Recent changes in the legislation affecting care leavers mean that more young people will now be eligible for support.

A new category of care leaver has been created designed to assist care leavers who return to education or training. This affects care leavers who were not in education or training beyond their 21st birthday and subsequently notify their authority that they intend to pursue education or training. They will be entitled to an adviser, a pathway plan, financial support and accommodation assistance.

So this means that young care leavers under 25 who were previously eligible for leaving care services and who resume a program of education, for example at 22 or 23, are entitled to continuing support from a personal adviser allocated from their responsible authority and must have their pathway plan re-instated.  Under section 23C (5A) of the Children Act  1989 and (Higher Education Bursary) (England) Regulations 2009 it is the duty of the local authority to pay £2,000 to a former relevant child who pursues a designated course of higher education in accordance with a pathway plan prepared for that person.

Previously no leaving care services could be provided once a person became 24. This has now been extended to 25.

Also the Government has announced a new £180 million bursary scheme to help the most vulnerable 16-19 years olds continue in full-time education in place of the education maintenance allowance (EMA).

The scheme is made up of two parts – a guaranteed payment to a small group of the most vulnerable, and a discretionary fund for schools and colleges to distribute:

16-19 year olds who are in care, care leavers or on income support will be given guaranteed bursaries of £1,200. This is equivalent to £30 a week for 40 weeks.

If you are having trouble getting leaving care support from your local authority please get in touch with Clare at