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 a young person leaving care in Northumberland, or have left already, we haven’t stopped caring about you. Northumberland County Council are committed to supporting young people leaving care.

We have listened to what our care leavers have to say about what the council does for them, and what is important to them. The feedback they gave helped us create a core offer to care leavers. We will continue to listen to what you tell us, and will make sure the support we offer is the support you need.

What happens when a young person leaves care?

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

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. 

Contact us

Please contact us about leaving care using the following contact details:

Northumberland County Council are committed to supporting 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.

Who qualifies for care leavers support?

To be able to get the support this core offer describes, you need to have been in care for at least thirteen weeks between ages 14 and 16 (including your 16th birthday) or for 13 weeks after your sixteenth birthday. If you are not sure whether you have been in care during these times, please 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 help you in all areas of your life.

Your leaving care support worker is the person who you will have the most contact with. 
They will:

  • coordinate the help and support we agree with you in your Pathway Plan
  • make sure your Pathway Plan is reviewed regularly with you to ensure it still meets your needs
  • take the lead in considering your safety
  • involve you in planning how to reduce the risks you face

To find out more about Pathway Plans and how they help young people leaving care, please click here.

Our promise

Northumberland County Council has made some promises to all looked-after children and young people. This is called ‘Our Promise’. It outlines the help and support all looked-after children will get, and what they should expect. Please click here for more information on Our Promise.

Please click here for details on how to contact the Northumberland Care Leavers service.

Looking after your health when you leave care 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 - although this is still important.
When we talk about your health, we also mean:
  • how you feel about yourself
  • managing your emotions
  • mental health
  • good sexual health.
We will do all we can to make sure you know where to go for the support you need to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

We will:
  • provide you with a health passport when you reach 18 years of age; this is a summary of your health information and contains useful information for services you may need
  • support you to register with health services and GPs
  • help you attend health appointments
  • help you manage your emotional health - children and young people's mental health service provide support until you are 18 years old
  • help you access adult mental health services - where appropriate - or provide information on other relevant organisations

Health and wellbeing services

Please click on the links below for more useful health and wellbeing information:
We understand that there are people who are important to you. We want to support you in re-establishing and maintaining these positive relationships, 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
  • maintain a good relationship with you, ensuring face to face contact once a month as a minimum.

Parent and child leaving care

If you’re a parent, we understand that the support you need is unique. We will work closely with other agencies to make sure you feel supported in providing the best life for both you and your child. 
We know you take your future seriously, and so do we at the council. That is why we will support you in whatever training or education you choose to take on. We will support you through an apprenticeship, work based training, college, or university. Your goals become our goals, and we want to help you achieve them.



You should discuss your goals and ambitions with your leaving care worker. They can assist you in finding the right support, whether that is taster days with an employer, creating a great CV, or preparing for a job interview.

We will:

  • support you to secure training opportunities, further and higher education, and employment. You will be supported by a specialist member of the careers guidance team
  • work closely with educational providers to make sure you are supported to meet your aspirations
  • aim to visit young people who study away
  • have high aspirations for care leavers and encourage you to meet all of your ambitions, whatever they are.
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 involved in the process of deciding what type of accommodation suits you best, and where that should be. We will help you consider your needs and level of independent living skills.



We will:
  • Ensure that your views are listened to and considered throughout the process
  • Help you find somewhere safe and suitable to live 
  • Support you within your foster placement after you reach 18 years of age on a Staying Put arrangement, if that is something you and your carers want. Please click here to find out more about Staying Put.
  • Provide you with practical support, such as helping you to move home and buy the basics you need to live comfortably
  • Understand that your needs change and support you through any problems that arise, even once you’re settled.
Your accommodation should be safe, secure, and right for you.
Practical support is available for young people leaving care in Northumberland. This can help you build life skills, including self-care, cooking, shopping, laundry, and budgeting.

We have a 'setting up for home' allowance. This provides you with essential items for your home. For example, a washing machine, fridge, tv, tv license, a bed, carpets, blinds, cutlery, and more.

We also consider things such as soft pictures and furnishings to make your new accommodation feel more like home. Money will be provided for this, as long as you don't need this money for other things. 

We offer:
  • financial support
  • help accessing benefits, jobs, and training
  • support in budgeting for your future
  • support with food shopping
  • support with gas and electricity.
We want you to have all the chances in life that other young adults have. 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 and society in different ways. 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. If you can't think of an interest you currently have, we will help to develop your interests.
 

Voice Making Choices (VMC)

We value your views and opinions. Voices Making Choices Care Leavers Group is Northumberland’s Children in Care Council. We encourage you to get involved with VMC as a way of participating in society. Your unique perspective as a care leaver helps shape the service and care you receive.
Please click here to find out more about the Voices Making Choices care council.
 

Mind of My Own

The Mind Of My Own (MOMO) app is a great way of making sure your voice and opinion are heard, by the people you want to listen.
Please click here to find out more and set up your Mind Of My Own account.
Your leaving care support worker is the person that young people leaving care have the most contact with. They will coordinate the help and support we agree with you in your Pathway Plan.

To find out more about Pathway Plans and how they help young people leaving care, please click here.

Your leaving care support worker will provide practical support to help you gain independence. 

They will:
  • support you to attend appointments and make 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 help you apply for your license
  • take the lead in considering your safety, and involve you in planning how to reduce the risks you face
  • review your Pathway Plan regularly with you, to ensure it still meets your needs

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 as you are leaving care. It is a plan created and used with you, to make sure you are supported as you navigate the pathway to adulthood and independence.

Creating your Pathway Plan

Your leaving care support worker will take the lead on creating it, but they will involve you all the way. They will ask for your input to ensure the plan meets your needs. 

Your support worker will make sure the Pathway Plan is reviewed regularly with you, to ensure it continues to meet 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.

Please click here to visit the Mind of My Own website.


Key features of the Pathway Plan

The Pathway Plan is:
  • unique to you
  • explains how we will help you achieve the things you want
  • created by you and the leaving care team while you are still in care, around your sixteenth birthday
  • reviewed every six months so that is always up to date
PLEASE NOTE: We will always involve you in preparing and reviewing your Pathway Plan.
Young people leaving care in Northumberland have certain rights set out in relevant laws. We will support you with these rights, always listen to you, and take your views seriously.

We feel it is important that you are able to understand these rights and how they affect you. Your leaving care support worker is a great place to start if you have any questions about specific rights for care leavers.

Your rights and how we can help

PLEASE NOTE: we recommend that you involve your support worker to help you access your files. This process can be difficult and emotionally challenging for some young people.
 
Young people leaving care will need various documents and forms of identification to do certain things, such as: applying for housing, applying to college, claiming benefits, and opening a bank account.



To make sure you have everything you need, if you have not already recieved these whilst in care, we will support you in getting the following:
  • your national insurance (NI) 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 them 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. 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.
Please contact us about the leaving care service/local offer using the following contact details:

Northumberland Adolescent Services: 

 

Advocacy team: