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Cared for children and care leavers

Care leavers come into contact with a range of services including Housing, Health, employers and further education; yet they are often not recognised as a priority group for services.

Improving how Rochdale Borough Council and partner agencies support young people leaving care is crucial to improving the lives of this vulnerable group of people. Care leavers require services which are integrated, easy to access and embedded within local communities.

Care Leavers Offer

The care leavers offer strategy sets out the principles and the process by which Rochdale BC, along with other agencies aims to make sure Rochdale’s care leavers are provided with comprehensive personal support so they achieve their potential as they make their transition to adulthood. It has been informed by the HM Government Care Leavers Strategy – October 2013.

For further information please see the Care Leavers Offer download (external link).

Staying Put

You can now stay with your foster carers until you are 21 or 25 if you are in full-time higher education or have a disability.

Staying Put supports young people leaving care to continue to live with their foster carer/s when they reach 18. It is a decision for you and your foster carer. From the age of 16 your social worker and independent reviewing officer will begin to discuss Staying Put with you to see if this is an option suitable to you.

Who Qualifies?

Not everyone can be considered for a Staying Put arrangement. The government has decided young people who were an ‘eligible child’ can continue to live with their carer after 18 years of age.

It doesn’t matter how long you've been living with your foster carer or whether your foster carer is from a local authority, family or friends, an independent fostering agency or if they receive a skill-based payment to meet your needs.

Staying Put arrangements can continue until you're 21 years of age or stop living in the household before that time. If you leave your Staying Put arrangement for any reason, you can return but this will impact the support provided. We have a duty to monitor and support all Staying Put arrangements, and this will include financial support.

Accommodation for cared for children

As part of your Pathway Plan your social worker and personal advisor will help you choose the most appropriate accommodation to meet your needs. This may include:

Taster flats - live on your own for a short period of time before deciding whether you're ready to rent your own house or flat on a long term basis.

Supported accommodation - this is a stepping stone to renting your own house or flat. Help is on hand for day-to-day tasks such as budgeting, cooking and shopping. Most people tend to stay in supported accommodation for between 6 months and 2 years.

Renting your own house or flat - when you're ready, talk to your social worker or personal advisor who will help you decide whether it's the right time to find independent accommodation.

For different housing options please see our housing section (internal link).

Education and jobs for cared for children

There is plenty of support on offer for cared-for young people looking to further their education or career.

Boroughwide apprenticeship programme

Apprenticeships consist of full time employment while working towards nationally accredited qualifications. Apprentices will be expected to combine employment with external assessments and exams. Apprenticeships are available with Rochdale Borough Council up to degree level. You will receive a wage whilst completing the apprenticeship.

To apply for an apprenticeship you must:

  • Have GCSE grade C in English and maths, or be very close to completing apprenticeship qualifications and;
  • Must be able to work 30 to 37 hours a week.

If you're a cared-for young person or care leaver, speak to your personal adviser where you can receive information about opportunities with the council before they're advertised to the public.

Traineeships with the council

A traineeship is a ‘stepping stone’ programme to prepare young people, aged 16 to 24 for employment and apprenticeships. The aim is to help care leavers get more work experience, employability skills or improved grades.

  • It lasts for up to 6 months.
  • Candidates will combine relevant qualifications with extensive work experience.
  • Working hours will vary with a minimum of about 16 hours per week.
  • You'll get support for travel costs during the programme.
  • It won't affect any benefits you receive.
  • While you don't receive payment during the traineeship you're guaranteed a work placement within the council which will enhance your CV and could lead to further opportunities.

You need to have achieved grade D/E for GCSE English and maths.

If you're a cared-for young person or care leaver, speak to your personal adviser where you can receive information about opportunities with the council before they're advertised to the public.

For different education and skiils options please see our education and skills section (internal link).

Access your records

Accessing the information about your time in care can be daunting, exciting, exhilarating and nerve-wracking. It can be life-changing, or merely satisfy your curiosity. For many, it is a very positive and uplifting experience.

There can be a range of reasons why you may want to do this, including:

  • Curiosity about why you came into care
  • What happened and when
  • A need to make sense of difficult memories and life events
  • To clarify explanations
  • A desire to trace family members
  • Seeking medical information in reference to hereditary illness/disease
  • To obtain photos/certificates.

Requesting personal information from the council

There are a few steps you need to take before we can release personal information held by us. We usually charge​ £10 to access records, however this does not apply to care leavers.​

Virtual school for cared for children

The virtual school aims to decrease the educational gap between cared for c​hildren (looked after children) and other children. Our aim is to ensure that young people in Rochdale’s care achieve their full potential in education. Many cared for children don't do as well as their classmates at school, many finish school with fewer qualifications and far fewer go on to further education or university.

To help improve their educational chances and outcomes, we treat them as if they were in a virtual school with their own virtual head teacher. This is in addition to attending ​​their own school, nursery or college.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​As well as supporting parents and carers, the virtual school also supports teachers, social workers, colleges and nurseries. We can give them ideas and suggestions and ensure that the right questions are asked about how to improve the education of a child in care.

For further information please see the Rochdale Borough Council website (external link).

Have your say about your care

What you think is really important as it should inform almost every decision we make about your care.

You have the opportunity to express your wishes, feelings, report any concerns, worries, anything you're pleased about, aspirations and more through statutory meetings as well as voluntary options.

For further information please see the Rochdale Borough Council website (external link).

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