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Financial Arrangements for Care Leavers

Contents

1. Part 1 - Entitlements and Duties                                                           
  1.1  Statement of Intent
  1.2 Legislation
  1.3  Defining who is eligible for support
  1.4 Summary of Duties Re: Financial Support and Leaving Care Status
  1.5 Unaccompanied Asylum-seeking Children and Young People     
2. Part 2 - Principles for Financial Planning - Accommodation
  2.1 Accommodation – Financial Assistance with Housing and Tenancy Support Costs
  2.2 Arrangements for Young People Remaining with Ex – Foster Carers Post 18 Years (Staying Put) 
3. Part 3 - Financial Assistance and Support
  3.1 Living Allowance
  3.2 'The Principle'
  3.3 Full and Part-Time Study
  3.4 Education Bonus for Successful Completion of an Academic Year
  3.5 Financial Support for Young People in Further Education
  3.6 Financial Support for Young People in Higher Education
  3.7 Additional Support for Young People in Further/Higher Education
4. Part 4 - Assistance and Support for Young People in Work Based Learning (WBL)            
  4.1 Financial Support for Young People in Work Based Learning (WBL)
  4.2 Additional Support for Young People in Training
  4.3 Young People Not Engaged in Employment, Training and Employment
5. Part 5 - Assistance and Support for Young People in Employment
  5.1 Young People Doing Recognised Voluntary Work     
  5.2 Additional Support for Young People in Employment 
6. Part 6 - Setting Up Home Allowance        
  6.1 Setting Up Home Allowance
  6.2 New Home 'Starter Pack'
  6.3 TV Licences / Home Insurance
7. Part 7 - Other Financial Support
  7.1 Birthday Allowances
  7.2 Festival Allowance
  7.3 Clothing Allowances
  7.4 Holidays and Events
  7.5 Support with Contingencies and Emergencies
  7.6 Health
  7.7 Support with Contact
  7.8 Access to Leisure
  7.9 Specialist Services
  7.10 Winter Fuel Payments
  7.11 Travel Costs
  7.12 Identification/Document Replacement Costs
  7.13 Provisional Driving Licences
  7.14 Accommodation - Bond Schemes
  7.15 Young People Representing the LACYPS
  7.16 Young People Remaining or Subject to Custodial Sentence


1. Part 1 – Entitlements and Duties

1.1 Statement of Intent

Financial assistance to care leavers, falls into two categories, entitlement, i.e. that which is laid down in statutory instruments and discretionary, known as permissive legislation.

Permissive legislation is that which allows the local authority to make certain payments in line with its role as Corporate Parents by discretion.

Payments are designed to assist young people who have been in the care of the local authority, often for a considerable period of time. Care leavers may have little or no support and rarely have savings. They are, therefore, dependent upon the local authority to provide a financial safety net, but also to assist them to achieve economic well being in their own right.

These guidelines and procedures are designed to assist those making financial decisions in respect of care leavers. They are also designed to give Care Leavers and their carers a transparent view of what financial support they can expect from Gateshead Council.

Decisions will be made upon entitlement and need as defined in the ‘Needs Assessment’ and laid out in an individual’s Pathway Plan. In assessing need, case workers will take into account issues of: age, gender, sexuality, race, religion, culture, and disability. These categories will not be used to discriminate against care leavers.

1.2 Legislation

The Care Leavers Regulations place particular duties upon local authorities to support young people when they are in and have left care.

The financial policy sets out how the local authority will support young people to enhance their life chances and make a successful transition to adulthood.  It is critical to integrated planning that the financial policy which guides payments, particularly young people aged sixteen and older, does not operate in a silo or create inequalities and disparities.

Financial support is an important element of such support and clear procedures are needed ensuring that decision-making is consistent and equitable.

1.3 Defining who is eligible for support

The Care Leavers Regulations identify five categories of looked after young people and ‘care leavers’ who are entitled to support after their 16th birthday.

Duties continue to other young people under section 24 of the Children Act 1989. It is important to establish initially which, if any of these a young person falls into, as the first stage of assessing their eligibility for financial assistance.

The categories are as follows:

  • Eligible child;
  • Relevant child - There is a duty to financially support Relevant young people up to the age of 18. Relevant young people should be no worse off through receiving financial support from leaving care services, even where they do not co-operate with workers or adhere to agreements made under the Pathway Plans. The allowances paid to them should not fall below the level of Income Support or Income Based Job Seekers Allowance;
  • Former Relevant child -Aged 18 to 21 and have left care having previously been Eligible or Relevant, or both. There is a duty to consider the need to financially support these young people;
  • Former Relevant child pursuing further education or training;
  • Qualifying children and young people over 16.

1.4 Summary of Duties Re: Financial Support and Leaving Care Status

The nature and level of financial entitlements for young people are described within the Care Leavers Regulations. It is important that case records relating to young people in or leaving care are accurate and current. Records should clearly define a young person’s legal status under the Act.

Every Eligible, Relevant and Former Relevant young person should have their financial needs assessed and included in their Pathway Plans.

Eligible young people’s financial needs should be met in the same way as other Looked After children via the care planning process. Eligible young people will receive the benefits of the Looked After system.

Some Eligible young people can claim non-means tested benefits e.g. Disability Living Allowance and should be assisted in doing so where appropriate.

Relevant young people - It is the duty of the local authority to ensure that the income, maintenance and accommodation costs of Relevant young people are adequately covered, in line with the guidance included in this document. These young people are no longer entitled to claim the major means tested benefits

  • Income Support, Job Seekers Allowance and Housing Benefit. Responsibility for this financial support now lies with the local authority.

Important exceptions to this rule are lone parents or young people with long-term health problems, or with disabilities. Relevant young people can claim non-means tested benefits e.g. Disability Living Allowance, as appropriate.

Former Relevant (18 -21) - Benefits entitlements remain unaltered for Former Relevant young people, as does entitlement to non-means tested benefits. Personal Advisers should assist young people to maximise take up of benefits before making assessments for any additional financial support.

The local authority may assist Former Relevant young people with income and accommodation where it is deemed appropriate to do so in the Pathway Plan.

A Former Relevant or Qualifying person aged between 21 or 25 - may request to re-engage with services in order to pursue a programme of training or further / higher education.

1.5 Unaccompanied Asylum-seeking Children and Young People

The provisions apply to unaccompanied asylum-seeking children in exactly the same way as other children in this country. They will, however, have an immigration status (applying for asylum, acceptance as a refugee, granted exceptional leave to remain, or refused to leave to remain), which will need to be taken into account when considering provision of services.

Children and young people who are Accommodated under Section 20 of the Children Act 1989 will accrue entitlements to the provisions of the Care Leavers Regulations in the normal way. In some circumstances young people who receive a service via Section 17 of the Children Act 1989 will also be entitled to the full provisions of the Care Leavers Regulations. The decision about individual’s entitlements to leaving care provision should be made on the basis of a clear assessment of the circumstances.

If a young person reaches 18 without a final decision on their asylum application being made e.g. they enter the country shortly before their 18th birthday, the young person should move on to the support arrangements for adult asylum seekers under the National Asylum Support Service. At the same time the authority might have continuing duties if the young person is former relevant or qualifying.


2. Part 2 – Principles for Financial Planning - Accommodation

2.1 Accommodation - Financial Assistance with Housing and Tenancy Support Costs

Eligible Young People - financial needs met via their Care Plans and in most cases will be living in foster care or residential placements.

Relevant Young People - the local authority will normally meet in full, a Relevant young person’s accommodation costs. The type and cost of provision will vary depending on the needs and requirements of each young person. The level of funding available for accommodation should be clearly discussed with each young person during the pathway planning process.

The young person will be expected to make a reasonably realistic contribution to the costs of living in accommodation. This is in preparation of young people who may be living independently. Where there are concerns about a young person’s ability to do this, the young person should be given every opportunity and help to develop these skills. It should be noted that failure to do so would only perpetuate many young people’s lack of financial management and sense of financial dependence.

Details of costs and services should be included in the young person’s Pathway Plan.

The team manager will approve all decisions regarding the approval of funding of accommodation costs for Relevant young people.

Former Relevant Young People - Former Relevant young people are entitled to claim Housing Benefit to assist with their housing costs where this is applicable. Social workers and Personal Advisers should assist young people to maximise their take up of welfare benefits where it is appropriate for them to do so.

The local authority may assist with general financial support where Former Relevant young people aged up to 24 years are in Education, Training or Employment. Housing Benefit must have been claimed if appropriate in these cases. The team manager will make decisions regarding the approval of funding, which will be included in the Pathway Plan.

Qualifying Young People - Qualifying young people are entitled to claim Housing Benefit to assist with their housing costs where this is applicable. Personal Advisers should assist young people to maximise their take up of welfare benefits where it is appropriate for them to do so.

Financial support towards meeting accommodation costs may be provided to Qualifying young people to assist them in Education, Employment or Training. The level of financial support requested should be based upon a thorough assessment of the young person’s financial needs. The team manager will approve financial packages of support and payments towards accommodation costs.

2.2 Arrangements for Young People Remaining with Ex-Foster Carers Post 18 Years (Staying Put)

See Staying Put Policy.


3. Part 3 – Financial Assistance and Support

The local authority operates a system of incentives, and bonuses, which supplement and/or replace other entitlements young people, may receive (i.e. Training Allowance or 16 -19 bursary allowance).  Young people may be entitled to claim through the bursary scheme and should be assisted in doing so where appropriate.

3.1 Living Allowance

Eligible Young People - Where identified in the young person’s Pathway Plan, an Eligible young person will receive an amount equivalent of Income Based Job Seekers Allowance.

It is acknowledged that young people leaving care will undertake financial responsibilities at an earlier age than the majority of their peers, and it is good practice to ensure that young people, whilst living in foster care or a residential placement, will be afforded the opportunity to budget and manage money to develop their life skills.

Young people who are still Looked After in foster care or residential care should be encouraged by their carer(s), social workers and Personal Adviser to manage money effectively, encouraged to save and have control over some elements of the money for their care, wherever practical.

Young people aged 16 -17 living in independent or semi-independent accommodation will receive a living allowance payment from the local authority.

For young people aged 16–17 who have returned to parents in a planned manner, it is at the discretion of the Local Authority to top up the amount of Child Benefit received. Decisions made will be based on the assessed need of the young person.

However, the young person should, if in education or training, receive a 16-19 bursary.

If they meet the laid down criteria, Eligible young people can also claim non-means tested benefits such as Disability Living Allowance and case workers are expected to check eligibility for these benefits and actively help young people to claim them. In the case of DLA, this is non-means tested and doesn’t affect Income Support, therefore, if a young person who is claiming DLA and is entitled to ‘Living Allowance’ then they will get both payments.

The rationale behind this is to meet the additional needs caused by the disability. It should be remembered, that it would be reasonable to expect the care leaver receiving DLA to meet all or part of health costs of needs identified in the Pathway Plan, if they require additional expenditure.

Relevant Young People - In most cases Relevant young people will be entitled to a weekly living allowance paid directly to them by the Local Authority. The basic level of this allowance is set at the equivalent of Income Based Job Seekers Allowance. Young people aged 16-17 years who have left care should receive no less than this amount to live on each week. Exceptions to this rule include lone parents and some young people with disabilities who are able to claim welfare benefits in their own right from the age of 16 years. It should be noted that the equivalent of Income Based Job Seekers Allowance is the absolute minimum amount a young person should be expected to live on. In general, young people should be encouraged to engage in activities that increase their weekly income through incentives.

Other types of financial support may be available in addition to the basic allowance. This might include help with things like contact with family members, or with activities to stay fit and healthy. Where a young person is entitled to weekly living allowance, details should be recorded in their Pathway Plan.

Former Relevant and Qualifying Young People - The local authority is not normally financially responsible for the maintenance of Former Relevant and Qualifying young people. Where no other forms of income are available, young people should be directed to claim the appropriate benefit (in most cases this will be Job- Seekers Allowance).

The local authority retains the discretion to offer financial assistance as an interim measure, or where in exceptional circumstances a claim cannot be made for benefit. This will be at the discretion of the team manager, to cover the period whilst proper funding can be obtained from the Benefits Agency.

Former Relevant and Qualifying young people who are in full time further education are normally entitled to claim Income Support to meet their weekly living costs. Young people in employment will normally be responsible for meeting their own needs in terms of living costs although for young people on a low wage, extra assistance may be considered from the local authority.

3.2 ‘The Principle’

Any Relevant or Former Relevant care leaver receiving a service via the C(LC)A 2000 aged under 20 years and actively engaged in full-time equivalent EET activities will have no less than the equivalent of Income Based Job Seekers Allowance to live on.

This principle applies to all Relevant and Former Relevant young people under 20 years of age. Payments from the local authority should be made in the form of incentives after other universal allowances and benefits have (where applicable) been obtained (i.e. 16-19 Bursary, Income Support, Housing Benefit).

Where young people are receiving regular payments, for example, living allowances or incentives, these should be made directly into a young person’s bank account, unless there are clear reasons why this cannot take place. The risk of paying money into a bank account should be weighed against the risk of not giving responsibility to a young person at a critical stage of their life.

The following sections provide a breakdown of young people’s entitlements depending upon their status under the Care Leavers Regulations and the type of EET activity that they are engaged in.

3.3 Full and Part-time Study

The packages of support below normally apply to students engaged in a full-time programme of study. For the purposes of this policy ‘full-time’ and ‘part-time’ will follow the same definitions as those used by the education provider. A full-time course is normally one which is 16 hours per week.

3.4 Education Bonus for Successful Completion of an Academic Year

At the end of each academic year, an education bonus and will be paid to any Relevant or Former Relevant young person, who completes a year of full-time equivalent study towards a recognised course of further/higher education. This bonus should normally be paid directly to the young person. In certain individual circumstances other arrangements may be made, but the equivalent sum of money must be used in a way, which rewards the young person for their achievement. Details of how and when an education bonus is paid should be detailed in the young person’s Pathway Plan.

Payment of the education bonus should be over and above other financial assistance, incentives and bursaries the young person receives whilst studying. For the purposes of calculating young people’s entitlements to benefits, it should not be regarded as income.

3.5 Financial Support for Young People in Further Education

Relevant young people will normally have their housing (plus housing support) costs met in full by the Local Authority. Relevant young people will normally have their living allowance paid weekly.

Relevant young people in full-time equivalent further education should be entitled to 16-19 bursary for the first 2 years (and possibly 3 years) of their studies.

Former Relevant young people under the age of 20 years will normally be entitled to claim Income Support and Housing Benefit if they are on a course of full-time further education. Where appropriate, young people should be assisted in applying for the maximum amount of benefit to which they are entitled. Former Relevant young people in full-time equivalent further education may be entitled to 16-19 bursary up to age 19 years.

Former Relevant Young People (aged 20 years plus) - Financial support for Former Relevant young people may continue beyond age 21 years where the young person is continuing an agreed course of education or training. Where a young person is planning, or returns, to embark upon a course of further education or training which will continue beyond their 21st birthday, plans should be put in place at the outset, detailing the total package of support for the course’s duration.

Qualifying Young People (aged 16 – 21/24 years) - Financial support may be provided to Qualifying young people to assist them in Education. The level of financial support requested should be based upon a thorough assessment of the young person’s financial needs. The team manager will be required to approve financial packages of support for qualifying young people.

Where additional financial support is being sought, young people’s uptake of Welfare Benefits entitlements and other reasonable sources of funding must be taken into account.

Where a young person is planning to embark upon a course of further education which will continue beyond their 21st birthday, plans should be put in place at the outset, detailing the total package of support for the course’s duration.

3.6 Financial Support for Young People in Higher Education

The local authority, recognising that young people leaving the Looked After system are disadvantaged in many ways, has the discretion to give them financial support in further and higher education to have a basic standard of living. Young people in Higher Education will be supplied with a laptop computer to assist with their studies.

As a general rule, young people planning to attend an HE institution will be expected to apply for the maximum amount of financial assistance available through universal grants, loans and bursaries available for the course that they are intending to study.

Care leavers who are starting university should also receive a bursary to help with the costs of academic life under the new Higher Education Bursary Regulations.

A clearly informed estimate of the level of funding available should be made at the earliest opportunity. Young people’s accommodation options must also be explored and costed. Income from grants and loans should be included in calculations for term time only. The education bonus is available to continuing students in Higher Education.

Arrangements for the young person’s accommodation and maintenance during holidays and vacations should be planned and where possible costed in advance. In some circumstances it may be possible to plan for the young person to return to stay with ex-carers during these periods. Some Institutions may also be able to offer students 52-week accommodation. Creative options, such as providing young people with the opportunity to travel, or engage in planned activities should be considered where appropriate.

Apart from in exceptional circumstances, young people should be encouraged to supplement their income whilst in higher education through appropriate part-time work. A financial plan should be drawn up covering at least the period of the first academic year (including the summer vacation). The plan should include all sources of income and essential outgoings, including the young person’s living and accommodation costs and should be in two parts covering term-time and academic holidays/vacations.

3.7 Additional Support for Young People in Further/Higher Education

Additional support for young people might include:

  • Help with clothes for interviews, work placements etc;
  • Fares to get to interviews, work placements etc;
  • Special equipment/clothing not provided by the college/university;
  • IT equipment;
  • Help with transport costs;
  • Help with special needs or health issues.

The list is not exhaustive and Pathway Plans should take account of individual circumstances when detailing support to be provided.


4. Part 4 - Assistance and Support for Young People in Work Based Learning (WBL)

4.1 Financial Support for Young People in Work Based Learning (WBL)

Relevant Young People -in all cases the principle in Section 3.1, Living Allowance should apply. Relevant young people will normally have their housing (plus housing support) costs met in full by the Local Authority’s Looked After Children and Young People’s Service (LACYPS). Relevant young people will normally receive an amount equivalent to Job Seekers Allowance. Relevant young people who are engaged in WBL will normally be entitled to 16 -19 bursary payments.  

Former Relevant Young People (under 20 years) - will normally be entitled to claim Income Support and Housing Benefit if they are on a recognised full-time program of WBL. Where appropriate, young people should be assisted in applying for the maximum amount of benefit to which they are entitled.

Where a young person’s reasonable housing costs and basic maintenance are not met through the welfare benefits system then the local authority will cover these costs for the duration of an agreed programme of training.

Former Relevant Young People (aged 20 years and over) - may not be entitled to claim Income Support or Housing Benefit if they are on a training programme. Other forms of assistance through the Welfare Benefits system may be available and these should always be explored with the young person. Specialist advice should be sought where necessary.

Additional financial support to assist young people with their accommodation and maintenance costs should be considered once other funding streams have been reasonably considered and taken into account. The level of financial support should be based on a thorough assessment of the young person’s financial and other needs.

Financial support for Former Relevant young people may continue beyond age 21 years where the young person is continuing an agreed course of education or training. Financial support in most circumstances will not continue beyond age 25 years.

4.2 Additional Support for Young People in Training

Additional support for young people might include:

  • Help with clothes for interviews;
  • Fares to get to interviews;
  • Special clothing or footwear not provided by the training provider;
  • Special equipment not provided by the training provider;
  • Help with transport costs;
  • Help with special needs or health issues.

The list is not exhaustive and pathway plans should take account of individual circumstances when detailing support to be provided.


5. Part 5 - Assistance and Support for Young People in Employment

Relevant young people - will normally have their (reasonable) housing (+ housing support) costs met in full by the local authority whilst they are in employment.

Where young people are receiving living allowance through the local authority prior to commencing employment, these payments shall continue for up to 4 weeks to ensure that young people are in receipt of their wages or salaries. Where a young person’s income is not sufficient to ensure that they have no less than the equivalent of Income Based Job Seekers Allowance to live on, after reasonable housing and travel costs have been met” then the local authority will ensure that any shortfall is met.

Former Relevant Young People (under 20 years) - may be entitled to assistance with their housing costs via Housing Benefit. Where appropriate, young people should be assisted in applying for the maximum amount of benefit to which they are entitled. When a young person’s income is not sufficient to ensure that they have, no less than the equivalent of Income Based Job Seekers Allowance to live on. If, after other reasonable sources of income have been obtained, then the local authority will ensure that any shortfall is met.

5.1 Young People Doing Recognised Voluntary Work

If a young person, otherwise unemployed, is engaged in recognised voluntary work for at least 4 hours per week, an additional incentive may be paid. The level of the payment should reflect the level of the commitment undertaken by the young person and agreed by the team manager.

5.2 Additional Support for Young People in Employment

Additional support for young people might include:

  • Help with clothes for interviews
  • Fares to get to interviews
  • Special clothing or footwear not provided by the employer
  • Driving lessons
  • Help with transport costs during the first month of employment
  • Help with special needs or health issues

The list is not exhaustive and pathway plans should take account of individual circumstances when detailing support to be provided.


6. Part 6 - Setting Up Home Allowance

6.1 Setting Up Home Allowance

The local authority will support young people to set up their own home through the provision of information, advice, practical help and support. This will be planned and discussed with the young person, and written into the Pathway Plan.

Eligible, Relevant and Former Relevant and Qualifying young people are entitled to a Setting Up Home Allowance.

Due to their circumstances a young person may not have taken up their entitlement of a Setting Up Home Allowance by the age of 21. A care leaver may apply for access to their Setting Up Home Allowance up to the age of 24. This ruling reflects that some care leavers may not be ready to live independently prior to the age of 21, and their move into independence is not accelerated by the ‘need’ to access their Setting Up Home Allowance.

The young person’s Setting Up Home Allowance should only be spent on goods relating to setting up (and in exceptional circumstances, maintaining) their home. Young people can ‘draw down’ against their Setting Up Home Allowance throughout the period of them receiving a leaving care service. Monies from a young person’s Setting Up Home Allowance can be used to set up home and move between different accommodation settings throughout the period that a young person receives a service.

Some young people may be entitled to other assistance through the Welfare Benefits system. Young people should be assisted in maximising their uptake of Welfare Benefits where appropriate.

Young people should be given reasonable choice about how, and from where they purchase goods and services when setting up home. Advice should be given to young people about value for money, quality and safety in respect to the goods and services they wish to purchase. Leaving Care personnel should apply ‘good parenting’ principles when finalising decisions about the purchase of goods and services via young people’s Setting Up Home Allowance.

A member of staff will supervise all items purchased from the Setting Up Home Allowance.

6.2 New Home ‘Starter Pack’

When a young person moves into their own accommodation for the first time they should be provided with a ‘starter pack’, consisting of food and cleaning materials. A young person will also receive an agreed amount of money for gas and electricity.

6.3 TV Licences / Home Insurance

The local authority will purchase the first TV licence and home insurance, once a young person moves into independent living accommodation.


7. Part 7 - Other Financial Support

7.1 Birthday Allowances

Young people will receive a birthday present and card from the local authority on their birthday Young people can continue to receive a birthday present and card until they are 21 years old. If a young person is in contact with the Local Authority until the age of 24 or over, due to their continuing higher/further education, then a birthday present and card may be given until they have finished their agreed studies.

It is at the discretion of the Personal Adviser to decide whether or not to give a shop/book token as a present, or to present the young person with a gift.

In addition to this, the Personal Adviser may take the young person out for a meal when the young person is 18 or 21 years old. Alcohol cannot be purchased with public money.

7.2 Festival Allowance

Where appropriate, an annual festival allowance will be available to all relevant young people. The young person should receive either cash or a present (or combination of the two) to the approximate value of 1x weekly living allowance during the period of the festival that they choose to celebrate.

All young people will who are living semi or fully independently will receive a festival allowance annually (current rate). 

7.3 Clothing Allowances

Eligible and Relevant young people living independently do not have clothing provision built into their accommodation costs and although they receive Living Allowance, this is not sufficient to adequately provide for clothing needs. For those young people, they will receive an annual allowance towards clothing.

The method of payment of this grant will be at the Social Workers discretion i.e. it may be viewed that the young person would be better clothed if the payment was in two halves.

Having received a clothing grant, young people on ‘Living Allowance’ will be expected to maintain their clothing and would only receive additional assistance in exceptional circumstances.

Once a young person is no longer Looked After, they cease to receive a clothing allowance from the Local Authority. From this point onwards, young people will be in receipt of their own income and encouraged to budget their money in order to purchase clothing and shoes/footwear.

In terms of budgeting, young people may need some help with clothing/footwear as they make the transition from being looked after to being independent and managing their money. It is at the discretion of the local authority to agree payments for young people in these situations. Decisions should be made on a case by case basis.

Young people who have experienced a crisis and have no change of clothes may request assistance from the local Authority and their request may be considered as a way of covering shortfalls from insurance cover payouts.

7.4 Holidays and Events

An allowance of 2 x basic Living Allowance may be payable to Relevant and Former Relevant young people who are going on holiday. Where it is not appropriate for a young person to go on holiday (or where they choose not to) the provision of funding for alternative arrangements, such as a special event or activity should be considered.

The local authority will not fund the holiday, but may help towards the cost of the holiday, and is at the discretion of the local authority team manager as to whether a contribution can be made and the amount.

Details regarding arrangements for assistance with holiday finances, or events should be recorded in young people’s pathway plans.

7.5 Support with Contingencies and Emergencies

Pathway Plans should always contain arrangements for contingencies and emergencies that may arise. Generally, it is the responsibility of the young person’s Personal Adviser, to act as the first point of contact should the unexpected happen or things go wrong. It is a guiding principle that the Local Authority should act as a good parent in these situations and that there is an understanding that young people do make mistakes and these should be treated with sensitivity.

In its role as a good corporate parent the local authority will be available for help, advice and information. Where a young person is requesting exceptional financial help, which is not included in the procedures above, the local authority must consider the following questions before making a decision:

  • Has the young person had emergency payments before? If yes, then what were they for and how long ago?
  • Is an unhealthy sense of dependence likely to be perpetuated if we continue to make payments of this nature?
  • Has the young person been offered practical help with budgeting of their income? If so, did they take up the offer?
  • Can the young person apply for a Crisis Loan?
  • What kind of risks might the young person face if we do not agree the request?

Financial support for contingencies may be made in kind with the approval of the team manager.

When young people receive one off financial assistance, an agreed person, i.e. local authority or a nominated person will supervise the spending of cash appropriately

Where young people repeatedly abuse contingency provisions staff should carefully consider other means to ensure that their basic needs are met.

7.6 Health

Where it is agreed that the young person has a particular health need that cannot be met through existing funding arrangements, the local authority will consider funding.

This would, for instance, include the funding of eyesight tests and new glasses and in some cases dental care for some young people.

Any additional health needs that young people aged 18 and over have as a result of a disability/special need will need to be funded through health or Community Care services. All health needs and requirements need to be evident in the young person’s pathway plan.

7.7 Support with Contact

The Local Authority recognises the high importance that family members can play in young people’s lives and will encourage, where appropriate, young people to maintain regular contact with family members.

Pathway Plans should identify significant people who the young person needs to keep in contact with, and how contact will happen.

Suitable arrangements should be made to ensure that the young person has the means to facilitate a reasonable level of contact with family members, key kin and significant others.

7.8 Access to Leisure

Young people should be encouraged to make use of leisure facilities, and to pursue sports, hobbies and pastimes.

Some young people may have talents or abilities, which should be encouraged and nurtured. Financial support through a pathway plan might include:

  • Help with sports equipment;
  • Help with musical instruments, tuition costs, exam fees, sheet music etc;
  • Help with membership fees of clubs, leisure centres, gyms etc;
  • Special training or coaching fees;
  • Music or singing lessons;
  • Payments for sports clubs or facilities.

Assistance may be available through other sources e.g. sporting or arts based organisations, or through education or youth work initiatives. In some circumstances it may be possible to fund part of the cost of activities by ‘match funding’ with another organisation, or for the young person to make a contribution himself or herself.

This list is not exhaustive and Pathway Plans should take account of individual circumstances when detailing support to be provided. As a general principle any activity, which encourages the young person to use their time constructively, promotes a healthy lifestyle, and/or helps the young person develop and maintain positive relationships should be considered within the planning process.

Items or activities funded under this section will be in line with needs identified in the Pathway Plan, and at the discretion of the team manager.

7.9 Specialist Services

Some young people may have special needs, or require specialist help or counselling and these requirements should be set out in the pathway plan. Financial support through a pathway plan might include:

  • Specialist counselling fees;
  • Specialist equipment costs;
  • Transport to access support services;
  • Access to special cultural or religious facilities;
  • Access to community support facilities;
  • Help with accessing health advice and medical facilities.

This list is not exhaustive and pathway plans should take account of individual circumstances when detailing support to be provided. Financial assistance may be available from other sources. Where appropriate, these should be explored and utilised.

7.10 Winter Fuel Payments

Winter fuel payments are available to Eligible, Relevant and Former Relevant young people living in independent accommodation, and responsible for the payment of heating costs for the accommodation.

Winter fuel payments will be paid between 1st November and 31st March. The level of payment should be based upon a current assessment of the young person and their accommodation.

Before agreeing this additional financial support, workers should ensure that;

  • Young people are assisted and encouraged to take normal measures to make their homes energy efficient (i.e. draught excluders, curtains, and use of timers on boilers and electric storage heaters, low energy light-bulbs etc.);
  • Where applicable, young people are assisted and encouraged to raise any structural deficiencies (i.e. cracked windows, excessively draughty doors or windows, faulty or inefficient heating systems) with their landlords and request that they are rectified as quickly as possible.

Wherever possible, the winter fuel payment should be paid direct to the utility provider on behalf of the young person.

7.11 Travel Costs

In normal circumstances, young people will be expected to pay for usual travel costs.

There are particular circumstances where a young person can request help with travel.

Young people can get help with travel costs to and from college. If young people are in further education or training and are getting incentive payments, they will usually be expected to buy a travel pass or pay for travel costs from their own income. However, a young person who has significant travel can make a request to the Local Authority for additional help with travel to and from college or a training placement.

Young people in employment can request help with travel to and from work until they are paid. If a young person needs financial help with travel costs, these payments will be at the discretion of the Personal Adviser, and authorised by the team manager.

Eligible and Relevant young people who are placed outside of the local authority and residing in transitional or emergency accommodation may be provided with travel expenses if appropriate.

7.12 Identification/Document Replacement Costs

There is provision for young people to have one copy of their birth certificate, should the original be lost.

If a young person has the opportunity to go abroad, whether for a holiday, educational visit, exchange or to work, or to use as valid identification (in the absence of no other form of identification); the local authority will offer to fund a passport, should the young person not have one.

Young people leaving care who are unaccompanied asylum seeking children will need documentation that evidences their identity; the local authority will finance the identification documentation.

7.13 Provisional Driving Licences

The local authority recognises that young peoples’ employability is likely to increase if they are able to drive.

A provisional driving licence may be purchased for all Eligible, Relevant and Former Relevant young people if it assists with the aims identified in their Pathway Plan in respect of education, training and employment. Applications will be authorised by the team manager

7.14 Accommodation – Bond Schemes

Care leavers taking up private rented accommodation may be required to pay a security bond. This amount is usually equivalent to one month’s rent as is usually redeemable at the end of the tenancy. The repayment is usually conditional upon the tenancy being clean and undamaged at the time that the young person vacates the property.

For those care leavers who indicate that private rented accommodation may be their preferred option, the use of part of the Setting up Home Allowance should not be used to finance a bond

To consider a bond payment, the worker should ensure that the payment is a reasonable one with reasonable conditions and the care leaver is in agreement. The Personal Adviser should be thorough in their checking of such arrangements and not just rushed into agreement because the young person has found a property and is enthusiastic about moving in. A report will be provided to justify the funding of a security bond and must be authorised by the team manager.

7.15 Young People Representing the LACYPS

Care leavers who represent the service e.g. being on the panel at a job interview or attending an event, will receive an agreed amount as recognition of their contribution to the service.

7.16 Young People Remanded or Subject to Custodial Sentence

A weekly payment will be made to the young person up to the maximum amount allowed by the custody establishment, via a postal order made payable to ‘HMPS’. It is important that the young person’s name and prison number are written on the reverse.

Young people who are eligible for leaving care payments will continue to receive financial support for birthdays and cultural festivals as set out in the leaving care procedures. These payments will be given in accordance with a young person’s pathway plan, and maybe held on their behalf until their release from custody.

Eligible or Relevant Young Person - remanded or subject to a custodial sentence will receive a weekly sum.

Former Relevant young person - remanded or subject to a custodial sentence will receive a monthly sum.

Qualifying Young Person - financial support will be agreed based on an assessment of the young person.

End