You will begin being supported by a Social Worker in the Leaving Care Team around the time you turn 16. The Social Worker is here to help you to develop your independent living skills through developing and updating your Pathway Plan. The Social Worker is required to fulfil the council's obligations as your parent. Your Leaving Care Social Worker is there to hear your voice and support you to think about your present and past, but also and importantly, your future. Your Social Worker will work with you and the people who are important to you to ensure that you achieve the goals you set together. They need to ensure that a you receive appropriate care, education and health services.
You Social Worker needs to visit you face to face in your accommodation a minimum of once every 6 weeks, or three months if you have been living in your accommodation for over one year and there are no concerns about this accommodation. This will be the case until you turn 18.
Your Social Worker will as much as possible work hard to meet your wishes and feelings, but sometimes they won’t be able to give you everything that you want, particularly if they are concerned about your safety. The Leaving Care Team are there to support you to take control of your own future.
A Personal Advisor is an experienced support worker who is not a Social Worker. Personal Advisors have different backgrounds and qualifications, some of them in youth work, others in psychology. There is no one ‘Personal Advisor’ qualification. The Personal Advisor is there to offer you support, advice, guidance and assistance to you to develop your independence. Having diverse backgrounds means that as much as possible we can ensure that we match you to a Personal Advisor who can best meet your support needs.
You should see your Personal Advisor face to face a minimum of once every three months but you can speak to them on the phone more often than that. You can talk to your Personal Advisor about how often you’d like to see and speak to them. Once you reach 21 years of age you can decide if you’d like to remain supported by your Personal Advisor.
Your Personal Advisor can help you to access other support services which you might need. This may include mental health support, debt planning and budgeting, housing and accommodation, benefits and education. Personal Advisors may not be able to provide this support to your directly but they will help you to find someone who can. Personal Advisors can support you with simple budgeting, however, may refer for more specialised input if you are in debt and this is complex. Sometimes your Personal Advisor won’t be able to provide you something that you are asking for.
Just like social workers, Personal Advisors will update your pathway plan with you every 6 months.