LCWBT Issue 2

Page 1

Issue 2 April 2012

CareCare Leavers The Association Leavers’ Association


Hi Everyone, This is the second issue of our leaving care guide e-zine. This issue we’ve focussed on Accommodation, Employment Pathways and Getting in Trouble with the Law plus lots more. See the contents on the next page...hope you find it useful and look out for our next issue soon.

Leaving Care Guide Team

The Care Leavers Association is a registered charity (1111988) and limited company (5204243)

Contents • The Young Peoples’ Committee Update • Moving Forward and Opening Doors...a place to live • Employment Pathways Advice • Law advice and getting on the wrong side of it • Creativity Corner!!! • Making a success out of our lives • Recent News: GOAL Project- Getting On And Living • Next issue





A Word from The CLA Young Peoples’ Committee Members... Hi everyone, we’re the young people’s committee set up to guide the CLA Young Peoples Project and we’ve been going for over a year now... So far we’ve met four times to drive forward young care leavers views. Here’s an intro of who we are and an update on what we’ve done so far. Get in touch for more info! Jodi • My role so far has involved helping out with fundraising and representing the CLA. I do a lot of other voluntary work such as being a member in Bury Children in Care Council. I am looking at taking driving lessons soon as I am nearly turning 17. I am also a member of A National Voice (ANV)

Jodi’s quote “don’t do something just because you can; do it because you want to...stay grounded!”

Janay • Hi i’m 22 and currently a student applying for Masters in Social Work. I am soon going to start teaching indpendent Life Skills as a Trainer-Mentor for CLA.

Janay’s quote” you are not your circumstances… are the creator and changer of them”- “you are who you want to be”

Seb • i am an Adviser and journallist for the CLA Committee North East of England. i also have a radio show so tune in every Friday night it’s Speak Sunderland 107! I run an organisation in Sunderland using music workshops to help young people and I am at univeristy studying Music.

Seb‘s quote “Any problem big or small come to me !”

Gladys • My role so far is a Researcher and Representative to The CLA Board. I am from Leicester currently doing a Masters degree in Nursing

Gladys’ quote “don’t tell me i can’t do it - because i can do it!”

Sanna • Involved with CLA as Chair of the Committee . Does voluntary work for youth advocacy, Treasurer for Barnardo’s projects and a Child spokesperson for social services. Sanna is passionate about confidence building and life skills .

Sanna’s quote “never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the

game”. “support is around the corner”.

Next issue, we will be hearing from Sioned, Zac and Kim, also from the Committee group :)

Moving Forward and OPENING DOORS ...a place to live u view! ontract! S o P y I t T a fl P t TO ’t choose the firs Read your c ou can!

ause y he landlord ... c e b t o n u want to ground check on t ic... o y e s u a c Do it be Do a back ord and be realist g decisions an afford c u n o i ff y k a t a n a a m hat you c ke your time with budget to see wh w t u o k r a Ta Wo sibilities n Work out o p s e r d college an ying n t o r a s p u c e r o f o f ction” be unded- don’t lose i v e “ k n i h T Stay gro



Remember, you are entitled to stay in care until you are 18 and in some areas up to 21. if you are in a settled foster care placement (Staying Put pilots). You may want to consider the following points before you leave (from GETA guide to emergency and temporary accommodation, NCAS): • At 16-17 you are too young to receive bank credit • You are unable to buy a house or start a mortgage • You are too young to hold a tenancy- you can have an equitable tenancy in trust and most landlords will insist on this for all young people up to the age of 25. Though you could get small shared housing (e.g. supported lodgings) as they are usually on ‘license agreements’ not tenancies. What support will you get from your local authority? • You should have a pathway plan which should have something written about where you will be living when you leave care. The accommodation should be “safe, secure and affordable” (Transition Guidance, 2011) • It may be that you live in Temporary or Emergency accommodation for a period as a last resort but your Personal Adviser should be planning for you to move somewhere more permanent. • You should be entitled to support from your personal adviser until at least 21

TYPES OF ACCOMMODATION... PRIVATE RENTED SECTOR There are a few types of tenancies that may be offered to you but the most likely to be offered is an assured shorthold tenancy. You will usually be required to pay a month’s rent in advanced and a deposit. Some of us have had help with our deposit and rent and also some of us have had the local authority act as a guarantor so that we have a safe place to live. With this type of tenancy you have the right to remain in the property for the period stated (usually 6 months). You can face being forced to leave if you don’t pay your rent and/or cause a nuisance so you need to be careful with your finances and having friends over etc. You have responsibilities as a tenant as well as rights that you can make sure your landlord sticks to.

For more information on the private rented sector see :


This can be through a local housing association or council housing. you will need to make an application for housing and show that you are ‘eligible’ and in ‘need’. for more information see the link below:

A word of warning…

remember you are at risk of losing your tenancy due to: BAD BEHAVIOUR NOT PAYING YOUR RENT CONCERNS FOR HEALTH AND SAFETY

What if I become homeless? You could be eligible for a council property if you are homeless or living in an unsecure tenancy.The housing department should help you find a place to live from 18 years old. You will automatically be classed as being in priority need until your 21st birthday as a care leaver. Post 21, you are also in priority need if you have learning difficulties or ill health, or your partner is pregnant, or you are vulnerable due to old age, or disability. If you are responsible for dependent children you will also have a priority need. Every council must follow The Housing Act of 1996 which has a Code of Guidance for homeless people. You will only get help if you are entitled to it or in priority need . You will be entitled to help unless you: • Are unable to make a claim from public funds (for example Income Support) • Have no rights of residence in the UK • Are an asylum seeker • Social services are still responsible for you If you are under 18. The housing department will direct you to social services to help you. If the council are satisfied that you are definitely homeless, in priority need, and that that you are entitled to help, they will check to make sure you that you aren’t intentionally homeless. While you are waiting for the council to complete these checks they must house you short term if you fulfil the criteria so you may ask to speak to someone in charge at the council offices if temporary accommodation is not offered. You might have to pay something towards this. You can be classed as intentionally homeless; • If it was your fault that you lost your home, • If you chose to leave a home that you could have stayed in, • You didn’t take up housing on offer after having help from the council • The council thinks you deliberately arranged to be homeless. In these instances you should put your name on the Housing Register and the council still have to house you in the short term Most people have a right to help if they are homeless if; • You have a local connection • You or someone you live with has lived in the area for six months of the last year or three years of the last five. • You have a job in the area • A relative you want to live near has lived in the area for a while.

Emergency Accommodation? See the below link and information from Shelter on what you can do in an emergency to find accommodation. • 1. Hostels and nightshelters: If you need a place for the night, you may be able to stay in an emergency hostel or nightshelter. They are usually run by housing associations, charities or the local council. There are rules and regulations in most hostels such as no drink and drugs or visitors. You may be evicted if you break these rules. Hostels can help you find a permanent place to live, help with claiming benefits, counseling, advice and support, independent living skills, access to education or training Night shelters may be open during the winter months and can offer basic shelter and food and are usually set up in old school or church buildings. Nightshelters are free but hostels charge rent which may be covered through provision of benefits. Housing benefit may cover the rent but additional charges can be met through income support or jobseekers allowance. • 2. Bed and Breakfast hotels: These are privately run or run by the local council. The standard of rooms may be poor you may have to share a bathroom and food is not provided. You may be accepted at the door however some places only accept people who have been referred by the council. You may have to leave your room during the day or you may have a limited time there. It is more expensive than a hostel and you may have to pay rent upfront before you can stay there. • 3.Nightstop schemes Can help most people between the ages of 16-25 However they won’t help you if you: • use drugs or alcohol • have mental health problems that can’t be controlled by medication • have a recent history of violence, arson or sexual offences, or a serious criminal record.


Have you thought about what industry or area are you drawn to? Do you want to go to college or university? For Information on the different Career Pathways out there have a look at the following links For more information on Further and Higher Education see Some tips for getting on to the Pathway to EMPLOYMENT 1. PREPARING A CV It is useful to prepare a CV or covering letter that is designed to illuminate why you are interested in working for the organization. To create a CV you may want to start off by listing a selection of your key skills and attributes. Other things to include are things like your personal details, work history, employment history, hobbies and achievements. You may also want to include two references in place for your employer to follow up once you have been selected. The CV is therefore not just a documentary record of your career-todate but also a chance to sell yourself. A CV should be no more than two sides of A4 paper. You may also wish to include an opening statement that outlines who you are, skills and achievements. 2. COVERING LETTER To write a covering letter include the date and job reference number as well as the address of the employer you wish to send it to. A covering letter should state what you are applying for, the reasons you chose to apply and you may want to address the job specification and demonstrate the qualities you posses in relation to it. Remember this is the first thing an employer will see so it is vital you get it right. Overall take your time and you may want to spell check it too! 3. RECRUITMENT AGENCIES In addition to looking for a job yourself it may be an idea to join a recruitment agency. They are designed to help you look for work and may have a better access to a job in a particular industry than a speculative CV on its own. You may have a one-to-one interview with your recruitment consultant to identify what you are looking for and how they can help. To stand out it may be worth while checking your CV and making sure you look smart or professional. After this if you are considered for a role you may be asked to attend an interview.

4. INTERVIEW TECHNIQUES It may be a good idea to jot down a few of your best assets and strengths such as time keeping hardworking self motivated energetic just short things that can prompt you to talk and sell yourself to the employer. Some employers may also choose to ask about your weaknesses so be prepared. Do however feel relaxed since employers are not trying to catch you out! They may also ask you some competency based questions that relate to your experience in work study or other areas. Eg discuss or give examples of when you have. a. worked in a team b. worked under pressure c. have demonstrated leadership skills. The employer will then discuss the requirements of the job the role and expectations and the expected salary. You may then wish to ask any further questions 6. VOLUNTEERING: This is a useful way to build up experience skills and knowledge in an industry of your choice, A useful website is where you can build a profile and use the search engine to find opportunities in your local area in a sector of your choice. Once you have submitted your application the volunteering organization will send you a confirmation email or call to let you know what to do next. You can be expected to be contacted within the first 10 working days. Some organizations will also pay towards travel costs and lunch if needed. The commitment and requirements will be stet out by the organisation. If successful there are no limits to how much you can work and it will not affect your benefits. It is a useful way of getting into paid employment since it can build your skills in your chosen field. For more useful information visit: 7. APPRENTISHIPS: An Apprenticeship offers a practical balance between learning a trade and earning a living You're paid a small sum to work within a skilled environment and get the skills you need while learning with a local training provider, see for more info: 7. SETTING UP YOUR OWN BUSINESS: Ok so this may seem like a daunting task at first but if you’re ambitious and confident about your business idea and would prefer to be your own boss then this might be the right avenue for you to take. Firstly be sure to know where your business would fit in to the current market. Have a business plan and be sure to have done some research about your prospective costs, profits and day to day running of your business. It may be an idea to have a look around at what your competitors are doing and see if you have any ideas that will help you stand out as being more competitive or exclusive. You may want to look at asking for help or tips to start off your business. This may require talking with your bank manager or just generally getting some advice. A useful website is Business Link. This is a government supported website that can help you with regards to tax, financing and employing people. For more information see


It is often easy to get in to trouble with the police and lots of us have had problems (although lots of us haven’t, also!). The statistics out there show that young people from Care are often criminalised, more so than other young people. But it’s essential to escape this trap as soon as you can as it adds an extra obstacle to get over! Just because you have a criminal record doesn’t mean you can’t open plenty of doors. Having a criminal record doesn’t bar you from getting a job, if you have any problems get in touch on 0161 236 1980 and we will see if we can advise you. We believe that it’s really important to try and turn negative experiences in to positives if you can! If you are in custody or in trouble have a look around for advocacy organisations (see useful contacts at the end of this publication) or mentoring projects that can give you the support you need. REMEMBER: IF YOU DO FIND YOURSELF IN CUSTODY YOU ARE ENTITLED TO THE SAME LEAVING CARE SUPPORT AS YOU WOULD IF YOU WERE NOT IN CUSTODY. IF YOU SPENT 13 WEEKS OR MORE IN CARE AND ON YOUR 16TH BIRTHDAY YOU WILL BE ENTITLED TO A LEAVING CARE SERVICE UNTIL AT LEAST 21 YEARS OLD. YOU SHOULD HAVE A PERSONAL ADVISER WHO VISITS YOU AND REVIEWS YOUR PATHWAY PLAN.


Arrested? At what age? And what are your rights? • You can be charged for a crime if you are the age of 10 years and upwards. • You should be told what your rights are if at police station. • Have someone to tell that you have been arrested. • Under 14- you have the right to a detention cell which is seperate from all the other cells • Under 17- right to have an appropriate adult and talk to them in private. • Under 17 – should have someone with you when you are being interviewed. Right to silence- if you are silent during the interview the evidence you later rely on in court may be seen as unreliable. How long can you be held? You can be held for 24 hours if police think you have committed an offence. Another 12 hours if they think the offence is serious. Police may ask the court to detain you for another 96 hours (4 days) before you are charged. Can you be searched? Police can search you at any time whilst held in custody. You can also be strip searched- this must be carried out by an officer of the same sex. In a place where you cannot be seen. No opposite sex is allowed in there. If under 17 you are allowed to have an adult present (If you want). For more information on the Law and your rights see

Kenny’s Story

I was once in care for about a year. It was a care home for naughty boys, and I fit right at home in that grey, desolate building. It had a school onsite which we were all supposed to attend every day, though I rarely went as school was not on my agenda at the time. Within a few weeks, I had taken the role as one of the most respected but violent amongst the 25 odd boys. Yet the skills I had learned from growing up meant the workers and staff could not help but show me a level of respect that confused all. I was understanding, polite and always willing to compromise rather than argue, a strange and unique set of principles that I am still trying to understand today. I had been part of the system since the age of 13. I had a very disruptive childhood and my family broke down around me. As a result, i made a lot of bad choices whilst growing up. This led me to some very dark places with some very dark people; i guess i was one of them. Someone who knew me then, would not recognise me now. I used to make it my goal to get to know the craziest, strangest people who were around me at any given time. I am aware that through my disruptive outlook, I was constantly looking for similar traits and beliefs in other people. Through a miracle it would seem, I have never been seriously injured or been taken away for any long period of time to prison or similar establishment. It would seem that people all around me were getting caught or hurt, some even dieing. Yet I was still able to keep full control over my world and what was happening in it, I seemed to live on the edge of a knife, but was never too loud to get noticed for too long, or too quiet to not get noticed at all. I started to get a feeling that things just didn’t fit together in my life as they should, I wanted to be happy but obviously leading the life I lived didn’t equal happiness on any level. I decided to make moves to get my life in order. I started to sort out every important aspect of my life. Staring from the beginning I brought my families back together (as i am mixed race Nigerian and English so there was a few problems there). It took me around four years to fully concrete my family together and to make them see past their differences, I was successful.I didn’t have any qualifications up until 3 years ago when i decided to make the choice to get into university and study my favourite subject, music. With a lot of help from people such as my family, tutors and real life mentors (and a lot of determination), i managed to get into university and gain a degree in music. This was a step in sorting out the success problem in my life as i now have positive goals i can set myself and reach. A few years before this though, i took time far, far away from the world and moved so i could do a lot of inner work on myself. My traveling took me to as far as China where I became aware of the real definition of ‘inner turmoil’ and ‘inner peace’. As a result i have my emotions in order and in control. All of these steps have taken a lot of years to see through and i think this progress is an on-going thing which will not end. But it feels good and i wake up every morning happy and willing to get on with the next task.I have had to face old enemies I made, and face people I hurt. There are scars on my body which some would find unsettling on the eyes. I wear these as reminders, tattoos of my past views; they keep me aware of how far I have come, and how far I have yet to go. A lot of younger people in my life look up to me and I take full responsibility in the things I show them or indirectly teach them. My journey will be a one that has no ending, I love this realisation as it frees my mind, this space will enable me to realise my full potential and once I have found my gold, I can then continue my journey and help others find their own hidden treasure. I am currently working in a music studio, as i have the opportunity to run music based courses here for people. Once, i was sent here as part of my youth offending order. Now, 10 years later, i am here working with kids from that very same service. I work with other people but all are from organizations which deal with vulnerable people. I feel that i have a lot to give to other people if they care to listen and i find it important to listen to other people if they wish to talk. I am a very intelligent person and i am very aware as to how the ‘system’ was built, and works on both sides. I am also very empathetic when it comes to other people, it is a skill i am glad to have as i believe this world is so fast and unforgiving that a lot of people think they do not have the time to listen to others, i disagree. I believe you need to listen, but you need to do more. To actually do something physical to make a positive change in someone’s life is the real meaning of empathy.

Creativity Corner!!! Every issue we will be featuring your creative pieces of work whether it be poems, stories, art work or anything else creative please send them in and we will try and feature them in the next issue... Please send them to.... Clare Edge Young Peoples’ Project Worker The CLA, Clarendon House, 5th Floor, 81 Mosley Street, Manchester, M2 3LQ

ToRn HeArT !!! All I want is your Understanding, Time has come again For Me, Life is A1 way street and with Feeling the pain, What Is LOVE with Out Lost, There’s a voice in my head you’ll never reach it, Yes it crossed my mind again, Well, tried everything but suicide. It feels like I’m the only 1 going through it all, Just what do I do with all that aggression? Why wasn’t it my life, it’s almost every1’s question? I just want you close where we can stay forever, It tears me up trying to hold on but hurts, Being strong, it’s damn right hard! When I was lost I saw myself looking in the darkest direction, its even dark in the day time, Waited til I saw the sun, How much I pretended my heart drowned. People keep talking, Everybody lies everybody cries, People can say and think what they like, Going all the way like I really really no what the truth is? But I’m only guessing, The truth hurt’s but the lies work, It will get better in time. Saying the same lines over again no matter, I will die in ecstasy! Baby I will find it in me, will only get better, I taught myself to turn in the right direction, I’m doing it for a thrill, I’m hoping you’ll understand, Great perfection now let go of my hand, Just a thought, but I’m fine! Just remember who you are! By Ruth Easton age 24

Christina’s Story I first went in to foster care when I was 13, I was nervous and scared and felt that I shouldn’t be there; I had a family and didn’t think I belonged with somebody else’s. My social worker picked me up and dropped me off, I felt dumped, hurt but most of all alone. I had a really bad attitude and it took me a couple of months to settle at my new home. Carol my foster carer was really nice but it took me a while to adapt to the rules as I had never had any. I never listened to anyone and always did what I wanted. I believed that there was nothing wrong with my past; it was just my life, my normality. It took about a year for me to start realising how families should be and that being nice was not what my carer was paid to do, she actually loved having me around. Our relationship was not always great, we had are ups and downs as all families do. When we argued, other social workers would get involved, I didn’t realise why at the time but they had to, it was their job. I thought I was naughty and labelled as “a kid in care” but I couldn’t be more wrong, I was just a teenager and sometimes teenagers misbehave. When I spoke to my friends about Carol, I referred to her as my Nan, they knew that she wasn’t my Nan but they never said anything. After about a year me and Carol had grown very close, we of course had times when things were hard but overall our relationship was good. The most important thing I learned whilst in care was that I was special and I was loved. I became really ambitious and wanted everything. People around me told me I wouldn’t get what I wanted but I kept believing. I would tell myself that, I’ll prove them wrong. When I was 15 I met a boy called Ste. Being in a relationship caused problems between me and Carol as she didn’t think I was old enough to be in a serious relationship. Looking back now I understand why Carol was concerned for me as I was very young. As time went on I wanted to do my own thing and as we went away to the caravan every weekend I couldn’t go see Ste or my friends. This caused a lot of arguments between me and Carol and I was eventually told that if I wanted to see Ste and my friends when I wanted I would have to move into a Children’s Home. It really hurt me to leave but I looked at my life as chapters in a big book and I had to make the happy ending myself, so I moved into a Children’s Home (continued on the next page).

Making a SUCCESS out of OUR LIVES (Christina’s story continued) Ste took me there and we sat outside just looking at this house. Ste felt really terrible picking me up from one home and dropping me off at another. As we sat outside I told myself that it was only going to be for one more year, so I got my stuff and walked inside. It was completely different, every door had a lock, I had to sign for everything and yet again more rules. The first night I cried myself to sleep but I decided that I needed to take everyday as it comes. The next morning I went to school, saw my friends, went back and after a week it wasn’t so bad. I went out with Ste every night. I got used to the staff coming and going and I got on with them all really well. I cleaned my room did what they asked and we all got on well. As the summer came I left school and my next chapter had already begun… I was pregnant so many people would say I told you so. Soon after I was offered a flat which I accepted it was by my family and we were all on good terms again. Ste helped decorate my flat and soon after it felt like home. The baby was born in spring and we were a little family. It was time for us to move to a home together so we rented a house by Ste’s family and when Lexie started nursery I started an apprenticeship in business administration. We were both really young, Ste was 20 and I was 17 and sometimes when friends were going out it was hard as I was at home with a baby and didn’t have much money, only enough to pay my bills and have food on the table. I moved from the flat when Lexie was one as I had a good job, I had extra money to pay towards rent and me and Ste found a house not far from his family. Lexie started a new nursery and I started to get a bit more time for myself so I took driving lessons and passed my driving test in the summer. It was really hard having all the responsibilities at such a young age. We lived at the rented house for about a year and we thought about buying our own home but at the time I didn’t think it would happen. There were new houses being built by Lexie’s nursery so we went to view them, gave all our information and decided to go for it. October came and so did the phone call… we got the Mortgage and all our dreams were coming true. I have completed my apprenticeship and I also won Liverpool’s apprentice of the year. I was awarded the honour because I have over come many obstacles and put in a lot of extra hard work and commitment in order to progress my career and achieve my goals. I have passed all my exams and got a new home and car all in the same year. I look at my life when I was in care all the time and I wouldn’t change it. It made me the person I am today, strong and determined…because if you want anything in life I am proof you can achieve it, you just have to work for it.

GOAL Project:

Getting ON And LIVING

Recent NEWs!! In December we secured some money from the Hilton in the Community Foundation to run an independent life skills project for young care leavers in Greater Manchester aged 16-25 We have called it the GOAL project (Getting On And Living) and we will be putting young people volunteer “Trainer- Mentors” in the position of delivering the project alongside our

Project Worker, Clare. The volunteers will be working with groups of young people to look at developing GOAL plans individually and as a group to support their leaving care plans.

The GOAL plan looks at areas that action is needed and will be guided in a way that uses care leavers own experiences of success and of overcoming challenges.

This is what makes it unique! We need your own real life experiences of leaving care to feed in to the toolkit and inform young peoples’ leaving care experience! Get in touch!

A Final WORD... Next Issue… Let us know what you want us to focus on for the next issue! If you have any experiences that you want to share or views or ideas please get in touch with Clare (Young People’s Project Worker)

Being a Care Leaver

How do you feel about being a care leaver? Do you want to meet other care leavers and share experiences? There are lots of ways you can get involved! visit for more information. Networking Project: a network of care leavers who meet at various locations across the country to share experiences and ideas. For more information please contact Darren Coyne

Organisations that can help you

For more information on your rights and entitlements in care and leaving care contact: • Offi ce of the Children’s Rights Director Tel: 0800 528 0731 For information and advice around leaving care entitlements • Care Leavers’ Association Tel: 0161 236 1980 For information around the law and your entitlements contact: • Children’s Legal Centre www.lawstuff Tel:0808 020 008 To get involved in lobbying campaigning around in Care issues contact: • A National Voice Tel:0161 237 5577 • Who Cares? Trust Tel:020 7251 3117 To get involved in lobbying and campaigning around leaving care contact: • Care Leavers’ Association Tel: 0161 236 1980 For an advocate to help you complain about something you are unhappy with about services from the leaving care team or social services contact: • Voice Tel: 0808 800 5792

Illustrations by Lee Wilbraham

For more information contact Clare

With Special Thanks to All those on the CLA_YPP Committee For more info follow us on Twitter #cla_ypp

The Care Leavers Association is a registered charity (1111988) and limited company (5204243)

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