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National Homeless Advice Service

Care leavers: moving on from care

Young people can leave their care placements at different times between their 16th and 18th birthday. Some will stay with their existing carers once they turn 18, some will return to the family home, and some will move away to live with friends, partners, or to start a training or higher education course.

Although all eligible, relevant and former relevant children must be provided with a pathway plan by their local authority, different local authorities will provide different solutions for care leavers depending on different local resources and policies.

Children’s services will continue to owe a duty to care leavers for some years after they leave care, and should ensure that support is in place to help young people leaving care make the gradual transition to independence.

The level of support available to care leavers will depend on their status, whether eligible, relevant, former relevant or qualifying. This status depends on age, and when and for how long the young person was in care.

Accommodation options may include a move from a care placement to supported accommodation, and from there to an independent tenancy. However, emergency accommodation options may also be required for young care leavers who are unable to sustain their supported or settled living arrangements.

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