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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.

National Care Leavers Week

26 October – 1 November 2020

An opportunity for us to showcase and celebrate our care leavers from Dudley borough.

There are approximately 99,000 children in care in the UK and each year over 10,000 young people leave care and become care leavers. Here in Dudley we have 360 care leavers age 16-25 years.

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.

The last year has been a difficult and challenging year for everyone.  So we have asked our Care Leavers to tell us what the positives have been for them over the last 12 months.

Care Leavers Responses

Hayley 20

"I’m really proud of myself I got myself a new job after a year of being too anxious to work. This was thanks to the care leavers team, motivating me and giving me access to a great job. I also quit smoking and have kept it up for 6 months now."

Jason 17

"I have done really well in the last 12 months. I've enjoyed living with my old carer and I've had a lot of good memories. In the last 12 months I have been working towards getting my own placement and in the last few days I have moved into my new placement. At first it was nerving but I'm used to it now and now is where my life starts, I'm glad to be a care leaver. I've enjoyed having sessions with my mentor and having sessions with my YPA and I'm looking forward to my future."

Sian 19

"I moved into my own flat with my partner. We brought two cats and now I have a loving home."

Frankie 18

"During the last 12 months I have passed my driving test, bought a car, completed college and have just started University."

Chloe 19

"I passed my Health and Social Care course and I’ve nearly reached my savings goal to buy my first car!"

Alan 18

"I have started college which is good and thanks for the help from my YPA"

Chloe 18

"I recently found a new job and over come my fight or flight reactions and attended the interview and got the job. At first he thought my anxiety would get in the way of my job there but I proved him wrong and shined above the rest and received a lot of friendly words said about me. I’m am really pleased with myself as I feel I have come so far with my anxiety. I have also started to buy my own food!! And I’m struggling a little to manage my money well but I’m slowly getting there and I’m feeling really proud of how well I have managed to spend my money on getting the best and most out of it. But the most hardest thing I’ve done is started to apply for more new jobs as my job is on the holiday break now and I am not working so I have pushed myself to apply! And I have also got back into my art which I put down for a while because with was never in the mood."

Courtney 21

"I’ve became more independent, and I’m understanding my bills better and sorted out my arrears, I’ve overcome a lot to be honest, I’ve had support from my YPA Lee over the phone and the occasional visits but due to the coronavirus I’ve pushed myself to do more things myself instead of keep relying on everybody else to do things for me. I also took my first adult holiday last month to Spain and that’s something I wouldn’t of felt comfortable doing 2 years ago!"

Jack 17

"Just wanted to write to you to say how you have supported me with being a young person (care leaver with DCC), as well as my mum coming back to live with her i have had the support off my Grandma as well (who leaves ten mins away from me) I am looking forward in passing my driving test soon-this year. Also when covid 19 is over starting my Apprentiship and also i have been applying for christmas work as well just waiting to hear from the companys i have applied for. Also i have nearly finished my D of E Gold and have been doing a lot towards it during lockdown, Dan as i said has supported me more than anyone from DCC dept over the last 12 months."

Mitch 20

"12 months ago I tried living with my mom but it didn’t work out as I wanted. I couldn’t contact mates cause my phone broke start of lockdown but my worker visited and got me a new phone. I moved back to Dudley got my own place now and feel happier. Worker give me new laptop started training for GCSE cause I want to be a prison officer."

Chloe 19

"The positives for me for the last 12 months was spending every minute with my amazing daughter who has now just turned 2 and I got engaged to the most amazing person in my life. Just love spending time with my family so that’s my positives for the last 12 months."

Macy 20

"I am really happy to finally be getting my own tenancy. I have gone from having a lot of support to now living independently."

Ava 20

"The most proudest and positive thing that’s happened to me over the past 12 months is being able to go through my pregnancy and birth when I thought I couldn’t at the beginning. Being able to experience new life experiences, even just basic ones I needed to work on."

Kelseigh 19

 "Sorting my life out and choosing a career path that can benefit me to progress further. As I was doing photography but due to the 2020 situation, I wouldn’t be able to travel so I went back to college to do ‘Health Professionals’ this will lead me to become an Adult Nurse. However because I was in the care system I would like in the future to get involved with giving a voice and how I would like to change the system."

Millie 16

 "I have got a job, started 6th form and getting good grades so far."

Faye 16

"Positive news form the last 12 months…expecting a baby, a new home and better contact arrangements."

Nicole 24

"I moved into my first house with my partner and I also completed my BSc Hons in Ecology and Environmental Science with a First Class degree!"

Stephanie 20

 "How far I have come along the past 12 months with Uni and just life in general, especially with the help I’ve had off Rav so thank you."

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 12.00pm – 4.00pm in Dudley town centre. For further information about these sessions please speak to your YPA.

Get involved

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.

Listening Works

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.

Telephone: 0808 802 0222

Text message: 07860 065 169

Live web chat: www.family-action.org.uk/listening-works 

Always Heard

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 

  • If you are a care leaver you can contact your Young Person's Advisor (YPA):

    Contact us