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15.1 Leaving Care

This chapter should be read in conjunction with any relevant policies and procedures of Fostering First and St Christopher’s.


Part B Guidance to the Children & Young Persons Act 2001


  1. Introduction
  2. Definitions
  3. Leaving Care Assessment of Need
  4. Pathway Planning
  5. Reviews of Pathway Plans
  6. Aftercare Workers
  7. Qualifying Young People
  8. Where Care Leavers Live or Move Outside the Area
  9. Complaints
  10. ICS Records

1. Introduction

Caption: Introduction
1.1 The Isle of Man does not have legislation which mandates service provision for children who have been in care after they have turned 18 years old. However, this procedure is based on best practice guidance from the UK which must be used as a guide. Social Workers / Managers should also look at Supporting Independence: St Christopher's Isle of Man Aftercare Services.

2. Definitions


In the UK (and thus in Isle of Man), young people who are eligible for services fall in to one of the following categories:

  • Eligible Young People are young people aged 16 or 17, have been CLA After for a period or periods totalling at least 13 weeks starting after their 14th birthday and are still Looked After. (This total does not include a series of short-term placements of up to four weeks where the child has returned to the parent.) There is a duty to support these young people up to the age of 18;
  • Relevant Young People are those aged 16 or 17 who are no longer Looked After, having previously been in the category of Eligible Young People when Looked After. However, if after leaving the Looked After service, a young person returns home for a period of 6 months or more to be cared for by a parent and the return home has been formally agreed as successful, he or she will no longer be a Relevant Young Person. A young person is also Relevant if, having been looked after for three months or more, he or she is then detained after their 16th birthday either in hospital, remand centre, young offenders' institution or secure training centre. There is a duty to support relevant young people up to the age of 18, wherever they are living;
  • Qualifying Young People are young people over the age of 16 and under the age of 21, and have been Looked After or, if disabled, Privately Fostered after reaching 16 or are the subject of a Special Guardianship Order and were Looked After immediately before the Special Guardianship Order was made, but do not qualify as Eligible Young People, Relevant Young People or Former Relevant Young People. They may receive support, advice and assistance;
  • Former Relevant Young People are young people aged 18 to 21 (or up to 24 if in full-time further or higher education), and have left the Looked After service having been previously either Eligible Young People, Relevant Young People or both. There is a duty to consider the need to support these young people.

3. Leaving Care Assessment of Need

3.1 The young person's social worker will be responsible for leading and coordinating the Needs Assessment (Part 1) which will inform the Pathway Plan.
3.2 The assessment will be commissioned at the last scheduled CLA Review before the young person's sixteenth birthday. For young people who become looked after later than the age of 15 ½ this will be his or her first Looked After Review.
3.3 This assessment must be completed no more than 3 months after the young person's 16th birthday or after the young person becomes an Eligible or Relevant Young Person if this is later. The timetable must take account of any forthcoming exams and avoid disrupting the young person's preparation for them.

The young person's CLA Plan together with information from the most recent NARRATES will form the basis of the Needs Assessment, together with the Personal Education Plan, Health Care Plan and, where applicable, the Transition Plan. The assessment will cover the dimensions of the young person's needs, i.e:

  • Health;
  • Education, training and employment;
  • Identity;
  • Family and social relationships;
  • Emotional and behavioural development;
  • Self-care skills and social presentation;
  • Self-care skills and finance;
  • Support, family and environmental factors;
  • Accommodation needs.
3.5 The young person's social worker will be responsible for recording the assessment information and conclusions as well as the outcome of any meetings held. The young person must be consulted and involved in the completion of the assessment, including being invited to any meetings held in connection with the assessment.

The Needs Assessment must take account of the views of the following:

  • The young person;
  • The parents and others with Parental Responsibility, with consultation with the young person (this is to ensure young person's rights to confidentiality);
  • Any other family member who is important to the young person;
  • The current carer;
  • The school/college and the education service;
  • Any person providing health care or treatment for the young person;
  • Any other relevant person including, in the case of a young person with special needs, a representative from Adult Services.
3.7 Young people with particular language or communication needs must be provided throughout the process with appropriate interpretation, translation or advocacy support.  
3.8 Where the young person refuses to engage in the assessment process, this must be recorded, together with any actions taken to ascertain the young person's views.
3.9 The Needs Assessment will inform the development of a Pathway Plan which complements and forms part of the young person's CLA Plan.
3.10 Where the young person continues to be Looked After, the Placement Information Record must describe what arrangements have been made within the placement to support the Pathway Plan.
3.11 Once a needs assessment has been completed, the social worker will notify the Aftercare Team that Pathway Planning has begun and involve them in the process.

4. Pathway Planning

4.1 All young people will have a Pathway Plan in place within 3 months of becoming Eligible Young People and, it is expected that a Pathway Plan will be in place by the young person's 16th birthday.
4.2 The Pathway Plan will replace a young person's Care Plan and any Personal Education Plan will inform and complement the Pathway Plan.
4.3 Each young person will be central to drawing up their own Pathway Plan setting the goals and identifying how the Department will help meet them. Young people with particular language or communication needs must be provided throughout the process with appropriate interpretation, translation or advocacy support.
4.4 The Pathway Plan must clearly identify the roles of each person who has a part to play in supporting the care leaver.
4.5 The Pathway Plan must identify contingency arrangements that will come into effect to support the young person if, for whatever reason, the planned arrangements are not realised.
4.6 A Financial Summary must be attached to the Plan, at the latest from the point where the young person leaves care. 
4.7 Where a transfer from Children's to Adult Services will be required, the Plan must specify who has responsibility for giving notice to Adult Services and liaising with them to ensure a smooth transition.
4.8 The Team Manager must approve and sign the Pathway Plan. (St Christopher’s will also be expected to approve it). On completion and approval of the Pathway Plan, all parties involved including the young person must sign it. A copy of the Financial Summary must be forwarded to the Finance Section who will process the necessary weekly payments.
4.9 The young person will be provided with a copy of the most up to date Pathway Plan and the contents must be explained. The young person will have a say about with whom the Pathway Plan will be shared when they leave care. If information is to be shared with a person or agency that the young person has not consented to, s/he must be informed of this, with reasons, and be given the opportunity to challenge this decision and to be present when the information is shared.
4.10 Those who have a role in implementing the plan must have a copy of the Pathway Plan, at least, of the part relating to their contribution. 

5. Reviews of Pathway Plans

5.1 The Pathway Plan must be reviewed at least every 6 months.
5.2 Reviews must take place more often if requested by the young person or the Aftercare Worker or where there has been a significant change in the young person's circumstances.
5.3 The purpose of the review is to check that the goals and milestones are still right and that they are being met. All levels of support must be reviewed to ensure that they are adequate and delivered according to plan.
5.4 For an Eligible Young Person, the date for the first review of the Pathway Plan will be set to coincide with the young person's next Looked After Review after the Pathway Plan has been drawn up.
5.5 For a Relevant Young Person, the date for the first review will, if possible, be set at the last Looked After Review before the young person ceases to be looked after and in any case within six months of becoming a relevant young person.
5.6 For a Former Relevant Young Person, the date for the first review will take place within six months of the young person's 18th birthday.
5.7 Whilst the young person is Eligible his or her Independent Reviewing Officer will chair reviews or support the young person to chair.
5.8 Otherwise, a manager from Aftercare or his/her nominee will chair the Pathway Plan reviews or support the young person to chair. 
5.9 The review immediately prior to the young person's 18th birthday will agree how future reviews will be conducted, including whether they will involve face to face meetings, and this will be recorded by the Chairperson. In all cases, even when no formal review meetings are held, the Aftercare manager will retain a monitoring role, at six monthly intervals, to check the progress of the Pathway Plan.
5.10 Other participants at reviews must include the young person, the social worker (if the case is still allocated) and any other significant person.
5.11 The young person's expenses (travelling and subsistence) in attending the review will be met by the department.
5.12 In the event of a Relevant or Former Relevant Young Person breaking off contact and/or not engaging with the agreed support and advice being offered, a review of the Pathway Plan may take place by telephone, e-mail or letter, if agreed in advance by the Chairperson and the Social Worker. In these circumstances the Social Worker will attempt to negotiate a revised plan that is acceptable to all parties. 
5.13 Where contact is lost, the emphasis of the Pathway Plan Review will switch to record how attempts will be made to re-establish contact and these efforts will be reviewed within the established system. 
5.14 A route back for the young person to seek support in the future must be kept open and communicated, for example by sending birthday cards and appropriate festive greetings, and ensuring that the young person receives any circulated information about services or events in which they may have an interest.
5.15 Where a Pathway Plan is amended as a result of a review, the Aftercare Worker will amend the Plan. Any necessary approval to the amended financial arrangements will be sought from the Children and Families Head of Statutory Social Work Services. Once the changes are approved, the Aftercare Worker will send a copy of the amended Plan to the young person, the Chairperson and the Aftercare Manager.

6. Aftercare Workers

6.1 The Aftercare Worker acts as the young person's principal source of contact in any matter relating to the Pathway Plan and is accountable for the effective implementation of the Plan.
6.2 The Aftercare Worker will ensure the co-ordination of other agencies and individuals identified in the Pathway Plan. It is the role of the Aftercare Worker to keep in touch with the young person and to remain informed as to the young person's progress.
6.3 The Aftercare Worker will take responsibility for initiating the review of the Pathway Plan and for recording its outcomes.
6.4 When allocating an Aftercare Worker to an individual young person, consideration must be given to the wishes of the young person and to issues of gender, race, religion, linguistics, disabilities and equal opportunities. The needs assessment and a judgment as to who is most appropriate to fulfil the role of Aftercare Worker will influence the choice and allocation of worker.

7. Qualifying Young People

7.1 Services for Qualifying Young People will be determined by an assessment of need carried out by the Children and Families Services and the St Christopher’s Aftercare Team.
7.2 The support offered, which could be financial, will focus upon helping the young person to manage and cope in the community and to manage the transition to adulthood. Attempts will be made to ensure that they are able to access suitable accommodation and maintain social and family links.
7.3 Where necessary, in addition to support, practical help must be offered to the young person. This could include helping to acquire basic living skills and consideration of health needs and choices. Where necessary, links will be made with other services and assistance can be provided when he or she has to have contact with other agencies. Advice and support must also be offered in relation to employment, training and educational opportunities.
7.4 Where a Qualifying Young Person accesses education, or training, financial assistance, this will be possible to the age of 24. This will ensure that he or she is able to take advantage of the opportunities being offered.
7.5 The young person's social worker must also help to identify, secure and pay for vacation accommodation, for those qualifying young people who have accessed higher education, or residential further education courses.
7.6 Approval for the provision of such financial support must be sought by the young person's social worker by making a written request to the Children and Families Head of Statutory Social Work Services.
7.7 The request must specify the type of financial support sought, the reason for the request and the total cost involved.

8. Where Care Leavers Live or Move Outside the Area

8.1 Where a care leaver resides off island, the Isle of Man staff must seek to ensure that a service is provided that is commensurate with the service which he or she would receive if he or she had remained resident in the area.
8.2 Whenever possible, plans for movement of care leavers off island must be discussed and the level of service provision agreed with the host authority concerned prior to the move taking place.
8.3 All care leavers must be advised on how to access care leavers' services if they leave the Island and need assistance. The advice provided must be in written form.
8.4 With young people moving off Island, a discussion and joint meeting between the respective Teams must be arranged.

9. Complaints

9.1 All those eligible for support under these procedures and qualifying young people over the age of 16 have access to the Complaints Policy and Procedure.

10. ICS Records


The following section summarises the key records that must be completed within the Integrated Children's System (ICS)

  • Pathway Plan;
  • Pathway Plan Review Record.