The Children and Social Work Act 2017 introduced a new duty on local authorities to provide Personal Adviser support to all care leavers up to the age of 25, The duty commences from 1 April 2018. Importantly, it applies whether or not the care leaver continues to be engaged in education or training.
The Department of Education has now published statutory guidance as to how that duty should be fulfilled: 'Extending Personal Advisor support to all care leavers to age 25' (February 2018).
The guidance explains that often the level of support will be reduced as the care leaver grows in maturity and develops their independent living skills. Equally, however, where the needs of the care leaver demand it the support can be intensive, including over a long duration. The discharge by the local authority of its duty will be achieved having regarding to the seven 'corporate parenting principles' set out in section 1 of the Children and Social Work Act 2017.
11. ... we know that other care leavers who reach age 21 are still struggling to make a successful transition and therefore need continuing support to deal with the challenges that the transition to independence brings. The new duty to extend PA support to all care leavers up to age 25 means that they will be able to continue to receive support when they reach age 21, or to request PA support at any point after age 21 up to age 25, even if they had previously indicated that they did not want it. This means no care leaver will be left isolated, or forced to fend for themselves.