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Work, education, training and employment | Support for children leaving care | Sandwell Council

Support for children leaving care

Work, education, training and employment

Education is not just about 'The 3 Rs' and work. And believe it or not, it is not just about money.

If you decide to continue studying you will move on to what is known as further or higher education. Between the ages of 16-18, Children's Services will consider offering you help to pay for travel, textbooks, and access to a computer and protective clothing.

At 18+ you are entitled to vacation accommodation and support from your personal advisor. If you choose to go to university you will need to apply for a tuition fee loan to pay for your fees, and apply for specific bursaries and grants linked to your chosen university. As a care leaver you may be provided with additional financial support from your chosen university.

Your personal advisor will be able to discuss the support, including any additional financial support from the care leavers team.

There are a variety of modern apprenticeships. You will be paid a wage and may get a training allowance.

Finding full or part-time work may be for you. If you are 18 years and in full-time education we will continue to provide a level of financial support. We can also help with clothing for job interviews and travelling for the first week that you start to work.

Health, sex and drugs

Being healthy really is important. We aim to give you all the support, help and advice we can so that you can be healthy and safe.

Healthy eating

Good healthy foods leads to good healthy minds and bodies. Try to aim for a balance in your diet, this means eating appropriate amounts of bread, cereals, potatoes and dairy foods, foods with sugars and meat/fish. 

Trying to avoid fizzy drinks is difficult, however drinking water and/or smoothies are good alternatives. 

When snacking try to snack on foods like homemade popcorn, yoghurts and fruit. Linked to our team is a nurse; she will be available to discuss any worries that you may have.

When preparing food always

  • Wash your hands before and after preparing food
  • Reheat food safely
  • Store raw/cooked food separately

Doctors, dentists and opticians

If by now you do not have a doctor, dentist or optician one of the first tasks we will help you to do is to register with these services.

Everyone should have a doctor, doctors help us to get services like; clinics for Asthma, Mental health, counselling, baby clinics, sexual health, addictions and even perform minor operations.

Things to remember when looking for a doctor are;

  • Try and find surgeries that are close to where you live
  • Ask friends and family which doctor, dentist or optician they use and ask them why
  • Ask the surgeries about the services that they offer

Once you have made a decision on which doctor, dentist and optician you want to register with, you will need to give them information about you, like;

  • Your address
  • Your NHS no
  • Your full name/date of birth

If you are in full time education and under 19 years old you will get free:

  • NHS Dental treatment
  • Eye tests
  • NHS prescriptions
  • You may get vouchers towards buying glasses or contact lenses.

If you are getting income support you get the same as if you were in full time education but, you also sometimes get free travel costs to and from hospital appointments.

Those of you getting Jobseekers allowance get the same as those people on income support.

If your first language is not English you can use the NHS Direct Library that has videos available on any topics in Bengali, Gujarati, Punjabi, Hindi and Chinese.

Visitor

This is a nurse that offers a service to all young people 'looked after' by our service until you are 18 years old.

Once you turn 18 you can request that this support continue or visit your local GP if you have any worries about your health.

None of the information you share with them is shared with anyone without your consent, unless you are in real danger! Their main responsibility to you is:

  • To act as an advocate for you
  • Co-ordinate the assessment of current health and mental health concerns
  • To review and advise you about any known existing health problems
    Plan the right actions and make sure recommendations are carried out
  • Discuss your health lifestyle
  • Register you with a GP
  • Point you in the right direction to services that are right for you

Pregnant?

You will receive free:

  • NHS treatment throughout your pregnancy
  • Continued dental treatment if started during the 12 months following the babies' birth.

Sandwell teenage pregnancy service

This service offers you information on clinics providing sexual health support, including helping you to make choices and decisions about your personal relationships. 

Contraceptive clinics across Sandwell are available and include emergency contraceptive advice. 

Information is also provided for expectant teenagers and young parents in Sandwell and you can get involved with the workshops and drama and art residential weekends.  West Bromwich African Caribbean Resource centre and the South Asian Community Association also offer parent groups and 'drop-in' centres.

Drugs

If you are taking drugs you could also be breaking the law.  Class A, B, C drugs are known as controlled substances, class A is considered the most harmful to you.

If you need help with drug misuse or anything connected to drugs speak with your advisor or visit the Our Guide to website for more information about who can help.

National Insurance Number

If you are a UK national, you should have received your National Insurance number at least four months before your 16th birthday. If you have not received it then you will need to contact the Registration and Track Line they will then give you your number. 

If you are not a UK National, you will need to contact your local jobcentre and benefits office.

Birth Certificate

Your social worker, personal advisor or family member may have access to your birth certificate. It's often used as a form of identification for buying items, application forms and many other things. 

If you do not have one, the Registry Office where you were born can give you a copy, although you will need to pay.

Marriage

If you are thinking about getting married please think this through very carefully. Speak with your parents or carer. 

16 and 17 year olds wishing to get married will need permission from a parent or legal guardian.

Comments and complaints

If at any time you are unhappy with the service that you receive from us or have a suggestion or comment you would like to make please speak with us first, if you are unhappy with our response to you, you have a right to make a complaint, you can receive a complaint form from any of our staff team member.

Emergencies

  • You will not be able to contact your personal advisor after office hours. If you are really worried about something happening to you that is an emergency, you can contact you social worker or the department's Emergency Duty Team.
  • Contact the police or visit the police station and ask them for their help.

Pages in "Support for children leaving care"

  1. Sandwell Leaving Care Service
  2. Benefits and money
  3. Eligibility, personal advisor, advocates and pathway plan
  4. Leaving care policy and procedures
  5. You are here Work, education, training and employment