About the Care Leaver's Offer

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The Care Leaver's Offer is a guide to all the services for young people in Waltham Forest aged 16 to 24 who may be leaving care.

The Care Leaver’s Offer is our commitment to children in care and care leavers to do all we can to support you to successfully navigate your way to independence. To help achieve this, we’ve created these pages as your one-stop-shop for finding the information you need to understand your rights and the support that’s available. 

If you’re a care leaver, these pages give you information, advice and guidance on a range of topics.

If you’re a child in care, there’s lots of information here to help you prepare to leave care.

The information is organised by different themes and ages to help you find the right information for you. Contact details are included to help you get in touch with the right person if you need more help

We use the term ‘children in care’ to refer to children and young people that we have a responsibility to provide care for. 

Most children who are looked after by us are placed with foster carers. Some will live in residential homes and some may still live at home.

Our Corporate Parenting Service is the department responsible for this. We make sure every child in care between the ages of 0 and 18 years is allocated a dedicated social worker to ensure they’re properly cared for.

What does my social worker do?

If you’re aged between 0 and 18 and you’re in care, we’ll allocate a social worker to you. It’s their responsibility to plan the care that is provided to you. Your social worker will work closely with you and other important people in your life to ensure that you’re provided with a safe and supportive environment, which allows you to realise your full potential.

The plan for how to achieve this is all written up in your care plan.

What’s a care plan?

Your care plan is a written plan that explains how your care will be safe and help you realise your full potential. It’s written by your social worker with your input.

Your care plan will cover things like: what you need to be cared for properly, where you’ll go to school, and who you’ll see or have contact with. Your views will always be taken into consideration when the plan is written. You may not always get what you want, but if you don't, the reasons should always be carefully explained to you.

Your care plan is reviewed every six months at your looked-after children child review meeting. The review will look at whether the care plan still meets your needs or whether it needs to be changed or updated. 

Our pledge for children in care

To show our commitment to children in care, we recently signed our Pledge for Children in Care, where we promised to:

  • understand you as an individual
  • help you become independent and achieve your ambitions
  • keep you informed about what’s happening
  • help you feel safe and be safe
  • keep you healthy and living a healthy lifestyle
  • make sure you feel listened to and understood

The amount of support you get as a care leaver depends on your age and your circumstances. 

Support from us should be provided until you’re 21.

Once you’ve left care, we must:

  • keep your pathway plan under regular review
  • maintain your access to your leaving care coach
  • provide financial assistance to help with employment, training or education expenses, depending on your assessed needs
  • give you access to any files of information about you

What does the legislation say?

The responsibility that we have towards care leavers is set out in the statutory guidance and regulations called Planning Transitions to Adulthood for Care Leavers (PDF)

A social worker or leaving care coach can help you to understand these responsibilities and the support you can receive.

The amount of support you get as a care leaver depends on your age and your circumstances.  Support from your local authority should be provided until you are 21.

Support may continue beyond your 21st birthday.

The law says that up, to your 25th birthday, you can tell your council and ask for an assessment of your needs.

Once you've made a request for your case to be reopened. you can get support from us for education or training. We should carry out your assessment within 3 months of you asking for support. You may then get further support while you are on your course, this can include getting:

  • a leaving care coach 
  • a pathway plan
  • assistance, if your education or training needs require it
  • financial assistance, depending on the course and money you already have

What does the legislation say?

The responsibilities that we have towards you are set out in the statutory guidance and regulations called Planning Transitions to Adulthood for Care Leavers.

A social worker or leaving care coach from the local authority can help you to understand these responsibilities and the support you can receive.

Further help

These organisations can give you advice about your rights as a care leaver:

  • Children's Commissioner - Get confidential advice and information about your situation and an answer any questions you have.
  • Coram Voice - support for young people to uphold their rights and receive support they are entitled to.
  • Shelter - information and support about housing for care leavers.
  • Rees Care Leavers Foundation - support if you've been in foster care or residential care.
  • Become Charity - working to improve the everyday lives and future life chances of children in care and young care leavers.

Seeing files about you Click to get info

You have a right to see information that is written about you. This includes your Children’s Services files. Any request for information will normally be completed within 40 days.

You can request access to your files by emailing: information.officer@walthamforest.gov.uk.

This is your Care Leaver’s Offer and we want make sure that it works for you.

Please let us know if:

  • you've got any feedback on the current page
  • you think we need to add more information
  • you think we've completely missed some information out

You can contact us at VoiceandInfluence@walthamforest.gov.uk