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5.1 Overall Policy Statement, Key Principles and Eligibility and Transfer Process

Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Equality and Diversity Statement
  3. Key Principles
  4. Eligibility Criteria and Transfer Procedure


1. Introduction

East Riding of Yorkshire Council, as a corporate parent, is committed to improving the life chances of all children and young people in its care, and of all those leaving care and preparing for independent living. We aim to ensure that these young people are equipped to fully participate socially and economically as citizens.

In the East Riding of Yorkshire, services to looked after young people from the age of 16, and to care leavers, are provided by the Pathway team. The procedures below detail how the service will carry out its duties and fulfil its responsibilities to these young people, and include details of the relevant legislation. In undertaking this corporate parenting role, the following principles will be followed:


2. Equality and Diversity Statement

All looked after young people and care leavers will have access to services which are appropriate to their needs, including those which arise from their gender / gender identity, racial origin, cultural and linguistic background, sexual orientation or disability. The local authority is committed to ensuring that staff members undertake regular equality and diversity training, to ensure service delivery takes place within an equal opportunities framework and promotes anti-discriminatory practice in all aspects of its work.


3. Key Principles

  • Services for young people must take account of the lengthy process of transition from childhood to adulthood, to reflect the gradual transition from dependence to independence. The support provided should be the support that a good parent would be expected to give;
  • All young people can be vulnerable during this transitional stage of life, and young people leaving care are likely to be particularly vulnerable due to their life experiences. Transition to adulthood can include more than one change of direction or breakdown in arrangements, when the young person will need support and encouragement to learn from what has happened and start anew;
  • East Riding of Yorkshire Council, in fulfilling its role as a corporate parent, recognises that the local authority as a whole - across all Directorates - has a responsibility for looked after children and those leaving care. This responsibility is monitored by the Corporate Parenting Group;
  • Research clearly indicates that good outcomes are most likely to be achieved when:
    • Young people have stable placements, continuity of carers and the maintenance of positive supportive relationships with workers;
    • Young people are fully involved in all decision making, and are involved in the shaping and delivery of services;
    • Young people do not leave care placements until they are prepared and ready to do so.
  • East Riding of Yorkshire Council, acting as a good parent for looked after children and young people, aspires to make the following provisions for those in and leaving care:
    • To provide good quality, stable placements and support to maintain positive links with carers;
    • To look after its young people until they are ready and prepared to leave care;
    • To help young people to prepare gradually for independent living - looking at the development of practical living skills, and personal and emotional support;
    • To enable young people to fulfil their potential in education, training and employment, and maximise the opportunities available to them through the local authority as a potential employer;
    • To ensure young people leaving care have access to a range of accommodation options appropriate to their needs;
    • To ensure there is contingency provision to support care leavers in the event of a crisis;
    • To provide consistent long term support via its Pathway team, and via local community services;
    • To ensure young people have access to adequate financial support, via Pathway Team payments or the benefits system as appropriate;
    • To involve young people in all decision making, assessment and planning regarding their support;
    • To involve young people in all aspects of service development, and ensure service user consultation is an integral part of all Pathway Team services.


4. Eligibility Criteria and Transfer Procedure

  1. When a Looked After young person reaches the age of 15, the Social Worker will check their eligibility for leaving care services and a transfer to the Pathway Team. The young person should be currently looked after, likely to be so on or after their 16th birthday, and have been looked after for 13 weeks or more since their 14th birthday;
  2. Looked after young people who are deemed to become eligible for leaving care services will be transferred to a social worker in the Pathway Team following the process outlined below, on or immediately after their 16th birthday. The exception to this are those young people with complex disabilities who are case held within the Children with Disabilities Team (see point 8 below);
  3. An invitation to the last Looked After Review before the young person's 16th birthday should be sent to the Pathway team manager by the social worker. The needs of the young person in the management of the transfer process will be discussed prior to the review and individual arrangements made;
  4. The transfer process should involve at least one meeting between the Social Worker, the Pathway Team social worker and the young person. Wherever possible, this should not happen as part of the Looked After Review meeting, but in a more relaxed, informal environment. The meeting will ensure the young person is given a clear explanation of the role of the Pathway Team, Pathway Plans and the range of services and support they will receive. They will receive written information on these services;
  5. Confirmation of the case transfer and date will be entered onto Azeus by the receiving team - i.e. the Pathway Team and will only take place when case records and key documents have been updated and indexed, and a detailed case transfer summary entered onto Azeus by the existing social worker;
  6. For those young people who become looked after close to or after their 16th birthday, the Pathway Team manager will be informed by the appropriate Team manager. Transfer arrangements to the Pathway Team will not be made unless or until the young person has been looked after for at least 13 weeks, at which point the process described in points 4 and 5 will be carried out;
  7. The Pathway Team Social Worker will continue to discuss transition / post 18 plans as a central part of the Pathway Planning process from the age of 16;
  8. Looked after young people with complex disabilities who are in specialised placements will become 'eligible' at the age of 16. These young people will not be transferred to the Pathway Team from the Children with Disabilities (CWD) Team if they are likely to continue to need full time care as an adult. Case holding responsibility will remain with the Children with Disabilities team and then transfer to Adult Services at 18. A named worker within the Pathway team will ensure the care planning process incorporates the required elements of the Pathway Plan, and ensure the young person has access to any leaving care grant monies if required.

End