Leaving care

If you are a care leaver then the council may be able help you with housing until you turn 21 (or 24 if you are studying fulltime).

What help you can get depends on your age and the services provided in the borough. So contact us and we will work with the council and your personal adviser to make sure you get the appropriate accommodation.

Who is eligible for help?

If you left care on or after 1 October 2001, you may be able to get housing help from the council if you are the right age and have been in care for a certain length of time.

You will need to have spent a total of at least 13 weeks in care since the age of 14 (the 13 weeks does not have to be all in one go). Any time that you have spent being looked after by a charity, the local council, a health authority, a children’s home or with foster parents counts.

You will have different rights if:

  • You left care before 1 October 2001
  • You have spent less than 13 weeks in care
  • You want to leave care before your 16th birthday

If you are in one of these situations you might get help from the council or from us, so contact us as soon as you can.

What help can I get if I am 16 or 17?

If you leave care when you are 16 or 17, the care leavers team that last looked after you is responsible for you until you turn 18 and should continue to give you help, even if you move to another area. This might include:

  • Providing housing or helping you to find and keep your own home
  • Providing financial support or childcare
  • Providing other support, such as help with continuing your education or dealing with personal problems

You should have been given a personal adviser by the council, who will stay in contact to give ongoing support until you are ready to live on your own, or you turn 18.

What help can I get if I am a care leaver aged 18 or over?

Even though you are now legally an adult, you may still be able to get support.

Your personal advisor will still keep in touch and go over your pathway plan to see how you are getting on. You may now be entitled to receive benefits, including housing benefit, and they can help you to apply.

If you want to continue with your education, find training or employment they may also be able to help you get financial support or find a place to live.

What if I become homeless?

Most young people who have been in care are entitled to help if they become homeless.

If you are under 18, then the council is still responsible for you. You should contact your personal advisor, however, if you contact us we will ask the council to help you.

If you are 18 to 21, you may be entitled to help from both the council and ourselves. You are considered to be in ‘priority need’ until your 21st birthday, so we can look at your situation and may be able to help you find a place to live.

If you are over 21 you may still be classed as in 'priority need' if you are considered to be vulnerable as a result of having been in care, for example, if you haven’t been in a stable home since you left care. Contact us as soon as possible to discuss your situation.

© Wigan Council