Who are Personal Advisors for Care Leavers?
A Personal Advisor acts as a focal point to make sure that a young person leaving care gets the right support as they move into adulthood.
Your personal advisor will assist you to develop skills that will help you to live independently at time when you are ready to do so.
You will be appointed a personal advisor at the age of 16 up to the age of 18 (if under 18), to support you to prepare for independence and until you stop receiving services from the Local Authority, this could be up to the age of 25
There are lots of different people who could be a Personal Adviser. It could be that the Local Authority employs a team of people specially to do this job, or a Personal Advisor could be someone already involved in a young person’s care.
There is no prescribed professional qualification required of a PA, but they should have a working knowledge of the issues a Care Leaver might face as they make their transition into adulthood and the legal framework around this.
The young person should have a choice of Personal Advisor and their wishes should be carefully considered. However, the final decision will be made by the Local Authority, which must make sure that whoever it is has the right qualifications and can give the necessary time to support the Care Leaver properly.
A Personal Advisor’s role is to:
- provide advice (including practical advice) and support to the young person;
- participate in reviews of the young person’s case;
- liaise with the responsible authority in the implementation of the pathway plan;
- co-ordinate the provision of services and take reasonable steps to ensure the young person makes use of such services;
- remain informed about the young person’s progress and wellbeing;
- keep full, accurate and up to date records of contacts with the young person and services provided;
- provide information about financial capability-how to manage day to day finances;
- provide housing options available to the care leaver;
- support in finding further education, employment or training;
- keep in touch with the young person
Your PA will provide you with telephone and email contact details or you can visit your PA at the Merton Civic Centre in Morden.
If you cannot get through to your PA or if they are on leave, you can contact the Merton Council 14+ Duty team on 020 8545 4293.
Section 3 of the Children and Social Work Act 2017 requires Local Authorities to provide Personal Advisors to care leavers up until they reach the age of 25.
Statutory guidance on this can be found here.