Rights and Responsibilities

Councils have duties under the Children Act 1989 as amended by the Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000 towards certain care leavers.

All councils have a statutory duty to ensure that all ‘eligible’ and ‘relevant’ (but not ‘qualifying’) care leavers are placed in suitable housing when leaving care. In addition, older care leavers may be classed as being in ‘priority need’ under homelessness legislation, meaning that the council has a duty to provide them with housing or support.

Although all eligible, relevant and former relevant children must be provided with a pathway plan by the council The council must publish up-to-date information about the services they offer for care leavers and other services which may help care leavers prepare for independent living and adulthood. This is known as the ‘local offer’.

There are four groups of care leavers who receive different levels of support and advice.  

The four groups are:

  • eligible Young People - 16 or 17 years of age and currently looked after and have been looked after for the last 13 weeks since the age of 14
  • relevant Young People - 16 and 17 year olds, who have left care, but otherwise would have met the same conditions as Eligible Young People, as explained above
  • former Relevant Young People - 18 to 21 year olds who were Eligible or Relevant young people. (Young people aged over 21 can continue with their status, up to the age of 25 years old, dependant on the support you require)
  • qualifying Young People - All other young people under the age of 21 who left care at 16 years of age or over

You can email a request for a copy of the following PDFs:

Leaving Care Status – Qualifying Child

Leaving Care Status – Eligible Children

Leaving Care Status – Relevant Children

Leaving Care Status – Former Relevant Children

Pathway Plans

We will work with you to make a Pathway Plan to ensure you get the best support available. You will receive information about who is responsible for helping you decide what you need, how long it will take to make the things you want to do happen, who will keep the information and how you can make a complaint if you’re unhappy about your plan. Areas covered include:

  • practical life skills including money management
  • accommodation
  • education and training
  • employment
  • financial support
  • specific support needs
  • contingency plans for support if independent living breaks down

Things change and happen in life that you don’t expect. You might find that you want different things, or your life changes and your plan is out of date. At least every six months we will help you to review your plan. This will give you a chance to think about what has happened recently in your life and what you want to do next.  If you want to talk about your plan before your six month review please speak to your Social Worker/Personal Advisor.


Independent advocates can inform you about your rights and help you to be heard in meetings. Advocacy means helping you to express your views and making sure that these views are taken seriously. Advocacy support is a confidential service and their workers will not tell others anything you have said without your permission, unless they are worried about your safety or the safety of someone else. They are independent from children & young people’s services.

Below is the independent advocacy service for your reference.

National Youth Advocacy Service
NYAS, Tower House,
1 Tower Road,
Birkenhead, Wirral
CH41 1FF

Telephone: 0151 649 8700


Coram Children's Legal Centre

An independent national charity concerned with law and policy affecting children and young people. The Child Law Advice Service provides legal advice and information on areas of child, family and education law.

To access this advice and information please visit the Always Heard website  and follow the link to the Child Law Advice Service where you will be able to view a range of factsheets and how to guides. Their helpline number is available at the end of each factsheet. The helpline is open Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm. www.childrenslegalcentre.com; www.lawstuff.org.uk

Citizens Advice Bureau

Youth Justice Board

Young Migrants Seeking Asylum in the UK

If you require any advice, information or just want a chat about how you can get engaged in any of the information on this page, please come to the office or call a the Leaving Care duty worker Monday – Friday on 01702 534574 from 9am to 5pm. 


We want to encourage young people to express their views and be heard. We will listen and learn to make sure our services improve and focus on the needs of young people. We have a three-stage procedure for dealing with complaints:

Stage 1 

When you first tell someone that you are not happy about something, you may have ideas about how to put things right. The manager will do their best to sort out the problem within 10 working days. You have the right to expect a letter telling you how things have been sorted out – and telling you what you can do next if you’re still unhappy about things.

Stage 2

If you are still unhappy, then you can ask the Complaints Manager to take the complaint to Stage 2. The Complaints Manager will listen to what you have to say and find out what you would like to happen. The Council will appoint an Investigating Officer and an Independent Person – who is nothing to do with the Council – to make sure that your complaint is handled properly. You should have an answer within 25 working days but this can take up to 65 working days if the complaint is complex.   

Stage 3

This is where a group of people, the panel, meet to talk to you and other people who are trying to sort out your problem. The people on the panel would not have been involved with your complaint before and do not work for the council. After talking and listening to everyone, the panel will make a decision about the best way to sort out your complaint. You should have an answer within 5 working days of the review panel.

If you are still not satisfied, you can make a complaint to the local government ombudsman. You have the right to expect that the council will learn from the complaints it gets – and go on to improve the services for all children and young people who need them.

A copy of the complaints booklet and form can be found on our Children's Social Care pages.

Or you may contact the complaints officer at:

Michael Barrett, Complaints Officer
Department for People
Civic Centre, Floor 5
Victoria Avenue
Southend on Sea,
Essex SS2 6ER

Telephone: 01702 215515


How to request information about yourself

Data protection law allows individuals the right of access to the personal data we hold about them. Usually, individuals simply want to be given a copy of their information.

However, under data protection legislation, individuals also have the right to obtain:

  • confirmation that their data is being processed
  • other supplementary information (similar to the information that should be provided in a privacy notice)

This is known as a Subject Access Request (SAR). A request must normally be made in writing, although we have a standard form for you to use, you are not obliged to do so.

To request your information please see our Data Protection pages.

Further Information

Our individual rights of data subjects policies and procedures page explains more about your rights and how we will fulfil them.

Contact Leaving Care

Telephone: 01702 212087

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