Care leavers require support and guidance before and after they turn 18. As a Dudley care leaver, you are entitled to a range of support until you are 25 years old.
As a care leaver, we know you may not have large networks of support; we want you to know that you are not alone and we are here to support you and help you to plan your next steps to independence. You should expect the same level of care and support as other young people get from their families. Most young people, around 15 years old, are thinking about what career they want and where they want to live in the future.
Our Care Leavers’ Guide will enable you understand the services and support available to you to help you to reach your goals.
Dudley currently has 16 young people at university studying courses from a social work degree to a master’s degree in advanced chemistry. We have young people working in a variety of roles such as sales, children’s nurseries, law, health and social care. Some of our care leavers have themselves become carers for their siblings offering them a stable home environment, by working in partnership with social workers.
What to expect from our service
From age 16 you will be allocated a Young Person’s Advisor (YPA) to work with you to ensure you receive the support you need. Your YPA will work alongside your children’s social worker until you reach 18. At 18, your YPA will continue to support you up to the age of 25 if needed.
We will provide
- An assessment of your needs to ensure the correct services are available to you.
- A personalised ‘Pathway Plan’ which details the support you will need to help you plan your future and achieve your goals.
- Financial advice and guidance - (see Care Leavers’ Financial Guide) for further information.
- Accommodation until you are 18 and housing advice regarding your options after that.
- Education, training and employment advice and support.
- A health passport as well supporting you with health and wellbeing issues.
- Advice on opportunities for social activities.
We will also keep in touch with you on a regular basis (minimum of every 8 weeks). You can also come along to our weekly care leavers’ drop-in sessions. Sessions take place Every Wednesday from Noon to 4pm in Dudley town centre.
- For further information about these sessions please speak to your YPA.
If you are 16+, leaving care in Dudley and want to have your say in the way services are provided get in touch with the Care Leavers Forum.
Council Tax Care Leavers Exemption
Dudley Council is committed to supporting young people leaving care. Moving to independent living is a big step and to assist from April 2020, an exemption is available for care leavers to reduce their council tax bills to zero until they reach their 25th birthday.
Independent 7 days a week support for care leavers 6pm - midnight
Listening Works, run by Family Action is a new independent support service run by trained volunteers for care leavers. It offers 7 day a week help via phone, text or web chat 6pm - midnight.
Advocacy Helpline for Children in Care and Care Leavers
Always Heard, run by independent organisation Coram Voice, is the only national service in England that can provide an Advocate to children and young people who cannot access the local advocacy support they are entitled to.
Funded by the Department for Education, the Always Heard service means that, for the first time, there is a single national advocacy advice service and gateway that young people can use. Through Always Heard, young people now can access vital advocacy services across the country, and an advocacy ‘safety net’ for when things go wrong, and they cannot get advocacy from their local service.
The helpline is free and available to all children in care, care leavers, or the adults referring them, who live in England. They can answer any questions about the services children are entitled to and offer information on how to get an advocate who will help to guide them through the social care system.
Always Heard provides advice and advocacy for Looked After Children, Care Leavers, and young people on the edge of care from 0-25 years old.
If you are working with or know a child that needs advocacy, please contact Always Heard
Free membership to Local Leisure Centres for all looked after children and care leavers
Childrens Services and DBLeisure are supporting the health and wellbeing of children in care and care leavers (from birth to 25 years) in the borough by offering activities free of charge at leisure centres and the Dell Stadium.
Join for free and receive:
- Unlimited public swimming, including the leisure pool at Crystal Leisure Centre.
- Unlimited gym use (includes a free gym induction and data key).*
- Unlimited fitness classes.**
- Unlimited use of the Wellness suite (power assisted equipment).***
- Unlimited use of the running track at The Dell Stadium at selected times.
- Unlimited sauna access at Duncan Edwards Leisure Centre (over 16s only).
- Unlimited access to Planet Play (soft play area) at Duncan Edwards and Halesowen leisure centres (under 11s).
- Unlimited access to the Soft Play area at Crystal Leisure Centre (under 8s).
- A 50% reduction (Monday to Friday until 5pm and all weekend) off badminton, squash, racket ball and table tennis.
- Seven-day advance telephone bookings for fitness classes, badminton, squash, racketball and five-a-side.
Free lessons including swimming, gymnastics, trampolining and climbing are also available free of charge. These are subject to availability and a waiting list may be in operation.
Membership gives you access to Crystal, Duncan Edwards, Halesowen leisure centres and the Dell Stadium. Facilities/activities may vary between centres.
How to join
Visit either Crystal, Duncan Edwards or Halesowen leisure centre to activate your membership. (Anyone under 16 years of age will need carer supervision to register the child).
State that you have come to activate your membership and confirm your name, date of birth and postcode.
Your photograph will be taken and you will be issued with a membership fob.
The fob holds details about you and your membership subscription. You should bring this with you on every visit to the centre.
- Your details should already be on the leisure centres system so you won’t need to show any proof of eligibility or complete an application form.
To find out more about DBLeisure, visit the DBLeisure website or contact us.