Young People's Zone

I am a Qualifying Child

What does it mean to be a qualifying 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:

  • Are aged 16 - 21
  • Left care on or after your 16th birthday
  • Before that you had been in care for less than 13 weeks since your 14th birthday
  • A 'relevant child' who has returned home for six months or more

If this applies to you then the law says that you are a special category of care leaver known as being a “qualifying child” (the part of the law that says this is Paragraph 24 Children Act 1989).

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

As a qualifying child, Children's Services MUST:

  • Give you advice and support
  • Keep in touch with you
  • Provide or pay for accommodation during college or university holidays if you are studying full-time away from home, up to the age of 25.

Children's Services MAY also:

  • Find you somewhere to live in exceptional circumstances
  • Provide you with other support by buying the items you need directly or, in exceptional circumstances, by giving you cash if your education and welfare needs require it
  • Give you a grant to pay for expenses related to your education, training and work needs up to the age of 25
  • Contribute to living expenses related with your education and training, up to the age of 25.
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