If you are a care leaver you may be able to get housing and other help from us and the help you get mainly depends on your age.
- Derbyshire County Council’s Children’s Services team is responsible for finding you somewhere to live until you turn 18.
- If you are an 18, 19 or 20-year old homeless care leaver, our Housing Needs Team must help.
Housing help for 16 and 17-year old care leavers
- you have already left care, and
- you have spent a total of at least 13 weeks in care since the age of 14, and
- part of that time in care was while you were 16 or 17.
You will be able to get help including somewhere to live from Derbyshire County Council’s children’s services. It doesn’t matter if those 13 weeks were not all at the same time.
You have different rights if you have spent less than a total of 13 weeks in care, or you want to leave care before your 16th birthday.
Use Shelter’s directory located at www.shelter.org.uk to find your local Shelter advice centre or Citizens Advice. This service is free and confidential.
Financial support for 16 or 17-year old care leavers
Most 16 or 17 year old care leavers are not eligible for benefits. The Children’s Services department of Derbyshire County Council must help you by:
- providing housing or helping you find and keep your own place.
- supporting you financially by paying you enough for your rent, food, bills, travel costs.
- for education and training, clothing, pocket money and childcare if you need it.
- giving you any other support you need, such as help with continuing your education, finding work or dealing with personal problems.
You can usually only claim benefits if you are a 16 or 17 year old care leaver and you are also a single parent or unable to work because of a disability or illness.
Find out more from Turn2Us about benefit rules for care leavers. Turn2Us can be located at www.turn2us.org.uk
Housing help for 18 to 21-year old care leavers
If you are aged 18 to 21, you can get help from both Derbyshire County Council’s Children’s services and via our Housing Needs Team. You are automatically classed as being in ‘priority need’ until your 21st birthday, which means that we will help you find a place to live.
If you are aged 18 to 21 and spent at least one night in care when you were 16 or 17, you are automatically classed as being in priority need until your 21st birthday. Children’s services can also help you by providing support and help with training and education.
If you are in full-time further or higher education, Children’s Services must find you somewhere to live during holiday periods if you need it.
Benefits for care leavers over 18
When you turn 18 you are entitled to claim benefits. You should be able to claim Universal Credit if you need to.
Housing help for 21-years old and above care leavers
Some older care leavers can get accommodation from the Housing Needs Team if they are in priority need. For example, this may be the case if you:
- Are vulnerable as a result of having been in care.
- Haven’t had a stable home since you left care.
- Have slept on the streets in the past.
If you are in full-time further or higher education and you have nowhere to stay outside term.
Time, Children’s services must also find you somewhere to live.
Other support for care leavers aged 18 to 24
As a care leaver you should continue to receive help and advice from Derbyshire County Council until your 21st birthday, or 25th if you are still in education or training.
Children’s services can help you by providing assistance with education and training until your 25th birthday.
Your personal adviser should still keep in touch and should go over your pathway plan with you to see how you are getting on (there is more information about personal advisers further down). Ask Social Services to help you if you need support to continue with your education or find training or employment. They may be able to help with the cost of living near your college, training centre or workplace. Telephone Call Derbyshire on 01629 533190.
Help for all care leavers
The council’s role
The council that last looked after you remains responsible for you even if you move to a different area. The council must continue to give you any help you need, even if you move to another area. Contact us on 01246 242424 or call Shelter’s helpline on 0808 800 4444 if you need emergency housing or support.
Before you leave care you’re given a pathway plan setting out what support you might need to live independently. Find out more from the Government website about pathway plans.
You’re given a personal adviser whose job it is to make sure that you claim everything you are entitled to. They can help you with application forms for housing, benefits, and education and/or training courses.
They should also help you with learning life skills, like how to budget. Your personal adviser should stay in contact with you and provide ongoing support and help until you turn 21 or until your 25th birthday if you are still studying full time. Get advice if you don’t have a personal adviser. You may be able to get one even if you didn’t get one while you were still in care.
Suitable accommodation for young care leavers
Any accommodation provided to you should be suitable. You may get a place in a hostel or a self-contained flat. It is unlikely, but in some cases you could be offered a place in a children’s home or foster care. Ask your personal adviser to help you if you have problems in your accommodation.
Single room rate
Usually if you are aged under 35 and you rent from a private landlord, the maximum Universal Credit you can get is the same rate you would get for renting a single room in a shared house. But if you’ve been in care, this doesn’t apply until you turn 22. You should be entitled to Universal Credit even if you have just spent one night in care. There is a maximum amount that you can be paid, which depends on the area you live in.
If you are aged 18 to 21 and spent at least one night in care when you were 16 or 17, you are automatically classed as being in priority need until your 21st birthday. You may be entitled to emergency housing from us if you are in priority need.
Extra help for moving into a new place
If you are a care leaver moving to a new place, you may be entitled to a budgeting loan to help pay for any rent in advance, moving expenses or household items. Most people who have been on income support or jobseekers allowance for at least 26 weeks can apply. These loans are paid back through deductions from your benefits.
Help for homeless care leavers
Most young people who have been in care are entitled to help if they become homeless. The help you are entitled to usually depends on your age and personal circumstances.
Care leavers under the age of 18
If you are under the age of 18, Derbyshire County Council’s Children’s services department is responsible for finding you somewhere to live.
21-years old and above care leavers
Some older care leavers could get accommodation from the Housing Needs Team if we can show that you are in priority need. For example, this may be the case if you:
- are vulnerable as a result of having been in care.
- haven’t had a stable home since you left care.
- have slept on the streets in the past.
Children’s services can help you by providing assistance with education and training until your 25th birthday. If you are in full-time further or higher education and you have nowhere to stay outside term time Children’s services must also find you somewhere to live.
Help and advice for homeless care leavers
Get advice if you become homeless
An adviser can help you to:
- check whether Children’s services and/or the Housing Needs Team should help you.
- tell you what sort of accommodation and support Children’s services normally provide in North East Derbyshire – this will give you an idea of what you can expect.
- make sure you are claiming all the benefits you are entitled to.
- tell you what longer term housing options are available in your area and give you an idea of how much it might cost.
- put you in contact with specialist support organisations or local schemes that can help you raise a deposit or find a suitable place to live.
Use Shelter’s directory to find an adviser in your local area, or call Shelter’s helpline on 0808 800 4444.