Your browser is no longer supported. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience.

Qualifying Care Leaver

Find out what you are entitled to as a qualifying care leaver

If you…

  • are aged 18-21 (or 25 if still in full-time education)
  • spent less than 13 weeks in care since the age of 14
  • and spent at least one day in care on (or after) your 16th birthday

…then your care status is a Qualifying Care Leaver.  

You are also a Qualifying Care Leaver if you left care and returned home for more than 6 months before you turned 18.  

This is important to know because it defines what support you are entitled to. 


  • You are entitled to advice and assistance from the Local Authority.
  • You may not be entitled to a Pathway Plan – however, the Local Authority should undertake a ‘needs assessment’ with you and provide you with advice following this, should you request it.
  • A ‘needs assessment’ looks at your circumstances and situation to identify what support you require

Your views

You are entitled to make a complaint. All Local Authorities have complaints procedures they must follow, to ensure all complaints are looked into in a fair and considered way.

Housing and Finance

  • Once you are over 18, you are usually financially responsible for your accommodation and day-to-day living costs.
  • If you are aged 18, 19 or 20, spent at least one day in care since the age of 16 and are homeless, you will automatically have a priority need when applying as homeless.
  • If you are 21 or over, you may still have a priority need when applying as homeless. For example, if you have mental or physical health needs, or if you are deemed as being ‘vulnerable’ as a result of time spent in care. 

Education, Work and Training

  • Your Local Authority should provide or pay for accommodation during college or university holidays if you are studying away from home.
  • Your Local Authority may provide you with a grant to support you in accessing education, work or training.  

Call our friendly Care Advice Line for free on 0800 023 2033

Have a question? Unsure about the information above?