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Information and advice for young people in Suffolk

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Leaving care support

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The Leaving Care Service in Suffolk

The Leaving Care Service works with young people who are in care to help them to prepare for independent living from the age of 16 up to the age of 25. Most young people leave care at the time of their 18th birthday, but can continue to receive support with accessing education, employment and housing. 

Accessing support

One of the best ways to find out what the Leaving Care Service is doing in your local area and how they could help you, is to follow the Leaving Care Service on Facebook.

www.facebook.com/SuffolkLeavingCareService

16UP is the newsletter from the service that shows what young people have been doing, and publicises activities and events that you can get involved with. You can send in your own article if there's something that you want to share.

Download 16UP - April issue (PDF, 3061KB)

The Leaving Care Teams 
There are three Leaving Care Service teams based around the county - in Lowestoft, Bury and Ipswich, contact details for each office where they are based is below. You can find out more official information about the service on the Suffolk County Council website: www.suffolk.gov.uk

Ipswich
Call 01473 264949 or write to:
Infobar, Constantine House, Constantine Road, Ipswich, Suffolk IP1 2DH

Bury St Edmunds
Call 01284 758488 or write to:
West Suffolk House, Western Way, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk IP33 3YU

Lowestoft
Call 01502 521490 or write to:
The Marina, Lowestoft, Suffolk NR32 1HH 

Your right to support

As a care leaver, you're entitled to receive different types of support.

The support and help that you can expect to receive includes:

  • Access to a Personal Advisor (PA) from the age of 18.
  • How your pathway plan works.
  • Support around your living arrangements.
  • Help with financial support and advice.
  • Support with education, training and employment.
  • Support with health needs and accessing services.

Visit the Children's Commissioner website to find out more about the support that you might be entitled to as a care leaver.

Financial support

To see what kind of financial support and allowances you may be entitled to, download the Finance Guide for care leavers, which has information about the money you can expect to receive at 16+ or after leaving care (please note that leaflet is currently being updated). For a full explanation about how Suffolk County Council (SCC) provides financial support to care leavers you can read the SCC leaving care financial policy

Become. the charity for children in care and care leavers has created a simple factsheet explaining about financial support for care leavers.

Get the advocacy app

Download the National Youth Advocacy Service app, which has lots of info and advice on being in care and understanding your rights. Download the app for free:

Download from Google Play store
Download from the Apple store

Thinking about going to uni or college?

As a care leaver, you're entitled to receive support from higher education universities and colleges. This could be financial support, support around accommodation, career options, or general advice.

The support on offer to care leavers will vary between different universities and colleges, but you can find out more in the Higher Education Handbook for care leavers.

This handbook also has details about available support for specific education providers in England.

I want to find out information the Council may hold about me (called 'access to records')

If you are a young person who is in care, or perhaps now you are an adult who was once in care you might have some questions about your past. Suffolk Leaving Care Service want to support you to get the answers to those questions.

Through our experience of working with care leavers we recognise that accessing your records is often a really difficult process to go through, so we have some tips and ideas to help you through. (Suffolk Leaving Care service)

  • Firstly speak to your PA or Social Worker, it may be that they can answer some questions for you.
  • If you decide to access your records there is a form to fill out. Your PA or Social Worker can help you with this, or you can do it yourself with the following link: www.suffolk.gov.uk/about/privacy-and-data-protection/
  • You do not have to pay £10 for the ‘access request’ because you have been in care.

Please be advised that when you request your records, any 3rd party information (information not directly about you) has to be redacted (taken out) unless the 3rd party agrees to the information remaining. This means that sometimes there is lots of information you can’t see, which can be frustrating. It may mean that at times you find it hard to find the answers to the questions you have.

Sometimes, you may find out information that you were not aware of and this can be upsetting.

The Leaving Care Service has trained counsellors available to support you through the process of accessing your files. They strongly advise you to set up some counselling to run alongside accessing your files. Even if you feel you don’t need it, it’s a good idea to get booked up, we can always help you to cancel it if you feel your managing well. 

If you don't have a PA or Social Worker you can still follow the same link www.suffolk.gov.uk/about/privacy-and-data-protection/ which will take you to further information and the form to be completed. It might help to have someone fill it out with you. As it states above, accessing your files can be upsetting. If you would like to access counselling it might be a good idea to get in contact with 4YP who offer counselling to people up to 25 years of age www.4yp.org.uk/services/counselling 

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