Young People's Zone

I am an Eligible Child

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE AN ELIGIBLE CHILD?

After the age of 16, the law gets a bit complicated because you are now a care leaver and different rules apply depending on your age and where you are living. The information below is for you if you are:

  • Aged 16 or 17
  • Have been in care (with foster carers or in a children’s home) for at least 13 weeks since your 14th birthday
  • Are still in care (with foster carers or in a children’s home).

If this applies to you then the law says that you are a special category of care leaver known as being an “eligible child” (the part of the law that says this is Schedule 2, Paragraph 19B Children Act 1989 and regulation 40 of the Care Planning Regulations 2010).

(To check to see if you are an “eligible child”, please see our ‘Are you a care leaver?’ page.)

When you turn 16, things change a little bit in terms of the law. Even though you are still in care living with your foster carers or in the children’s home, you are also now a care leaver and this means that Children’s Services must:

  • Provide you with a Personal Advisor (sometimes called a PA): They are similar to social workers but they work with older young people to support them to live independently or to get ready to live independently (the part of the law that says this is Regulation 44 Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) Regulations 2010).
  • Do a Needs Assessment: This will look at whether you are ready to live on your own as well as looking at other things such as your health, education and financial needs. Being ready means that you can do things like cook, wash your own clothes and manage your money (the part of the law that says this is Schedule 2, paragraph 19B(4) Children Act 1989).
  • Draw up a Pathway Plan: Once they have done the Needs Assessment, they will then draw up a Pathway Plan with you. This is a really important document and it is important you are part of deciding what goes in it. We recommend you take part in the meetings to draw up and review your Pathway Plan even if you don’t like meetings – it’s that important! (the part of the law that says this is Schedule 2, paragraph 19B(4) Children Act 1989)
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