Our local offer for care leavers


As a care leaver moving to a more independent life, we want to help you to be happy and successful in whatever you want to do.

This webpage sets out the support that we can offer you.

Please take the time to read this and identify what is most relevant to you and your situation. Your social worker or Personal Advisor will discuss with you the help we can provide and ensure you get the best possible support.

Some of the services here are automatic, such as a health passport. Others may depend on your circumstances, so please talk to your personal advisor or social worker about the support on offer, discuss any queries you might have and let them know what you need - even if it isn’t on the list.

Having what you need as you make the transition to an independent adult life is your legal right and something we believe is vital for our care leavers when they are starting out.

By the time you reach the age of 16, you will already be having conversations about your goals and aspirations with your PA or social worker who will work with you to put together a package of services to create your Pathway Plan.

Having the right skills, practical support and financial help is very important.  For instance, learning how to budget or how to apply for a grant to support your education or find the right place to live.

Emotional health and wellbeing

  • a ‘health passport’ which details your health history
  • support with registering with local health services when moving home
  • transport costs when attending hospital or doctors’ appointments
  • somebody to go with you on visits to the doctor or hospital If you are under 18 (if that’s what you would like)
  • access to a looked after children’s nurse until the age of 18, and
  • access to specialist counselling and therapy from 16 to 25. This includes specific support for young people who came to this country as an unaccompanied child seeking asylum

Education, training and employment Support

For all care leavers

  • a laptop or tablet and WI-FI access
  • help with writing a CV, with interview skills and finding work from the Youth Employability Service (YES)
  • help with buying interview clothes and the cost of travel to interviews
  • support for specific clothing and equipment on an individual basis
  • DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) which details a person’s criminal record is free of charge
  • English as an additional language lessons
  • extra support may be available for tutoring and equipment costs if you are over 16
  • funding for a uniform, interviews, tools, and equipment costs
  • financial support for childcare is considered on an individual basis
  • further support to seek training or employment opportunities though the Youth Employability Service (YES)
  • financial support is considered on an individual basis
  • support at the Department for Work and Pensions or Job Centres from a named person who can help with difficulties or issues
  • a weekly drop-in service for care leavers who are not in education and training; and
  • celebratory vouchers recognising academic achievement

For care leavers in school or further education

  • a Personal Educational Plan (PEP) with a review each term, until the end of school or college
  • more support for under-18s in education based on need
  • access to the Youth Employability Service from Year 10 or care leavers in school or further education
  • help with applications for a bursary or other financial support that may be available, for example some vocational courses are funded
  • support with housing costs for young people in training or education
  • exam fees are covered for further education

For care leavers in higher education

  • funding for UCAS or CUCAS applications for university if needed and support with interview costs
  • help with attending open days
  • funding and support for the cost of travel to attend university pre-course
  • accommodation costs will be paid, including during the holidays if needed
  • universities may guarantee accommodation in their halls of residence for the first year of study
  • a £2,000 bursary and support to apply for extra finance and maintenance grants via student finance
  • link up with the university contact to find out about bursaries - and we will ask you to stay in touch with your support network at university
  • a PA will support with the move, including moving costs
  • specialist worker available to contact universities, tutors, and support services.
  • if internship is part of your course, accommodation paid for and some help with travel expenses
  • graduation ceremony supported

For care leavers on training programmes or apprenticeships

  • industry-specific training or accreditation costs can be funded, such as CSCS Safe Certificate for building sites
  • enough money to live on until first wages are received
  • help with the cost of travel and equipment
  • work experience or a job at East Sussex County Council may be possible
  • if an internship is part of a course, accommodation and travel expenses will be paid for
  • support with housing costs available for young people in training or education

For care leavers in employment

  • enough money to live on until first wages are received
  • work experience or a job at East Sussex County Council may be possible
  • Guaranteed Interview Scheme in place for suitable care leavers when applying for posts within ESCC
  • industry-specific training or accreditation costs can be funded, such as CSCS Safe Certificate for building sites
  • support for access to apprenticeships

Accommodation/where you live

  • at 17½ a personalised housing plan meeting with a housing officer and PA to start a housing register application
  • support with a ‘staying put’ arrangement to remain where you are, if this is what you and your foster carers or supported lodging providers want
  • young Person's Housing Pathway in place which ensures you can access three options and move between them until you are ready to move on to fully independent living:
  1. Low to high levels of supported accommodation
  2. Placement Support workers to help in managing a private or social sector tenancy
  3. Shared student-style accommodation for those in employment, education or training
  • all East Sussex districts and boroughs recognise care leavers as priority bidders, although they are not guaranteed band A status
  • each care leaver has a housing pathway plan agreed upon with the District Council
  • support in a housing crisis which ensures you have somewhere to live up to age 21
  • help to access a £2,000 setting up home grant to furnish your first property. From April 2023 this will rise to £3,000
  • help to move into your property including suitcases or suitable holdalls provided where necessary to help with moving
  • assistance with bigger purchases, white goods and furniture, to ensure good value for money
  • support to get help with setting up home from charities and other schemes
  • PA to help care leavers in assessing the health and safety risks of property
  • safety equipment provided, such as smoke alarms, door locks etc.
  • practical support arranged with furnishing and decorating
  • initial TV licence
  • first food shop and energy top-up paid ahead of receipt of benefits
  • advice on maintaining a tenancy, avoiding rent arrears, paying bills etc. from your personal advisor, placement support workers and from independence courses run by the Through Care Service
  • further support this can be provided by Homework floating support worker
  • continued use of white goods schemes
  • support with housing services to explore your options, including supported accommodation (if you are not ready to live independently or have your own tenancy)
  • Council Tax exemption in place for all care leavers up to the day before a care leaver's 25th birthday for residents within East Sussex
  • former unaccompanied asylum-seeking children that do not have leave to remain are funded and supported with their accommodation post 18



  • help through the Skill Journal’s section on managing finances
  • dedicated PA in Care Leaver team can ensure correct advice is provided with benefits claims
  • specialist financial advice provided via The Share Foundation
  • money management and budgetary advice provided by individual PAs, including access to courses in money management
  • The Share Foundation ISA is in place for those young people and children that are looked after for 12 months or more
  • Individual support is given to open and manage bank accounts
  • help to obtain your National Insurance Number
  • a gift on your birthday, at Christmas or a significant religious festival that you celebrate. Milestone birthdays (16, 18 & 21) receive a larger gift
  • young people aged 16/17 who are in foster or residential care will be financially supported through their carer
  • a living allowance of £65 per week (£70 from April 2023) from age 16 to 18 if you are living in supported lodgings or semi-independent accommodation
  • clothing allowance of £800 will be paid to 16/17-year-olds who are not living in foster or residential care
  • clothing allowance of £400 to those over 18 and living in independent or semi-independent accommodation. Clothing allowance does not apply to those at university
  • clothing allowance of £200 to those who are staying put
  • support to make a claim for Universal Credit and have named link workers at Job Centres and DWP
  • exempt from Council Tax until you are 25 if you are living in East Sussex
  • Individual financial support in times of crisis is given on an individual basis up to the age of 21. This may include additional monies made available during periods of benefit sanction, or assistance in acquiring food bank vouchers
  • train fines, and rent arrears will be managed to ensure care leaver is not disadvantaged
  • financial support for all unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASC) who are unable to claim benefits whilst their claim for asylum is being processed


Participation in society

  • care leavers celebrated at the annual Children in Care Awards
  • membership of East Sussex’s Care Leavers Council to co-produce improvements to our leaving care service
  • the opportunity to be part of regional and national participation events
  • participation in recruitment of new staff into Children's Services with vouchers for taking part
  • communication with care leavers is via WhatsApp and Facebook as well as text or email
  • help can be made available to support hobbies or to be part of clubs, etc
  • although there are no formal arrangements in place to learn to drive, please discuss with your PA
  • CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) funded on an individual basis
  • social events, and activities are organised – ask a PA for details or look at the Facebook page
  • support for the National Citizenship Scheme and other similar programmes
  • consideration is given on an individual basis if necessary to support EET for possible match funding
  • resources available from the Digital in Care virtual hub
  • funding and support to attend places of worship
  • celebration religious festivals such as Eid, Christmas, Easter, and Chinese New Year
  • celebratory events held where relevant, such as a graduation ceremony
  • out-of-hours support is provided by social workers and PAs on the basis of individual need
  • extensive support and funding are provided to access and apply for all necessary official documentation


  • family contact is supported. Financial help is provided on an individual basis
  • A personal assistant is available to help maintain contact where needed
  • PA to identify with care leaver any desired contact with previous carers. A care leaver is supported to establish and maintain contact
  • help to reconnect with people who are important to you but whom you have lost contact with or develop support arrangements from your wider network
  • support you to understand your own history - your social worker and or personal assistant can help with this

This can include help for UASC to understand their journey since arriving in the UK

  • access to your social work records. The £10 fee has been waived
  • mentoring, coaching, and training service for young people in further education. Peer mentoring is available
  • mentoring for young men is available


  • support to attend social and support groups -assessed on an individual basis and supported with necessary costs to attend all appointments etc
  • external support networks specialising in LGBTQ+ are available & young people are supported in accessing these services

Young parents

  • access to government maternity grants to be supported
  • £100 gift for baby and costs relating to new baby, such as a buggy
  • individual support on an individual basis for help with childcare costs, to enable care leavers with access to work/education or respite
  • a range of activities is available for parents and their children such as day trips, Christmas parties, etc
  • access to the foundation service for parents who no longer have care of their children

Unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASC)

  • specialist help form UASC team
  • welcome to the UK programme available to support new arrivals to the country
  • specialist education worker embedded, ESOL provision, access to training and work experience
  • UASC-only accommodation is available, including therapeutic accommodation
  • links with local immigration solicitors
  • support for UASC relating to the asylum process and family contact is available via the Refugee Council and other specialist organisations and charities
  • specialist resources to support trafficked children
  • social groups specifically for UASC
  • outreach services are commissioned to support 18+ UASC in the community

You are currently able to find copies of the Local Offer in the following languages:

Young people in custody

  • under 18 care leavers in custody receive £10pw
  • all under 18s will receive gifts on birthdays and at Christmas
  • dedicated lead within the care leaver team for prison and youth offending

Disabled care leavers

  • The transitions team work jointly with the care leaver’s team to assess the need for PA involvement during Pathway planning