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.
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.
Telephone: 0808 802 0222
Text message: 07860 065 169
Live web chat: Family action website
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
- Freephone helpline: 0808 800 5792
- Email: email@example.com
- Text and WhatsApp: 07758 670369
- Online: Always Heard
Free membership to Local Leisure Centres for all looked after children and care leavers
Childrens Service and DB Leisure are supporting the health and wellbeing of looked after children and care Leavers (from birth to 25 years) in the borough, by offering the following activities free.
Appropriate activities will be determined dependant on age and ability. Such activities include:
- Unlimited public swimming, including the leisure pool at Crystal Leisure Centre
- Unlimited gym use (includes a free gym induction)
- Unlimited use of the Wellness suite (power assisted equipment)
- Unlimited fitness classes
- Unlimited use of the running track at The Dell Stadium at selected times
- Badminton, squash, racket ball and table tennis
- Seven-day advance telephone and online leisure bookings for fitness classes, badminton, squash, racketball and five-a-side
- Unlimited sauna access at Duncan Edwards Leisure Centre.
- Unlimited access to Adventure Planet Play (under 11s) at Halesowen and Duncan Edwards & Soft Play Suite at Crystal
- Free lessons such as swimming, gymnastics, trampolining and climbing.
These benefits only apply to the looked after child or care leaver and not any carer or parent.