leaving Care worker, and they can assist you in finding the right support whether that is taster days with your ideal employer, creating a great CV or preparing for your important interview.
  • You will be well supported in securing training opportunities, further and higher education as well as employment by a specialist member of the careers guidance team.
  • We liaise closely with educational providers to ensure that you are supported so you can meet your aspirations. 
  • If you study away from the county, we still want you to feel supported. We aim to visit you wherever you are based with the UK. 
  • We have high aspirations for care leavers and we encourage you all to meet whatever ambitions you have. 
In Northumberland there are a number of different options for you to consider when thinking about where to live, some with support and some without. We want you to be completely involved in the process of deciding what type of accommodation suits you best and where that should be. We will part of this process too, helping to consider your needs and level of independent living skills.

  • We will ensure that your views are listened to and considered throughout the process.
  • We will help you find somewhere safe and suitable to live. 
  • We can support you within your foster placement after 18 on a Staying Put arrangement if that is something you and your carers want 
  • Your accommodation should be somewhere safe, secure and right for you at the time. 
  • We aim to provide you with practical support, as you take this big step, helping you to move home and buy the basics you need to live comfortably. 
  • We understand that your needs change, so will support you with any problems that come up even once you're settled. 
Practical support is available to make sure you can build life skills including self-care, cooking, shopping, laundry and budgeting.

We will have a setting up for home allowance to provide you with the essential items for your home - for example; a washing machine, fridge, tv, tv license, bed, carpets, blinds, cutlery etc.  We also consider things like soft pictures and soft furnishings to make your home feel more like home, as long as you don’t need this money for other things. 
What do we offer support for:
  • Financial support 
  • Help accessing benefits and jobs, training
  • Support in budgeting for your furniture 
  • Food shopping
  • Gas & Electricity 
We want you to have all the chances in life that other young adults have and throughout your time with leaving care, we will encourage you to develop your interests and get involved in positive activities. People can participate in their community or in society in different ways and some people want to participate more than others. We will do our best to find opportunities for you to participate in something that interests you or develop your interests, which you can then pursue independently.

We  value your views and opinions therefore encourage you to engage with Voices Making Choices Care Leavers Group, Northumberland’s Children in Care Council. Your unique perspective as a care leaver helps shape the service and care you receive. Click here to find out more.
 
The Mind Of My Own app is a great way of making sure your voice and opinion are heard by the people you want to listen. Click here to set up your Mind Of My Own account.

 

Your leaving care support worker is the person who you will have most contact with, they will coordinate the help and support we agree with you in your Pathway Plan.

They will make sure your Pathway Plan is reviewed regularly with you to ensure it still meets your needs. Your leaving care support worker will take the lead in considering your safety and involve you in planning how to reduce the risks you face.
 
Your leaving care support worker is there to help you as you gain independence, they will: 
  • Supporting you to attend appointments and making sure you understand everything that is discussed
  • Help you to budget for bills, rent, food shopping and other necessities  
  • Support you to learn to drive and applying for your licence
 
We understand that living independently for the first time is a big step, you should feel supported in learning to look after a home for the first time.
You will hear a lot about your pathway plan, it is developed and used with you to ensure you are supported as you navigate the pathway to adulthood and independence.

Your leaving care support worker will take the lead on creating it, but they will involve you all the way, asking for your input to ensure the plan meets your needs. 
 
A great way to get your views heard as you develop the plan with your leaving care support worker is through the “Preparing for Adulthood” section of Mind Of My Own, your support worker can help you set up an account.
 
  • Your Pathway Plan is unique to you and sets out how we will help you achieve the things you want. 
  • We create the Pathway Plan together while you are still in care, around your 16th birthday and review it every six months to ensure it’s up-to-date. 
  • We always involve you in preparing and reviewing your Pathway Plan.
As a young person leaving care you have certain rights set out in relevant laws that we will support you with. We will always listen to you and take your views seriously.

We feel that it is important that you are able to understand these rights and how they affect you. Your support worker is a great place to start if you have any questions about specific rights for care leavers.
 
● You have a right to be involved in all decisions and plans for leaving care. 
 
● We will make sure that you can let us know how you feel about the service and support you receive. 
 
● Our Participation and Advocacy Team are on hand to help you challenge the care and support you’re provided by Northumberland County Council. (insert link to participation and advocacy page)
 
● You have a right to see the information your local authority has about you, including the files kept about you when you were in care. Click here for more information.
 
We recommend going through your leaving care support worker as they will be able to provide you with any support that you may need whilst going through this process as some people can find this experience difficult and emotionally challenging.
You will need various documents and forms of identification to do things like apply for housing, apply to college, claim benefits and open a bank account.



To make sure you have everything you need we will  support you with obtaining the following (if you have not already received these whilst you were looked after):
 
  • your national insurance number
  • your first passport;
  • your birth certificate;
  • a provisional driving licence if you need this for employment, education or training.
  • Bank Account 
  • Saving Fund 
We are happy to keep copies of these documents and keep these safe for you, however, at certain times you will need the original documents, for example, when you set up a bank account. Once we have given you your documents, it is your responsibility to keep them safe and if you lose them, you will have to pay for replacements. If you don’t have a safe place to store your documents speak to your leaving care case worker and we will look after them for you.
Other useful information

For more information on advocacy and complaints click here.

For more information on leaving care click here.

For more information regarding visiting Family/ Friends in prison click here.
 

Northumberland Adolescent Services - northumberlandadolescentservices@northumberland.gov.uk

Northumberland Adolescent Services: 
Email: 
northumberlandadolescentservices@northumberland.gov.uk
Call: 01670 536400

 

Advocacy Team: 
Emial: Advocacy@northumberland.gov.uk
Call: 07966332280