16+ Leaving care
Eligibility for services provided by the 16+ Leaving care team
Services can be provided to young people who are defined as being eligible, under the Children Leaving Care Act 2000 and the 1989 Children Act.The 16+ Leaving Care Team has:
- a duty to advise, assist and befriend a looked after young person with a view to promoting their welfare when they stop being looked after;
- a duty to advise and befriend a young person who was previously looked after and is under 21 years;
- power to assist a young person who was previously looked after and is under 21 years (and beyond if help needed is regarding education/ training or employment and the course begins before they are 21).
- power to assist other young people who were accommodated by a health authority, education authority or privately fostered.
The law affecting these services is complicated but does define which groups of young people are entitled to a service.
The Children Leaving Care Act does not apply to young people who left care before 1 October 2001, the date on which the new Act came into force.
Services can however be provided to certain exceptional groups who are care leavers, aged under 21 years, or under 24 years if still in further education or training, who ceased to be looked after by social services at, or after their 16th birthday. These care leavers include young people who left care in or after October 2001 but were looked after for less than 13 weeks or they are care leavers who left Bromley's care before October 2001.
The Act also applies to eligible children. These are 16 or 17 years of age who have been looked after by the local authority for a period of 13 weeks after reaching the age of 14 and are currently looked after. The total of 13 weeks need not have been continuous.
The Act also applies to relevant children. These are young people who were previously eligible children but who are no longer looked after but are still under the age of 18. This does not apply to children who have been successfully returned home and have been settled for at least 6 months. The category of relevant children also includes care leavers who meet the defined criteria who are young parents and young people detained in hospital.
The Act also applies to former relevant children. These are young people who have reached the age of 18 but not 21 and were either eligible or relevant children before becoming 18. If these young people are being helped with an agreed education or training programme, they remain former relevant children to the end of this period even if this extends beyond the age of 21.
The groups of eligible children include young people who are remanded into local authority care following an offence, asylum seekers and certain groups of respite care children and young people who have returned home while in care.
Asylum Seekers who are Unaccompanied Minors
These young people are covered by the Children Act 1989 and Leaving Care Act 2000 in the same way as other children in the country. Their immigration status does however need to be taken into account by the local authority and the Home Office should normally resolve this while the child is still a minor.
We will assess unaccompanied asylum-seeking children using the Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their Families. This is the same procedure required for the assessment of all children presenting to Bromley.
The outcome of the assessment will either be a need to provide preventative services under section 17 of the Children Act 1989 or to look after the child under section 20 and provide appropriate accommodation. Where unaccompanied asylum-seeking children are looked after they can be provided with a range of services relating to whether they are qualifying, eligible, relevant or former relevant young persons.