The Leaving Care Service works with young people in local authority care to help them to prepare for independent living from the age of 16 up to the age of 25.
Most young people leave the care of the local authority at the time of their 18th birthday, but will continue to receive support with accessing education, employment and housing beyond this age.
How does the service work?
The service runs county-wide, with three bases located in county council buildings in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds and Lowestoft.
When young people in care reach are approaching their 16th birthday, they will be allocated a new social worker from the Leaving Care Service to work with them until they are 18. They will also have a named Personal Adviser once they are over 18.
Both workers are there to help each young person to make the most of their skills and abilities, and to help them to access opportunities and services which will be useful to them in developing a positive pathway to adult life.
The Leaving Care Service works in close partnership with other agencies, such as health, schools and colleges, employers and the voluntary sector to identify relevant opportunities for all care leavers across the county and beyond.
In addition to individual support, each area team may also offer other sessions such as group work or drop-in sessions for young people.
Who is entitled to the service?
A young person’s right to support as a care leaver will depend on when and how long they are in care and is defined in The Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000.
In general, if a young person has been in care for more than 3 months since they have been 14 and are still in care at age 16 they are likely to be entitled to support.
What am I entitled to as a care leaver?
The Children’s Commissioner has an introduction to the legal entitlements of care leavers.
The leaving care financial policy document outlines how Suffolk County Council meets its financial responsibilities towards care leavers.
In Suffolk, the Offer for Care Leavers is being updated based on extensive consultation with young people currently supported by the service.
Call 01473 264949 or write to:
Infobar, Constantine House, Constantine Road, Ipswich, Suffolk IP1 2DH
Bury St Edmunds
Call 01284 758488 or write to:
West Suffolk House, Western Way, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk IP33 3YU
Call 01502 521490 or write to:
The Marina, Lowestoft, Suffolk NR32 1HH