Leaving care

Who qualifies as a Care Leaver?

To be eligible to receive the support form Newham’s Leaving Care Service you must have been:

  • in care for at least 13 weeks between the ages of 14 and 16 (including your 16th birthday)
  • in care for 13 weeks after your 16th birthday
  • in care prior to becoming subject to a special guardianship order (SGO)
  • privately fostered

Leaving Care COVID-19 Information

Due to the ongoing issues with COVID-19, the Newham Leaving Care Service are putting plans in place to ensure we can continue to provide you with a service.  Below are links to the government and NHS websites relating to the virus and we would urge you to be as informed as possible.  Please speak to your allocated worker about any concerns you have.

GOV - coronavirus (COVID-19) goverment response

NHS - coronavirus (COVID-19)

Below is also a document setting out details of other agencies in Newham that may be able to offer you assistance.

Overview of services in Newham

Corporate Parenting Principles

Corporate Parenting is the term for the responsibility that the whole of Newham Council has for children and young people who are in care. It means we have the same hopes, wishes and aspirations for you that we would for our own children. We want you to have access to the same opportunities and life chances that any other child or young person in our borough would – being in care should not be a barrier to you fulfilling your potential.

 

We have a set of principles to frame our relationship with you[1] – principles we return to time and again to ensure that we are doing our very best as your corporate parent. These principles are as follows:

 

  • To act in your best interests, and promote the physical and mental health and well-being, of all care leavers

 

  • To encourage every care leaver to express their views, wishes and feelings

 

  • To take into account the views, wishes and feelings of every care leaver

 

  • To help care leavers gain access to, and make the best use of, services provided by the local authority and its relevant partners

 

  • To promote high aspirations, and seek to secure the best outcomes, for care leavers

 

  • For care leavers to be safe, with stability in their home lives, relationships and education or work

 

  • To prepare care leavers for adulthood and independent living

 

We promise to do our best to keep you at the HEART of everything we do, by involving you in decisions that affect your life and by ensuring that workers in your life support you to maximise your potential. Read more about our pledge to children in care and care leavers here.


[1] Corporate Parenting Principles – Section 1, Children and Social Work Act 2017

Duties to support care leavers up until the age of 25

If you are a care leaver aged 21-24 and have a current allocated personal adviser you can now request support from the Leaving Care Service up to the age of 25 if there is a need.

If you don’t have a Personal Adviser already you can contact the duty service on 020 3373 3617 or 020 3373 3618. A Personal Adviser will then arrange to meet with you to complete a post 21 assessment of your support needs - this support could be from the Leaving Care Service or you maybe signposted to other services.

This Local Offer sets out what you, as a Care Leaver, can expect from the Leaving Care Service in Newham.

While the Children and Social Work Act 2017 says we have to publish information about the services we provide for you, our published Local Offer goes beyond that legal requirement and is a more comprehensive document; providing a detailed overview of exactly what we offer and how we will deliver it, alongside additional information about services for care leavers provided by other agencies.

We hope our approach will help us to identify and promote what is working well in your life, explore any concerns that you may have and help us to plan together (and in partnership with other professionals) for your future.

Who are we and how can you contact us?

Our Leaving Care Service will be your first point of contact point many of your needs. You will meet your Personal Adviser or Social Worker from this team before you are 18 and they will continue to work with you after your 18th birthday.

We are committed to ensuring that as a care leaver you are able to make contact with someone at all times.

In addition to this, we have two fixed duty phone lines and one mobile phone line to be used if you are unable to contact your allocated worker. The phone numbers are below:

Leaving care duty numbers

Tel: 020 3373 3617

Tel: 020 3373 3618

Mob: 07970 033967

If your enquiry is urgent and out of hours you may wish to contact the Emergency Duty Team on 0208 430 2000.

Where can you find us?

The Newham Leaving Care Service is split between two council buildings and care leavers are welcome to visit both buildings to meet with their allocated worker:

Newham Dockside, 1000 Dockside Road, London, E16 2QU

Nearest station – Royal Albert DLR

Currently the majority of staff use this building at least some of the week. Care Leavers are welcome to make arrangements to meet with their allocated worker at this building; there is a canteen and coffee shop as well as a spacious atrium.

Beckton Road, 5 Beckton Road, London, E16 4DE

Nearest Station – Canning Town

Two duty staff are based at the Beckton Road office. There are meeting rooms that can be booked at this office and a duty manager is always contactable if required.

How will we keep in touch with you?

Overview

If you’re a Child in Care, by the time you reach the age of 17, the Leaving Care Service will have matched a Personal Adviser or Leaving Care Social Worker to you. Your allocated worker (the lead person responsible for supporting you) remains your Children in Care social worker until you reach adulthood. However, your Personal Adviser will meet with you, so you know who they are.

 

Contact

The frequency and nature of contact with your allocated worker depends on your age:

Age 16 / 17

  • Visit once a month, or more often if you need additional support
  • Children in Care Reviews
  • Emphasis on Social Worker contacting you to offer support
  • Professionals involved:
    • Social Worker
    • Personal Adviser
    • Foster Carer and their Supervising Social Worker or key worker in your care setting
    • Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO)

 

Age 18-25

  • Visit once every two months, or more often if you need additional support
  • Greater emphasis on you contacting your Personal Adviser to seek support
  • Professionals involved:
    • Personal Adviser
    • Former foster carer (if you are in a “staying put” arrangement)
    • Support worker (if you are supported accommodation)

 

These are the minimum standards. If we were worried that you were at risk, or if you needed more support for a period of time, then we’d want to see you more often.

 

Children in Care Reviews and the Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO)

You will have been allocated an Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO) when you first became looked after. This IRO may have changed over time, but you will have IRO involvement until you turn 18.

 

The IRO’s role is as follows:

  • To chair Children in Care Reviews (more on these below)
  • To check the work being done by all professionals involved with you is good and ensure it all comes together effectively
  • To be an independent person you can turn to when you have worries

 

A Review is held every six months until you reach the age of 18. The purpose of the Review is:

  • To give you a chance to privately discuss things with the IRO
  • To give the foster carer or a keyworker in your care setting a chance to give feedback on how you are doing
  • To offer an opportunity for the IRO to check all ongoing work with you relating to the key areas in your life (e.g. health, education, preparation for leaving care, etc.)
  • To agree actions between everyone to better or further support you

 

Your Personal Adviser will attend the last two Children in Care Reviews before you turn 18 and explain the process of you becoming supported by the Leaving Care team; they will also give you their mobile and email, and their manager’s contact details too.

 

Where do we meet up?

Before turning 18, your social worker is most likely to visit you where you are living although they can meet you elsewhere as well. After you are 18, your Personal Adviser will meet you wherever you’re both happy to meet – at your home, in the office (The Cove when it opens), in a café, or elsewhere. It may be that your Personal Adviser wishes to visit your house for a particular reason – perhaps he/she wishes to see how you are managing with living independently, or maybe he/she has safety concerns – and it is expected that you will welcome them into your home unless there is a very good reason not to.

 

How will we keep in touch?

Your Personal Adviser is required, by law, to see you at least once every two months (unless you expressly refuse to meet up with them). But between visits, we will also keep in touch with you through other means - by text, mobile, email, WhatsApp, Skype, Zoom or a similar application, depending on what works best for you. Social media that can be seen by others is not acceptable.

What services are available?

What services are available?

This Local Offer explains in detail exactly what support and services are available to care leavers in Newham but, as a brief overview, young people who are eligible, relevant or former relevant can expect the following:

  • Personal Adviser or Social Worker
  • Needs Assessment
  • Pathway Plan
  • General advice and assistance
  • A variety of other entitlements relating to specific  areas such as housing or education (to be covered under 'What support is there for education and training?')

What is a Personal Adviser?

A Personal Adviser is, in many ways, very similar to a Social Worker. They will befriend you, provide advice and guidance, and support you more intensely where you need it (for example, if you wish to get into education or have a particular issue that worries you). The key thing to note with a Personal Adviser is that we also rely on you to say when you need support.

Pathway Plan

A Pathway Plan is a document outlining how you and your Personal Adviser will jointly respond to your needs and help you develop into an independent adult. Its biggest aim is to ensure there is an ongoing conversation about how you can move forward in your life.

A Pathway Plan will cover all your key issues (i.e. health, education, housing, money, etc.) and is as an opportunity for you and your Personal Adviser to set out what you want to achieve and how we can help you achieve it. For each issue, a goal or action will be agreed with you.

Each goal or action in a Pathway Plan will be purposeful, planned and focused, so that is:

  • Specific: clear about what needs to be done
  • Measurable: clear about how we will know when it has been achieved
  • Achievable: clear about who is going to do what
  • Realistic: so that we can ensure there is a good chance of achieving it
  • Time-constrained: so that we know when it should be completed

Each part of your plan will also take account of your strengths, allowing you to use and build upon them, with necessary support brought in where you need it. Once your Pathway Plan is written up, you will have an opportunity to read, comment on it and sign it – so long as you agree to its content – at which point it becomes a legally binding document.

Your Pathway Plan will be reviewed at least once every six months, though it can be reviewed sooner should you wish or if your circumstances change.

You may be wondering why you should bother with a Pathway Plan. We believe having a plan will help you focus on achieving the things you want to be happy and successful, and recognise what support you need to be in place to help you get there. We will use a variety of tools to help you think about where you are at now and what you need to do get where you’d like to be.

The Cove

We are looking forward to being able to welcome you to The Cove in the summer of 2022. This will be a centre for young people leaving care, designed by young people leaving care, where you will be able to meet with your Personal Advisor, enjoy a range of activities or just relax and enjoy the facilities.

The Cove will provide flexible space for you to meet with other care leavers, your allocated worker and other professionals as well as:

  • A place to work with Wi-Fi connections
  • A place to relax catching up with films or video games
  • A place to learn about a variety of the challenges that you may be experiencing (including cooking)
  • A place to eat
  • A place for you to develop…

Duty System

It is usually best if you are able to talk with your allocated worker. Where you are unable to contact your allocated worker and need urgent help, the Leaving Care Service has a ‘duty’ system to support you.

All you need to do is come to the duty office any weekday between 9am and 5pm, and you will be able to speak with someone. You will not have to wait any longer than an hour, though you will only be seen if the matter is urgent. Alternatively, you can speak to a duty worker by phoning the office on 07970 033967 / 020 3373 3617 / 020 3373 3618 and asking for them.

The Duty System is currently at 5 Beckton Road, London, E16 4DE and will be moving to The Cove (455 Barking Road, London E16 4DE) when it opens in summer 2022.

Who else can I contact for support?

On the right hand side of this page is a link to an 'Overview of Services in Newham' document that gives a list of names and contact details for a large number of partner agencies, charities and organisations that you may wish to contact for further support and guidance.

How can I prepare for independent living?

Overview

As a 16 or 17-year-old, you will be building your life skills in preparation for adulthood. Before turning 18, there is a lot of support available to you from a number of people both inside and outside the Council – linked and not linked to Children’s Social Care. The goal is to help you find your own independence. But what is ‘independence’ and how do you achieve it?

Independence suggests the freedom to support yourself, but we all need help, sometimes even as adults. We aim to ensure you are well equipped to tackle the demands, challenges and responsibility that come with becoming an adult. These demands can range from practical things like being able to manage and pay utility bills, all the way through to securing the job or career you hope for.

 

Who’s available to provide support?

There are a number of people potentially available to support you, depending on your circumstances.

Although not an exhaustive list, you may expect to receive support from any of the following:

  • Foster Carer or Keyworker
  • Social Worker
  • Personal Adviser
  • Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO)
  • LAC Nurse
  • Independent Visitor (IV)
  • Support Worker
  • Virtual School (please see Education and Training for further details)
  • Advocate
  • Emotional Health and Wellbeing Specialist Nurse

Your own unique circumstances will shape exactly who is available for you – for example, a 17-year-old in semi-independent accommodation will not have a current foster carer. The Social Worker and IRO stop formally working with you when you reach the age of 18, but a care leaver who has a particularly strong relationship with their foster carer may very well keep in touch or ‘stay put’ (see Home for further details). Your Social Worker may also remain involved for a time after you turn 18, too.

 

Money House

One offer of support that we will encourage you take up as part of your journey towards independence is the Money House course from MyBnk. The simulated living experience helps young people live independently through better money management. Some Care Leavers will have had the opportunity to complete this course before they turned 18. If it has been more than two years since you did the course, your Personal Advisor will go through it again with you. You can read more on the MyBnk website.

 

Independent Visitor (IV) Service

The Independent Visitor (IV) Service recruits, trains and manages volunteers who meet with individually to build a supportive friendship. IVs give Children in Care a chance to have fun and take a break from their daily lives with someone who is just there for them, and to model positive behaviours. They can also offer a form of continuity – with many matches lasting years – that can’t always be offered by professionals and carers in social care.

IVs might travel with young people for cinema trips, go cycling in the park, enjoy days out, go for an ice cream or a burger, or any other activity – but they’re really there to listen, to chat, to reflect and to care. They might meet a child in Newham or further afield. If you’re 16 or 17, an IV is really worth considering.

Your Personal Advisor or Social Worker will be able to put you in touch with the IV Service if you think that it is something for you - – please note this service is only for individuals up to 18 years old.

 

Advocacy Service

Newham Children’s Rights Advocacy Service provides independent advice and support to Children in Care and Care Leavers up to the age of 25. They also offer advocacy services to children on Child Protection Plans (ages 10-16) and young people ages 16/17 who are in need of accommodation.

The advocate can support you in ensuring that your wishes and feelings are properly taken into account when decisions are being made that will affect your life.

The service provides one-to-one sessions with an advocate who will:

  • Help you sort out problems in ways that are suitable for you
  • Listen carefully to you, help you understand your rights and enable you to participate in decision making
  • Ensure your rights are respected and you are treated fairly
  • Help you get your views and feelings across.
  • Give you a voice in decisions that affect your life
  • Support you to make a complaint
  • Speak up on your behalf at meetings, reviews, conferences and assessments

 

You can contact the Advocacy Service by email at childrensrights@newham.gov.uk or ring them on:

Landline:               0203 373 1502

Mobile:                  07909906954

Free phone:          0800 0131 650

Is there a special offer for young people with special educational needs?

The Council publishes a Local Offer for children and young people with Special Educational Needs or Disabilities (SEND). The SEN local offer website provides a wealth of information about local services and opportunities for young people with special educational needs and disabilities. If you have any special or additional needs or require support in accessing employment or training, it is worth a look.

Can I get help looking after my health and staying safe?

Overview

We offer a range of support for your health and wellbeing. Some is offered at a ‘local’ level by Personal Advisers, and the council also has a number of healthy living schemes, as well as links with a number of local organisations. You can find a complete directory of services available in the borough on the Newham Health Services website.

Health Passports

We are keen for all Care Leavers to be able to access a copy of their health records at any time. The Looked After Child (LAC) nurse service works to provide all care experienced young people with a copy of a Leaving Care Health Passport, along with personalised health history information at the age of 16.

However there are also other ways that you can access your health records and health history:

  1. GP online services  - to access your health records on information about your medication, allergies, vaccinations, previous illnesses and test results, hospital discharge summaries, appointment letters and referral letters.
  2. NHS app - that can be downloaded to a smart phone or tablet. It lets you book GP appointments, order repeat prescriptions and access a range of other healthcare services. 

 

Personal Adviser Support

Every care leaver will have different health support needs and it will be for you to ask your Personal Adviser for help where you need it.

There are some key things you might want to consider asking your Personal Adviser to help you with:

  • Registering with a GP, dentist and optician if you have not done so already or if you have moved to a new area. You have the right to choose your primary healthcare providers and cannot legally be refused treatment based on any outstanding application for leave to remain in the UK. To check for your nearest health service go to the NHS Service Search tool.
  • Signposting to appropriate services for your physical, mental and sexual health
  • Attending hospital appointments with you for non-routine health concerns
  • Visiting you if you are admitted to hospital
  • Advising you on healthy living, from safe sex to eating  a balanced diet
  • Leisure and Fitness passes for Newham facilities

 

Team of Specialist Doctors and Nurses

Our team of Specialist Doctors and Nurses are here to support you until you turn 18. The team are responsible for several things, including booking you in for your initial and annual health assessment and sometimes even travelling out of the borough to visit you if there is an urgent need (this is discretionary though). 

Shortly before you turn 18, the LAC Nurse will put together a Health Summary, detailing all the major events in your life relating to your physical and mental health, as well as other important information for you, such as: 

  • NHS number 
  • A summary of your health assessments, whilst you were in care 
  • Your immunisation history  
  • Your birth and early years history, if available  

After putting together the Health Summary, the nurse will contact you to discuss how it should be sent to you, or it may be shared with you at your final Review Health Assessment. This Health Summary document is important and should be kept safe for future reference and information.  

 

Health Improvement Practitioner for Unaccompanied Asylum Seeker Children (UASCs) 

We have a Practitioner for UASCs to help them and their foster carers access all the necessary appointments they need to attend, e.g. GP, blood tests, dentist and opticians. 

After you turn 18, you can ask your PA to put you in contact with our Emotional and Health and Wellbeing Specialist Nurse if you have any emotional concerns. 

 

Emotional, Health and Wellbeing Nurse (18yr-25yr) 

Our Emotional, Health and Wellbeing Nurse is there to support in the transition planning for our Care Leavers who need specific input for their emotional health and wellbeing needs. You can ask your PA or SW to refer you to the Nurse, who will arrange an introductory call to plan what is your preferred method of contact and to explore how you are feeling.   

 

Newham University Hospital

Newham University Hospital provides a full range of services to the local community. The hospital can be contacted 24-hours a day on

020 7476 4000. It can be found at Glen Road, Plaistow, London E13 8SL.

Mental Health Services

We are experienced in supporting care leavers with a very wide range of diagnosed mental health conditions and also have an experienced Emotional Well-being Nurse for care leavers.

East London Foundation Trust (ELFT) provides a wide range of community and inpatient services to children, young people, adults of working age, older adults and forensic services to Newham residents. All you need is to be registered with a GP in Newham and at least 18 years old. You can self-refer or ask your GP to do it for you and a member of the service will contact you to make an initial phone appointment.

 

Sexual Health Services

We encourage you to be smart about sex and your Personal Adviser will discuss this issue with you in a non-judgemental way.  As with any other health matter, your Personal Adviser will be supportive of you and happy to offer their advice and to talk to you about your relationships more broadly.

Sexual health services in Newham are provided by All East, their services include:

  • Tests for sexually transmitted infections with fast results - sometimes while you wait
  • Sexual health check-ups
  • Free contraception

At most of the centres, you can just walk in – no appointment required. Or if you prefer, you can reserve a slot online at their website, this will save you time on the day. Remember: if you’re having sex, always be prepared.

 

Drugs and Alcohol

We encourage you to be smart about drugs and alcohol, and your Personal Adviser will discuss this as well in a non- judgemental way. If you ever have issues along these lines, we will encourage you to get the help you need. We value your health and hope you would too.

Newham Rise, run by CGL, is an open access specialist support service for any resident concerned about their own substance misuse, as well as for those who support others with drug and alcohol issues. If you’re willing to put in the hard work to make changes, there will always be someone to help and guide you.

 

Healthy Eating and Living

Your Personal Adviser will talk to you about shopping for a balanced diet, ensuring you’re getting enough fruit and veg and the importance of not eating takeaways every night. We know Newham has a lot of takeaways, but it also has great local markets, where you can pick up good fresh food. The NHS Eat Well site is worth a look, it’s part of the Live Well pages which provide links to local services.

To help you stay healthy, you will have access to a free pass to Newham’s leisure centres.

For COVID-19 info, please scroll to the top of the page. 

Is there any support finding housing?

Overview

We will start talking to you about your accommodation options soon after you turn 16 and will work with you to help you find somewhere suitable to live. Housing in Newham is hard to come by and can be very expensive. The shortage of ‘council houses’ and ‘council flats’ (sometimes called social housing), means care leavers may rent privately for a number of years. We help care leavers by finding landlords willing to provide accommodation for care leavers without the need for lots of up-front costs such as deposits or advance rent. This may also include accommodation for young people with No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF). Our Housing Department also makes available a number of permanent tenancies in social housing each year.

In addition, supported accommodation, which may have support staff on-site or on-call, is available to young people who have a higher level of need.

Children in Care aged 16 or 17 will have foster care and semi-independent homes available to them. The  Staying Put scheme is available to young people who wish to remain with their foster carers after turning 18, and the Lodgings Scheme to young people who need a different family to live with.

When you turn 18 and you still require social care support (and meet the thresholds for this), adult social care they will take the lead in supporting you.  You will continue to receive support from the leaving care service though, and we will work alongside adult services to support you. Your referral to adult social care will be done by a social worker or PA, so you will not need to do anything in order to be referred

A full accommodation policy can be made available to you for more details about your specific eligibility.

 

Foster Home

The most common form of accommodation for looked after 16 and 17-year-olds in Newham is foster care. The support of a foster carer is vital to ensuring you are ready for adulthood, while the foster home itself can be treated as a ‘practice arena’ for tackling issues as an, such as budgeting; shopping for the right kinds of food; learning to prepare meals, and understanding and responding to letters and documents (e.g. utility bills, tenancy agreement, etc.). The support of an experienced foster carer can help you to make a successful start to your adult life.

 

Semi-independent Accommodation

We believe that foster care is the best place for 16 and 17-year-olds but for those who cannot live in foster care, a semi-independent home monitored by Newham Council offers an opportunity to live independently with other young people under the same roof. We work with several semi-independent providers to ensure that young people who are ready for this step will be given the opportunity to try it.

 

Staying Put

If you and your foster carer agree, you may choose to remain with your foster carer up to the age of 21. ‘Staying Put’ can be long of short-term and is worth considering  if you are not yet ready, or do not want, to leave what has become your home. For example, if you had a year left on your college course and intended to go to university, you, your Social Worker and your foster carer might consider Staying Put as your first choice so as not to disrupt your learning. If you have a physical or learning disability and can receive services under the Care Act 2014, your foster carers could become Shared Lives carers, with no time limit.

 

Supported Lodgings Scheme

Our Supported Lodgings Scheme provides the opportunity to live in a family home after your 18th birthday. Families offering a place through the Lodgings Scheme are not former foster carers or people that you already know. You will have your own room and use of the shared facilities in the house. Your host family will be there to offer you support if you need it but you will be responsible for looking after yourself from day-to-day, doing your own shopping, washing and cleaning.

 

Supported Accommodation

Supported accommodation is housing where there is some type of built in support (either on-site or visiting) and is usually shared with other young people. You might be offered supported accommodation if you don’t yet feel confident living independently but were unable to enter into a Staying Put, Supported Lodgings or Shared Lives arrangement. Alternatively, we might be worried that you are at risk of exploitation or substance misuse and feel you would benefit from a higher level of support. All of the supported accommodation that the Council uses is located within the borough of Newham.

 

Independent Accommodation

If you do not stay with your foster carer or move into the lodgings scheme – and you do not need the additional support provided through supported accommodation – we will help you find accommodation in a shared house where you will have some responsibility for looking after yourself. When you are ready to do so, we will help you to move into your own accommodation. We will complete an independence living skills and needs assessment with you to help to decide when to do this. Whatever sort of accommodation you are living in, you will have to abide by the rules set out in your tenancy agreement.

A tenancy agreement is a legal contract between you and a landlord stating what your rights are and what your landlord’s rights are. There are different types of tenancy agreement, the most common being  an assured short hold tenancy (AST) where your deposit is protected under a government-approved tenancy deposit scheme and, at the end of the initial tenancy period (as stated on the agreement), the tenancy will continue unless you or the landlord choose otherwise. Alternatively, you may have a licence agreement, which is very specific about a (usually) short period of time you can live in a property. Generally speaking, licence agreements give you fewer rights, so be careful.

You will have to sign and maintain your tenancy agreement or licence, but should make sure you read it thoroughly[SB3]  first to be certain you are comfortable with it. You will also be expected to pay rent on the property regularly and on time and will be able to access your leaving care grant to furnish it (again, please see Money for further details). Your Personal Adviser will make sure that you have the things you need when you first move in.

Accommodation will also be found by us for young people with No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF), though there are some key differences with how this property will be handled.

Support to find independent private rented accommodation does not stretch to 22, 23 and 24-year-olds, who will instead have to access Newham’s Homelessness Prevention and Advice Service (HPAS). You can also approach the Council for support with a deposit or rent in advance (please see Money for further details).

 

Council Houses and Council Flats

We – in Newham – cannot guarantee you a council property. You should be prepared to rent privately, and we will give you support in doing this. We will also support you to apply for a place on the special housing scheme through which the council gives priority to care leavers. If you are not allocated a property through that scheme, we will help you to apply for a place on the Housing Register. If you live outside Newham, we will explore whether living in a council house or flat where you live is a possibility and help you to apply.

 

Vacation Accommodation

We will offer accommodation to care leavers who are university students during the extended holiday periods (Christmas and summer) if they have nowhere else to live. If you are at university and your accommodation is not year-round, you will be entitled to support from us. Alternatively, if you find somewhere yourself for the holiday you could be given up to £400 per month as a contribution towards your rent. Other care leavers may be able to make arrangements with family members or friends, and will not need this support. This applies to care leavers at university who are qualifying, as well as those who are former relevant and applies throughout the time you are studying for your first degree, up until you are 25 years old.

 

Release from Custody

If you are in custody – be it a prison or a young offender institution (YOI) – we will make plans with you for where you will live once you are released, so long as you are under 21 and still entitled to a Leaving Care Service. We’ll begin by liaising with Offender Management Services in your prison who will update us on your release date. Your Personal Adviser will talk to you about the options available and help you to find somewhere to live. We will take into account the fact that there may be areas in which you may not be safe. Depending upon your age and circumstances, you may need to approach Homelessness Prevention and Advice Service (HPAS), see above.

If you were not receiving a service from us when you went into custody but are still under 25 when released, you will need to contact us to ask for support if you need somewhere to live. A post-21 assessment will be to be undertaken to consider what support is required and we will help you to contact HPAS.

 

Homelessness

Support if you’re homeless or need emergency accommodation differs depending on your age. If you are looked after and aged 16 or 17 (or you are 16 or 17 and a relevant care leaver), we will find appropriate accommodation for you in an emergency foster placement or semi-independent accommodation. You should talk to your social worker as soon as you can.

If you are aged 18 to 21 and had been living in accommodation arranged for you by the leaving care service (Staying Put, Supported Accommodation) and become homeless, you should contact your personal advisor or social worker or contact the leaving care duty service if they are not available. If you were living in your own accommodation previously (privately rented) then you should contact the Homelessness Prevention and Advice Service (HPAS) as soon as you can or by alerting your Personal Advisor.

If you have already had your 21st birthday, then you should contact HPAS immediately.

 

Out of Hours Support

If you find yourself homeless outside of office working hours (9am- 5pm / Monday to Friday), or in need of emergency support that cannot wait until the next working day, you can ring our Emergency Duty Service on 020 8430 2000 and ask for the duty social worker. This is for emergencies only and you must make contact with your Personal Adviser as soon as possible to advise them of your situation and follow the homelessness procedure (see above).

Can I get support with money?

Overview

We take our financial responsibilities to you seriously and do our best to make sure you do not have to go to bed each night wondering where your next meal is coming from because your bank account is empty. Financial support does not mean we pay you money every week; it describes a range of ways in which Personal Advisers and other Council employees are expected to help you get your money situation looking healthy.

 

Financial Entitlements

This is what you can expect to receive from the leaving care service. A full financial policy can be made available to you for more details about your specific eligibility:

 

  • Five weekly payments upon turning 18 of up to £60 (£240 in total) to help you out until your benefit or salary payments commence
  • If you are unable to claim benefits (i.e. have no recourse to public funds), we will provide financial support until the first of these occurs:
    • you get Leave to Remain (LTR) and access to benefits
    • you have no other rights to apply (Appeal Rights Exhausted)
    • you reach the age of 21
    • If you have not got LTR by the time that you are 21, we will refer you to the National Asylum Support Service (NASS) for financial support
  • A Leaving Care Grant of up to £2,000 to be used for furnishing your first home (and we will help you out with some of the essentials like a fridge and a cooker if you need them)
  • A Higher Education Bursary (HEB) of £2,000, usually paid in instalments of £666.67 over the three academic years of university until the age of 25 (you will not receive the bursary after your 25th birthday), linked to proof of attendance[1]
  • If you are in higher education, assistance with the costs of accommodation during the three long holiday periods until the age of 25
  • Support to make an application to Student Finance England for tuition and maintenance loans
  • No Council Tax to pay up to age 25 if you are living in Newham or outside of the borough and have a council tax liability
  • Expenses linked with accessing and remaining in education, employment or training (for example, the cost of a suit for an interview)
  • Support to open a bank account if you’ve not already done so
  • Support to get a National Insurance (NI) number, which you will need for any benefit applications and work
  • A financial gift on your 21st birthday 

 

Budgeting

Budgeting is a vital life skill. You can expect advice from your Personal Adviser on how best to use your money, and how to make sure you’re getting all the money you’re entitled to. This support will be ongoing, but will be more focused in times of crisis. You will have a Financial Assessment to look carefully at what is going on with your money – this is how it works:

  • Assess: firstly, we work out all your regular income and outgoings with you
  • Analyse: secondly, you and your Personal Adviser will work out where the problem areas are and decide what needs to change
  • Amend: finally, the Personal Adviser will help you ‘maximise your income’ (e.g. looking at whether there are any extra benefits you can claim, or whether there are any bursaries for which you are eligible) and you will start to make changes to your spending habits
  • If you are attending university, you will have to make sure you budget to live on your student loan / grant for a 12-month period, including your rent

 

 

Income Maximisation

Income maximisation is the term we use when we talk about helping you get all the money you’re entitled to. Your financial entitlements will depend on a few things, including your legal status, your age and whether you’re a student, working or neither of these. Some of the support that may be offered to you includes:

  • Benefits: Together with your Personal Adviser, you can see what you might be entitled to at advice and support on benefits
  • “Our Newham Money” offer support to Newham residents with all things related to money and  can ensure you are getting the benefits you are entitled to
  • Bursaries: there are a wide range of bursaries which you may be entitled to, including the 16 to 19 Bursary Fund, which can be accessed while you’re at college. We will also consider other bursary or grant options, such as Buttle UK or the Jack Petchey Foundation
  • Ongoing Support: in exceptional cases, we might consider offering you temporary financial support – usually when we are worried about your immediate safety (please read on for specifics)

 

Leaving Care Discretionary Payments

We don’t generally make any ongoing payment to care leavers with recourse to public funds – as it is expected that if you are not earning you will be accessing benefits (Universal Credit in Newham) to support yourself. In exceptional circumstances where we think you may need some help, we will consider the following:

  • Are there genuine safeguarding concerns, and would you be at immediate risk if you did not receive financial support?
  • Is there a purposeful plan in place (ideally reflected in a Pathway Plan) of how you and your Personal Adviser will try to overcome your current money issues?
  • Have you provided a bank statement to confirm you have nothing in your account?
  • If your Universal Credit payment has stopped, have you tried to fix the issue and/or access an Advance Payment from your local Jobcentre?

 

If we decide to help you, you will be offered one or more of the following:

  • Food vouchers
  • Food bag and toiletries
  • Referral to a food bank
  • Direct payment to your bank account
  • Top up your meter
  • Oyster card or top-up

 

Your request will be entered into your Pathway Plan as well, so there is a record. More importantly, there will be a discussion within your Plan of your money situation, and how we can work together to improve it.

 

If we do offer to pay money to your bank account, you will not usually receive the payment immediately; it will take at least a week to come through and your Personal Adviser will be unable to change that.

 

Savings

Looked After Children Savings, Child Trust Fund and Junior ISA

You may be able to access three different types of savings depending on the length of time you have been in care and how much your carers saved for you.

 

  • Looked After Children Savings are savings your care providers (foster carer, residential home etc.) would have made for you and should have been returned to Newham Council when you left their care, so they can be paid to you when you turn 18. The Council recommended that providers save £10.00 per week for you while you are in care and 0-10 years old, and £15.00 per week while you are in care and 11-18 years old. The Social Worker and Personal Advisers would track down any savings made by carers and these will be paid to you as soon as received by the council. Some of the savings are stopped at source so these are held by the council or are in your JSA.

 

  • The Child Trust Fund savings are taken care of by Newham. If you have a Child Trust Fund  you can request the money from it by speaking to your worker when you turn 18.The fund will only be available to you if all of the following criteria apply:
  • You were born between 1st September 2002 and 2nd January 2011
  • You were in care in Newham before 3rd April 2011
  • You were living in the UK
  • You weren’t subject to any immigration restrictions or, if you were, your restrictions were no longer active before 3rd April 2011
    •  The Junior ISA is managed by the Share Foundation on behalf of the Department for Education (DfE). When it’s set up for you, £200 is put in it by the government and, over time, that amount grows a little. At the age of 18, you can request some or all of the money to be paid to you. However, the ISA will only be available to you if all of the following criteria apply:
    • You must have been born before 1st September 2002 or after 2nd January 2011
    • You must have been in care for at least 12 months uninterrupted
    • You must be under the age of 18 (on application)

 

 

No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF)

If you do not have Leave to Remain in the UK and have NRPF, you are unable to claim benefits or access to social housing. You may also not be legally able to work (please see the Migrant Support section for full clarification on NRPF). However, we have a duty to support you, so we make the following provision available until a final decision is made about your immigration or asylum status or your 21st birthday, whichever comes first:

  • A prepaid card to be used in place of a normal debit or credit card
  • Weekly subsistence payments of £60 for food, drink, toiletries, clothing and other essentials
  • Weekly subsistence payments for your children if you have NRPF, as follows:
    • £40.39 per child under the age of 1
    • £38.39 per child aged between 1 and 3 years
    • £35.39 per child aged over 3
  • Subsidised rent and utility bills in accommodation sourced by Newham Council
  • Travel payments for getting to college

This support is conditional and we can stop paying you in the following circumstances:

  • You fail to comply with a Removal Order
  • Your application for extended leave is refused
  • Your appeal against refusal is dismissed
  • You reach the age of 21

 

You can read more about council managed Oyster cards under 'What does Newham Council do with my personal data?'

 

We expect you to stay in contact with us if we’re providing you a subsistence payment so that we know you still need our support. We have made this decision in line with the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 – Schedule 3. A Human Rights Act assessment will be conducted by the local authority to assess eligibility for further support.

 

If you have NRPF we will not be able to pay university tuition fees, so even if your immigration status allows you to be in higher education you will need to source funding for this by way of a scholarship or other charitable means. Don’t forget: you will have to pay tuition fees at the International Student rate.


[1] You will need to give your personal adviser permission to contact the university to obtain confirmation of attendance / completion of the requirements of the course.

Is there any support for migrants?

Overview

Many of our Personal Advisers and Social Workers are extremely knowledgeable about immigration and asylum. They will do their utmost to support you if you do not yet have leave to remain in the UK.

 

No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF)

If you have No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF), you are not entitled to benefits or social housing and you might not be permitted to work. To be certain, check your biometric residence permit (BRP) – if it says FORBIDDEN FROM TAKING EMPLOYMENT, you will be treated by us as having NRPF.

 

Much of the support you will receive from us will be the same as for other care leavers but your pathway plan will address the fact that your future in the UK is uncertain. You will  have a Personal Adviser, a Pathway Plan and general advice and assistance. The main differences are financial (see the Money section), accommodation (see the Home section) and work-related (see the Jobs section). There are other restrictions regarding the type of education or training available to you.

 

If you have NRPF and have exhausted all your appeal rights, it is likely you will have to return to your country of origin at some point. We will help you to plan what will happen next. In your Pathway Plan you can expect discussion around the following:

  • What happens if your claim is either successful, unsuccessful or while you are waiting for a decision
  • If unsuccessful and all appeals are exhausted, the arrangements to help support you when you return
  • What dangers or risks you may face in any situation
  • How you could engage in education/training in the UK to give you skills for use back home
  • How you will comply with any Home Office conditions, such as attending weekly meetings at Lunar House
  • What voluntary return schemes there are and how you could take advantage of these

 

Deportation

Under UK immigration law, a Deportation Order may be made against a foreign national if they have exhausted appeal rights. This not only allows for you to be removed from the UK but also means you can be kept in custody until you are removed. The Order means you can’t return to the UK so long as it remains in force – it doesn’t matter what previous leave to remain you may have had. A Deportation Order may be made for any of these reasons:

  • It’s been decided that it would be in the public’s interest for you to be removed from the UK
  • You are the spouse, civil partner or child of someone who has a Deportation Order
  • You are over 17 years old, have been convicted of a crime that carries a prison sentence and the court recommends you be deported after you’ve served your sentence. The prison sentence can be bypassed altogether and you are simply deported – the more serious the crime, the more likely this is to happen
  • A Deportation Order should not be made if it breaches your Human Rights or The 1951 Refugee Convention

 

Once a Deportation Order has been made against you, you may be held in a detention centre without any warning, but you will also be advised of your right to appeal. This will be particularly unnerving if an Order has been made against you and you also have a child. The reality is that your child would also be at risk of being removed with you, unless they live separately with their other parent who does not face deportation.

An Administrative Removal may be ordered for someone who has breached the conditions of their leave to remain, or who obtained permission to stay in the UK through deception. You can appeal an Administrative Removal decision if you have the right to do so, or you can choose to leave the UK. There is some additional helpful information available on the Citizens Advice website.

If you recognise this as your situation, you may be tempted to try to go into hiding in the UK. It is illegal to hide from the Home Office and life ‘underground’ is very difficult. .You’ll never be able to legally work, open a bank account, rent a flat or buy a house and you will always be looking over your shoulder. You will not be entitled to any support and if the Home Office find you, they will remove you.

If you’re subject to a Deportation Order or to being removed, one day you are likely to be…

 

Detained

You’ll only be taken to a detention centre when you’re going to be deported in the near future, unless the Home Office thinks you might try to avoid it. You’re most likely to be taken into detention when you visit your reporting centre, but it can happen at any time. If you have children they’ll be detained with you, so it’s important to prepare them.

Once you’re in detention, you won’t be deported for at least 72 hours. You should be given information in your own language explaining your rights while you’re there. If you don’t receive this, you should ask for it. You have the right to:

  • Have visitors, receive post and telephone calls
  • Apply for bail
  • Keep your personal property
  • Communicate with the outside world – for example, to tell people in your home country that you may be returning
  • Live in accommodation with your family, if they are detained with you
  • Ask to see a legal adviser who may help you apply for bail and make further appeals if new information about your situation is uncovered

 

Other Support

A number of organisations offer support to those making immigration claims. The Refugee Council offers support and advice to people seeking asylum with a range of services for asylum seekers and refugees, including destitution support for those with NRPF and therapeutic services including:

  • Psycho-social Groups
  • Creative Focus
  • Safer Refugee Women
  • Epione Project
  • Mother & Toddler Group
  • Training
  • Volunteers and Student Placements

 

The Refugee Council also offers practical support including:

  • Signposting to helpful services for asylum seekers by phone, in person or through its online resources directory
  • Classes to help with learning English

It is also involved in policy work, research, and parliamentary work and campaigning to try to improve the lived experiences of young people who have claimed asylum in the UK. They can be contacted here Refugee Council.

 

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) and British Citizenship

If you have a legal right to stay in the UK, you’ll be considering making an application for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) once your Refugee status expires. We’ll support your application to get the permanent right to live in the UK and will be able to offer you a list of immigration-specialist solicitors who can help you make an application. In most cases, you will be able to access Legal Aid to fund your application. It takes the Home Office six months to make a decision. When you send your application, you’ll have to return your expired Biometric Residence Permit (BRP). We will not be able to fund your application if you are not able to access Legal Aid.

If you apply for and obtain British citizenship, you will have the same rights as anyone who was born in the UK, including the right to vote and the right to get a passport. You will have to meet your own citizenship application costs of around £1,250 and will have to sit a test. There are apps available with practice questions.

What support is there for education and training?

Overview

We want you to achieve all you can through education. Education can give you the foundations for finding the right job and also helps you build your knowledge, teaches you new skills and enables you meet like-minded people. Education and training help you to move towards the career you aspire to. If you are not in education, training or work, we will do everything in our power to change that.

Newham has a number of local colleges and other opportunities for studying. Newham College, for example, runs further education courses and also offers some higher education courses. There are many other providers who offer help with Maths and English and vocational learning. You don’t have to be academic and acing exams to get something out of education – t there’s a huge variety of vocational courses available too – so whatever you want to do, we’re right behind you and we’ll do our best to help you achieve your goal. We have good links with the University of East London and other universities if you are interested in moving to higher education.  You do not necessarily need to have A levels to do this as there are other opportunities to brush up your skills before accessing a degree course.  If you are more interested in work, our partners at OneNewham can help you with employability and interview skills, filling in application forms or writing up your CV.

 

Personal Adviser Support

Your Personal Adviser and your Advisor in the Virtual School will be your main supporters in finding a course of education, training or work, or indeed being there to advise you if you’re already doing it. They can help you with:

  • Signposting you to education and training opportunities that match your interests
  • Planning your overall route from education to employment with you and assisting you in your applications for further or higher education where you need any help
  • Attending parents’ evenings and college/university open days with you so your Personal Adviser stays an active participant in your educational progress
  • Liaising with college/university tutors to provide more joined-up support to you while you are on a course of further or higher education

 

Personal Education Plan (PEP)

If you’re 16, 17 or 18 you can expect to have a Personal Education Plan (PEP). A PEP is a good opportunity for your Personal Adviser and your college or 6th form tutor to meet to discuss and review your academic progress and identify any other form of support you’d like and/or you are entitled to. The Virtual School will also track and monitor your attendance and progress to enable us to intervene and advocate when required. If you are not in education, employment or training we can support you by letting you know about opportunities that are currently available and supporting you to apply for courses or work that interest you. We can work through a plan of where you want to be in work in the future and the steps that will get you there.  If you are over 18, we have two new Care Leaver EET coaches who can support you with practical things like filling in forms, getting to the interview and coaching you to keep on track once you are on a programme or in work.

 

Virtual School

Like many other local authorities, we have a Virtual School. The Virtual School is a small team of people who ensure you get all the help you want to make informed decisions about what you want to do next in education, employment and training, taking into account your aspirations, skills and potential. They work closely with your personal advisor and also make sure there are termly Personal Education Plan (PEP) review meetings until you turn 19. The team’s experienced Education Advisors and EET coaches will support you to find up-to-date information about careers, jobs, education courses, volunteering and training opportunities – so you’ll never be short of help.

Can I get help finding a job?

Overview

We offer a range of support options to you if you’re looking to get into employment. Some of that support is offered at quite a ‘local’ level by Personal Advisers and EET (Education, Employment and Training) Adviser from the Virtual School (more on this below). We have a number of initiatives already up and running that will benefit you as well as links with partner agencies who are ready with some exciting opportunities as well.

 

Personal Adviser Support

Every care leaver will have different support needs when it comes to seeking employment and it will be for them to ask their Personal Adviser for help where they need it. For example, if a care leaver is uncertain as to how to search for work, or lacks confidence in attending work coach appointments at the Jobcentre, the Personal Adviser may wish to undertake some job searches with them or go with them to a OneNewham appointment. The goal is always to help each care leaver achieve independence, but if a little support is required then that will be offered and our new EET (Education, Employment and Training) coaches will continue to support you once you are on a programme or in work.

 

Community Wealth Building

Newham’s Community Wealth Building strategy is underpinned by the principles of economic, social and environmental justice; so that long-term prosperity, wellbeing and fairness for all our residents in the Borough is achieved. As well as attracting growth and investment into the borough, the Council’s new Community Wealth Building strategy will help unleash the potential of residents, businesses and the voluntary sector because they are the source of wealth and talent that will drive a fairer and more prosperous Newham.

 

The Council has looked at best projects from around the world and has come up with a programme of activity it believes will be genuinely impactful and can change Newham’s economic story. There are eight strands to this programme, the second of which is that the “Council will support every resident aged under 25 to participate in positive activity which supports their long-term prosperity”. The Council had also announced details of its new Youth Empowerment Fund.

 

Apprenticeship Bursary

Care leavers are eligible for a £1,000 bursary payment if they choose to do an apprenticeship.  The extra financial support will be for those aged 16-21 and help them in the first year of their apprenticeship as learners jump into the workplace for their practical studies. The £1,000 bursary will be paid once to each care leaver in the eligible age range, once they have completed 60 days of their apprenticeship.

 

For more details, see Apprenticeships care leavers’ bursary.

How can I get family and relationship support?

Overview

We recognise that the reasons for you coming into care may be complex, with family breakdown a major factor. Alternatively, you may have claimed asylum here in the UK and have no family at all. We believe that in all but the toughest circumstances, you should be supported to reconnect, or strengthen your connection, with family or others who are important to you. We may be your ‘corporate parent’ for the time being, but when you reach the age of 25 we won’t be working with you anymore. So if you can have a relationship with your family we do encourage it.

 

Reunification

If you are estranged from family, there are three types of reunification we can help you work towards if you want to:

  • Mediation: professional help  to try and repair a relationship with a family member Tracing: if you have successfully settled in the UK and had to leave family behind, we will support you to access the British Red Cross, who can try to trace your family
  • Return Home: if you have No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF), we will assist you to contact family back home with a view to making a return (please see Migrant Support for further details)

 

Loneliness

We understand that many of you won’t have blood relations who are an ongoing presence in your life. There will be times, such as Christmas or other religious, or cultural celebrations, where it seems everyone else is with their family and you don’t have anyone. The service will make sure you have a plan at such times so that you are not alone/lonely, and we also keep in touch with the most vulnerable or those without family or friends.

LGBTQ+

Newham has a flourishing LGBTQ+ community that is celebrated publicly every year with the annual LGBT+ History Month. You can find details of local events and groups on our website and your Personal Adviser and other people can help you get every opportunity to explore your identity without fear of discrimination. Newham embraces its LGBT community and we want to be certain you feel included, respected and comfortable.

Support for Care Leavers who are parents

Becoming a parent is one of the biggest things that can happen in your life. If you’re a parent you may find it to be a challenge, just like any other parent does – whether it’s your first, second or subsequent baby – and so it’s important to know what support is available as a Newham care leaver.

 

Early Help Offer

The Newham Early Help Service can link up with your Personal Adviser to help you get the support you want or need when it comes to being a mum or dad. This support is made available not because you are a care leaver and we think you automatically need help, but because every parent – whether they are a care leaver or not – can benefit from some extra support.

Best Start in Life (BSiL) Children's Centres - Newham's Children's Centres offer a range of services to help give your child the best start in life. You can register for free if you are a Newham resident with a child under 5 (including if you're pregnant).

Children's Centres offer:

  • Activity Programmes
  • Access to childcare (nurseries and childminders)
  • Targeted stay and play sessions (child development support)
  • Parenting support
  • Volunteering and support into employment
  • Health and well-being support

If you would like support from a Family Support Worker, you can ask anyone at your local Children's Centre. Alternatively, your Personal Advisor could make a referral on your behalf.

Is there any support for Care Leavers who have been involved in criminal activity?

Overview

We provide support to care leavers who have a history of, or current offending behaviour. We will work with you in a supportive, non-judgemental way to ensure you have every opportunity to turn your life around and leave offending behaviour behind. I If you are at risk of falling into offending behaviour or perhaps being criminally exploited, we’ll do everything we can to help you redirect your life. Please be aware that if you do confide knowledge of, or involvement in, a serious crime we would ask you to declare it to the police yourself. Failing that, we would be legally obliged to do it ourselves.

 

Youth Offending Service (YOS)

Our Youth Offending Service (YOS) works in partnership with other teams who directly support you – like the Leaving Care. YOS is part of Newham Council, but also separate, as it is made up of people from the local authority, police, national probation service, health authorities and other local organisations, who all work together to try to help you if you’re involved in offending.

The aims of YOS are:

  • Work in partnership with other agencies to reduce youth crime
  • Ensure that each young person who breaks the law is dealt with without delay and in a manner that meets the needs of the individual
  • Work with young people to address the particular issues that put them at risk of offending
  • Encourage consultation with young people about the services they receive and ensure that our service reflects and values fairness, equality and diversity
  • Confront young offenders with the consequences of their behaviour in relation to themselves, their family or carer, the victim and the community to develop a sense of personal responsibility
  • Encourage young people to provide reparation to victims
  • Reinforce the responsibility of parents to help them prevent their children from offending
  • Protect the public

 

Prisoners

If you are in prison, you will still be visited and supported by a Personal Adviser who will carry out a Pathway Plan with you. The focus will be on how you can make the best of your time in custody, keep yourself safe and perhaps develop some skills, ahead of your release.

If you have a sentence that lasts five years or more and you do not wish for us to visit you, then we will say goodbye – though we will also keep in touch with Offender Management in your prison to do a health and welfare check on you. We can always start to provide support again if you wish.

Prior to your release, we will find you somewhere appropriate to live (please see Home section for further details) and Offender Management will complete a risk assessment, which will feed into our own risk assessment. Finally, individuals from the Leaving Care team and YOS, both based at the Turnaround Centre, meet to discuss how best to support you once you’ve been released.

How can I get involved?

Overview

As you become an adult, you will find that there’s quite a lot available for you to do in wider society. There is plenty to do right on your doorstep in Newham. A Google search will give you ideas, but you can always chat to your Personal Adviser about what they think might interest you, as there are specialist groups and organisations that work specifically with young people of certain backgrounds. Your Personal Adviser is a fount of knowledge and should be able to give you plenty of options. We do want you to be active members of society, which means getting out there and getting involved, so don’t be shy!

 

Personal Adviser Support

You can expect the following from your Personal Adviser:

  • Voting: help registering to vote (if you are a British Citizen). If you are interested in politics and the future of the UK, get involved.
  • Leisure: info about  your local parks, leisure centres, activity groups and clubs
  • Awards/Competitions: whether you’re a potential poet, a wannabe weightlifter or something else entirely, your Personal Adviser can pass on information on competitions and awards relevant to you and your talents/interests
  • Discrimination: supporting your rights if you come up against discrimination because you have been in care

 

Care Leavers' Forum

Open to all Newham Care Leavers, the forum helps to make changes to the way the Leaving Care Service is run and plays an important role in planning events and ensuring that the Leaving Care Service meets the needs of all care leavers. The forum has been running since March 2018 and meets on the first Wednesday of each month from 4-6pm.

Dates for the forum and associated events will be published here in future, or you can ask your Personal Advisor / Social Worker.

 

Local Support

There are five “Youth Zones” providing activities for young people in Newham – for more details see Activities for young people in Newham.

We also have a Care Leavers Forum that meets regularly to find out from you how we are doing and to talk about ideas for developing our services.

What does Newham Council do with my personal data?

Overview

Newham Council has access to a lot of sensitive data regarding care leavers and it has a duty to ensure that this data is used appropriately. In line with the Data Protection Act 2018, data collected on care leavers will be stored securely in the council’s Case Recording System (CRS) and will not be transferred to any third party without the express consent of the care leaver – unless there are genuine safeguarding concerns that take precedence over data protection, e.g. if a care leaver was missing, Newham would share appropriate details with the police to try and trace them. However, if there is a situation where a Personal Adviser finds an apprenticeship that they think a care leaver would be interested in, they will ask the care leaver’s permission to share details with the apprenticeship provider.

 

Access to Files

Every Care Leaver has the right to access all records the Council holds on them – from initial referral all the way through to the most recent case note for a telephone call to them – and can do so by making a Subject Access Request (SAR). Whilst you, your solicitor or advocate may ask us directly for this information, it is a statutory process and we would ask that you follow the council’s procedures so that your request can be properly recorded and monitored. Your request must be put in writing and sent to Information Governance, London Borough of Newham, Newham Dockside, 4th Floor West, 1000 Dockside Road, London E16 2QU (telephone: 020 8430 2000) or by email to Information.governance@newham.gov.uk. Alternatively, you can submit your request online where you will also find our procedures for requesting personal information.

 

Prepaid Cards and Oyster Cards

Care Leavers with No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) have the use of Council-managed prepaid cards (see Money for further information) and activity on these, in turn, can be checked by the Council via an online portal. Checks are not arbitrarily made and care leavers will be informed when a check has been carried out. In addition to this, if there’s ever a situation where we’ve given you an Oyster card, then there may be reasons for us to carry out a check as well.

Checks on prepaid and Oyster card activity can be made in the following circumstances:

  • There are safeguarding concerns for you and card activity may help to determine your location, whether you are being financially exploited, etc.
  • It is believed you may have been deported and card activity may indicate whether it is being used abroad (prepaid card only)
  • It is believed the prepaid card is being used fraudulently
  • It is believed you are misusing your finances and suffering as a result – for example, a Personal Adviser may have reason to suspect you are using your weekly subsistence money to gamble and are not buying adequate food to survive (prepaid card only)

How do I make a complaint?

Ensuring that Newham’s care leavers have a voice and that you are able to express yourself and be heard is very important to us.

If you are unhappy about something you can always talk to your Social Worker, Personal Adviser or another adult you trust such as a teacher. You can also talk to the Children’s Rights Service. You can email childrensrights@newham.gov.uk, phone them on 0800 0152 443 or text them on 07854 085996.

If you want to make a complaint about how we are treating you, ask your Social Worker or Personal Adviser to help you to complain.

How to complain about Children and Young People’s Services.

Glossary of Terms

A

Advocate – Someone who helps you voice your opinions and thoughts to ensure you feel listened to.

 

Appeal Rights Exhausted (ARE) – When you have No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) and you cannot appeal the decision in the UK (relates to immigration status).

 

Asylum – The protection granted by a state to someone who has left their home country as a political refugee.

 

Asylum Seeker – A person who has left their home country as a political refugee and is seeking asylum in another.

 

B

Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) – A form of ID you receive when you apply to settle in the UK. It will have your photo, name, place of birth, whether you have recourse to public funds and details of any status and conditions of stay.

 

British Citizenship – You can live and work in the UK free of any immigration controls.

 

C

Care Leaver – A young person who was previously in care. 

 

Children and Social Work Act 2017 – A recent piece of legislation that that introduced new duties to care leavers, including the need for a Local Offer and the requirement to work with you until you turn 25 whether you are in education or not.

 

Children Act 1989 – The core piece of legislation that serves as the legal framework for all children’s social care responsibilities in the UK.

 

Children In Care - When a child or young person has been accommodated by the local authority for a period of at least 24 hours because, for whatever reason, their parents are unable to provide suitable care, been made the subject of a Care Order or remanded by a court. In Newham, we use the phrase ‘children in care’ as this is what our young people prefer.  

 

 

Children in Care Review - A meeting chaired by an Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO) to review progress and plans with a child in care. Your social worker, carer(s) and other professionals will also be involved in the meeting. 

 

Corporate Parent – An organisation that fulfils the role of parent.

 

D

Data Protection Act 2018 – Legislation outlining laws with regards to the protection of data in the UK – the principles underlying the Act are often referred to as GDPR.

 

Discretionary – Something that is only done at your discretion (i.e. it doesn’t have to be done – only if you decide it will).

 

E

Early Help Assessment (EHA) – An assessment that is carried out on pregnant care leavers or care leavers with children aged 5 or under to decide whether Early Help support is needed.

 

Early Help Service – The team in Newham that supports parents and families with young children – this support can be in the form of advice or something more practical.

 

EET – Education, employment or training status

 

Eligible – Where a young person is 16 or 17 and has been in care in the local authority for 13 weeks or more after turning 14, and is still in care.

 

F

Former Relevant - Where a young person is aged 18 to 21 and was Eligible or Relevant. They continue to be Former Relevant until they are 25 if they remain in education.

 

Foster Carer – Either individual who a couple who open up their home to care for a Child in Care, potentially up until the age of 18. See also “Staying Put”.

 

H

Home Office - The department of the British Government which is responsible for things such as the police, broadcasting, and making decisions about people who want to come to live in Britain (immigration and asylum).

 

I

 

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) - Immigration status granted to a person who did not have the right of abode in the United Kingdom (UK), but who has been admitted to the UK without any time limit on his or her stay and who is free to take up employment or study, without restriction.

 

Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO) - An individual responsible for making sure the work done by the social care professionals in your life is of a high standard and your life is progressing according to plan. They also chair Children in Care Reviews.

 

Independent Visitor (IV) - An adult who befriends you and takes you out for activities, providing a kind of support very different to that which you receive from your allocated worker.

 

J

Jobcentre - The place where you go for your benefit meetings.

 

L

Leaving Care Act 2000 - The key piece of legislation that tells local authorities what their duties are to care leavers.

 

Leaving Care Service - The main service that works with you after you turn 18 – it is where your Personal Adviser or Leaving Care Social Worker is based.

 

 

M

Multi-agency - When two or more ‘agencies’ (i.e. organisations) are working together.

 

N

National Health Service (NHS) - The government-funded organisation responsible for providing health services in the UK that is free at the point of use.

 

Needs Assessment – How a judgement is made on how you are doing and what support you might need.

 

NEET - When you are not in education, employment or training.

 

No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) - It means you will not be able to claim most benefits, tax credits or housing assistance that are paid by the state.

 

P

Pathway Plan – A purposeful, planned and focused plan drawn up by you and your worker to set out achievable life goals toward which you work with an effective strategy. The plan covers all areas of your life including housing, money, health and immigration. It is a legal document.

 

Personal Adviser – Usually your allocated worker after you become 18; they will be your primary contact and the person to whom you should turn when you need support.

 

Personal Education Plan (PEP) - A plan drawn up between you, your worker and, usually, your college or 6th form tutor, which sets out specific, achievable targets in relation to your education.

 

Prepaid Card - A debit card given to care leavers who have No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) which is owned by the Council and is topped up with weekly subsistence payments.

 

Professional Network - The professionals form different agencies who work together to support you.

 

Q

Qualifying - Where a young person aged under 21 (or under 24 if in education) who was not in care for 13 weeks or more after turning 14, but was in care for a period when they were 16 or 17.

 

R

Refugee - A person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster. It is also an immigration status for those who have been granted five years’ leave to remain in the UK.

 

Relevant – A term applied to some care leavers who were previously “Eligible”, but are no longer in care and have not returned home and settled for at least six months. This will also include young people who were detained after turning 16 (e.g. in a psychiatric hospital, youth offending institution, etc.) and had been in care immediately prior to this happening.

 

Removal Order - A court order that allows the UK Visas and Immigration Department to make arrangement to remove you from the UK.

 

Risk Assessment – Used to decide how much of a risk of harm you pose to yourself or other people.

 

S

Safeguarding Concerns - When a person or agency is worried about your welfare and wellbeing.

 

Setting Up Home Allowance – Also called the Leaving Care Grant - A grant up to £2,000 used to pay for furniture, white goods and other items that you need as you move into independent accommodation.

 

Signposting - Directing you to another agency or organisation that can provide you with short- or long-term support.

 

Social Worker - Professionals who support individuals and their families through difficult times and ensure that vulnerable people, including children and adults, are safeguarded from harm. Their role is to help in improve outcomes in people's lives. They maintain professional relationships and act as guides and advocates.

 

Staying Put – When a young person continues to live with their foster carer after their 18th birthday, it is called a Staying Put arrangement which can continue until your 21st birthday.

 

Subject Access Request (SAR) – A formal request for a copy of the information that an organisation (including Newham Council) has recorded about you.

 

Supervising Social Worker - A Social Worker who supervises foster carers.

 

Support Worker - In the context of care leavers, someone who provides practical support with everyday needs (e.g. opening a bank account, budgeting, paying utility bills, etc.).

 

T

Targeted Service or Support - A service or support that specifically addresses issues where you need, or want, help.

 

Tenancy Agreement - A contract between you and your landlord. It may be written or oral. The tenancy agreement gives certain rights to both you and your landlord, for example, your right to occupy the accommodation and your landlord's right to receive rent for letting the accommodation.

 

U

Universal Service or Support - A type of service or form of support that is available to everyone.

 

V

Virtual School – The service that provides education support to Children in Care and Care Leavers. It also liaises with local schools and colleges and provides additional support to Social Workers and Personal Advisers.