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5.7.3 Financial Arrangements for Care Leavers

AMENDMENT

In August 2018, Appendix 1: Table Of Financial Entitlements was updated.


Contents

  1. Values Statement and What We Should Measure the Service Against
  2. Purpose
  3. Finance

    Appendix 1: Table Of Financial Entitlements


1. Values Statement and What We Should Measure the Service Against

The values which underpin this policy and procedure reflect those in the Children Act 1989 and the Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000 including vol. 3 The Planning Transition to Adulthood for Care leavers regs 2010, Children and Young People Act 2008, Local Authorities Responsibilities towards former looked after Children in Custody regs 2010 Care Leavers (England) Regulations 2010 and the government Care Leavers Strategy 2013.

The guidance and duties are clear and include delaying leaving care as long as possible and ensuring that young people are prepared as far as possible for their journey on in to independence. There is much research [1] to show that care leavers, taken as a group are more likely to be socially excluded, have higher rates of unemployment, homelessness etc when compared to their peers so it is not surprising the regulations and guidance are clear that the LA has a duty to support care leavers in to employment, education or training and suitable accommodation. Importantly we must also, provide 'second chances'. Using our understanding of adolescent development we must allow for young people to sometimes make unwise decisions but support them to make a better choices second, third or fourth time around. After all, most of us didn't get it right first time and we need to [2]'….recognise that the process of successful learning may involve learning from mistakes'.

[1] Young people leaving care published in July 2006 in the journal Child and Family Social Work. Stein, M. (2006.
[2] Page 59 Vol 3 Planning Transition to Adulthood for Care Leavers


2. Purpose

The purpose of the policy is to ensure Cumbria provides appropriate financial support to ensure Cumbrian care leavers, as defined by the Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000 (as it amends the Children Act 1989). This therefore includes all young people who are ‘Eligible’ (Section 19B) ‘Relevant’ (Section 23A), ‘Former Relevant’ (Section 23C), ‘Qualifying’ young people who have been looked after by local authorities” (Section 24) and ‘Former Looked After’ (as defined by the Children and Young Persons Act 08 as it amends the Children Act 1989 (Section 23ZA).


3. Finance

3.1 Application

Any financial agreements can only be made and incorporated as part of a Pathway Plan with the knowledge and approval of Team Managers; once Pathway Plans are approved they become legally binding documents.

Appendix 1: Table Of Financial Entitlements is a general guide, it is acknowledged it will not cover every eventuality and there will be cases which will fall outside the scope of this document.

Young people who have not accessed any of their setting up home allowance prior to 1st April 2014 will be eligible to claim up to £2000. Those who have already accessed their setting up home allowance prior to 1st April 2014 can claim up to £1405.

3.2 Finance Agreements in Relation to ‘Eligible’ Young People

  • When talking to young people, social workers and Personal Advisors should frame their discussions using table 1 (Appendix 1: Table Of Financial Entitlements) as a guideline;
  • When carrying out the Pathway Plan assessment, part 1 and formulating the Pathway Part 2, the Social Worker must do so using Appendix 1: Table Of Financial Entitlements as a guide;
  • The allocated worker must discuss the young persons proposed plan, being clear about the financial implications, in supervision and authorisation must be given by the Team Manager before young people are given any assurances about finance or financial support or any service which has financial implications;
  • The Personal Advisor should also bring the proposed plan with clarity around the financial entitlements to their supervision so that if there are any areas which the Social Worker and Personal Advisor do not agree on they can be highlighted and discussed further;
  • If financial issues are not resolved to everyone’s satisfactions, the Personal Advisor should discuss the position with the young person and advise them of their right to discuss the issue(s) with NYAS or alternative advocacy support.

3.3 Finance Agreements in Relation to ‘Relevant’ Young People

  • When talking to young people, Personal Advisor should frame their discussions using Appendix 1: Table Of Financial Entitlements) as a guideline;
  • All financial support for ‘Qualifying’ young people is discretionary *N.B. discretionary payments should not exceed in part or in total, what could be paid to eligible, relevant or former relevant young people in similar circumstances;
  • Any request for financial support should be based on an assessment of need in each individual case;
  • The assessment should be discussed with the Team Manager and make recommendations regarding any funding requirements;
  • The Team Manager will make a decision regarding the request; If financial issues are not resolved to everyone’s satisfaction, the Personal Advisor should discuss the position with the young person and advise them of their right to discuss the issue(s) with NYAS or alternative advocacy support;
  • The number of weeks prior to being in custody will determine these young people’s entitlement to a Leaving Care service and they should be supported accordingly.

3.4 Setting Up Home Allowance and Supervised spends

Initially it is likely that most purchases funded through a young person’s setting up home allowance will be supported by a trusted adult, e.g. foster parent, residential support worker, Personal Advisor or Social Worker but this will determined during their assessment of needs. As the young person becomes increasingly independent there may be times when a Personal Advisor feels it is appropriate to provide young people with specific sums for specific purposes; this would be negotiated with the Team Manager and if this was not successful i.e. no item or receipt not provided, then further spends would need to be reassessed and potentially supervised.

3.5 Evidencing Purchases

All purchases must be properly evidenced with legitimate invoice and or receipt, if this is not provided the purchase cannot be funded or refunded.

Any purchase a young person intends to make and using their leaving care grant or setting up home allowance must be fully discussed and agreed with the Personal Advisor who will seek approval from the Team Manager before any funds are committed. If money is spent without prior approval it will be at the Team Manager’s discretion whether or not it is reimbursed.

3.6 Computers

Young people who have a confirmed University place are able to access financial support towards a computer and associated software, up to the value of £500.

It is acknowledged that other young people may need access to a computer to education but it is expected that other ways of funding it should be drawn on, including the ‘Pupil Premium’ or as birthday or Xmas gifts while young people are in foster or residential care. Where there are extenuating circumstances and a strong case can be made as to why these alternatives have not been used to fund a computer, then a case for discretion can be made to the Team Manager and Service manager for consideration.


Appendix 1: Table Of Financial Entitlements

Click here to view Appendix 1: Table Of Financial Entitlements

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