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Help and housing information for care leavers

Care Leavers and Homelessness 

A care leaver is defined as a person aged 25 or under, who has been looked after by a local authority for at least 13 weeks since the age of 14; and who was looked after by the local authority at school-leaving age or after that date. 

If you are a 'looked after child,' Staffordshire County Council's Children's Services is responsible for finding you somewhere to live until you turn 18. 

Before you turn 18, your Personal Advisor at Children's Services should help you make a 'pathway plan' which sets out housing, training, education, financial needs and how they will be met, including help and support you need after you leave care.

Your Personal Advisor can help you with application forms for housing, benefits, and education and/or training courses. They should also help you with learning life skills, like how to budget.

If you are a care leaver moving to a new place, you can get a setting up home allowance (also known as a leaving care grant) to help you buy essential things when moving into your own home. Speak to your personal adviser about this. You may also be able to receive a grant or emergency cash payment through the Derbyshire Discretionary Fund

You will be able to ask for support from your Personal Adviser up to the age of 25. Get advice if you don't have a personal adviser.

The Care Leaver Offer sets out the support and services offered to Derbyshire's care experienced young people.

Housing Advice 

If you are a care leaver and do not have accommodation available to you, you can apply to our housing register.

You can apply to our Housing Register before your 18th birthday but your application will remain pending while we determine if you are capable of managing a tenancy. You may not be offered accommodation until you have turned 18 unless you have a guarantor who will be responsible for the tenancy.

We may ask for a support plan from your Personal Advisor to demonstrate that you will be able to manage your own tenancy, for example, understanding that you are responsible for your guests in the property, ability to live independently, budget and manage finances. You may have support from your Personal Advisor in achieving this.

Care Leavers, under the age of 21, who normally live in a different area of Derbyshire and have done so for at least two years (including some time before their 16th birthday) will be exempt from our usual local residency requirement.

You can apply to the Housing Register, called Home Options, here

Choices made around housing for young people can have long-term impacts on your ability to find accommodation later in life, for example if you fall behind on your rent payments or lose accommodation due to problems with friends causing noise and nuisance. Support is often available, so it is important that you ask for help. Your personal advisor or housing provider or the housing advice service can be a point of contact.


If you are homeless or threatened with homelessness, it is important to contact the Housing Advice service who will assess your situation and provide you with the relevant housing advice and assistance. 

If you have spent at least one night in care whilst you were 16 or 17 years old, you will automatically be considered in 'priority need' for homeless assistance until your 21st birthday, which means that Housing Advice service will have a duty to provide emergency accommodation if you are homeless and eligible for assistance. 

If you are a care leaver and over 21 years of age, the Housing Advice service will determine whether you are in 'priority need' for homeless assistance and emergency accommodation. We will assess each case on an individual basis, exploring the vulnerability of the person approaching our service.

Regardless of whether you are considered to have priority need, the Housing Advice service can help you to find accommodation if you are homeless and eligible for assistance. 


When you turn 18 you are entitled to claim benefits. You should be able to claim Universal Credits. Citizen's Advice will be able to check what you are entitled to or your personal advisor should help you to apply. 

Housing-Related Benefits

Usually if you are aged under 35 and you rent from a private landlord, the maximum housing benefit you can get is the same rate you would get for renting a single room in a shared house. If you've been in care, this doesn't apply until you turn 25. You should be entitled to housing benefit for a one-bedroom self-contained accommodation of your own.

There is a maximum amount that you can be paid for housing-related benefits, which depends on the area you live in. The maximum rates of entitlement (known as Local Housing Allowance) are available here

NYAS (National Youth Advocacy Service)    

Provides advocacy for the following groups of children and young people. The service is available for care leavers up to the age of 25.

Tel: 0800 808 1001


Centrepoint help 16-25 year olds into a safe place to live, provide a health assessment and plan support for their individual mental and physical health needs. Centrepoint is the UK's leading charity for homeless young people.

Tel: 0808 800 0661


Barnardo's provides leaving care services across the UK. The services aim to bridge the gap for young people leaving care and living in the adult world. The services help young people to develop the life skills they need to look after themselves, and include encouraging them to look at employment, training or further education opportunities.

St Basils     

St Basils helps young people aged 16-25, across the West Midlands region, who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

Tel: 0300 303 0099

The Care Leavers Foundation     

They can offer modest but vital grants to care leavers aged 18-29 who are in crisis, or who want to take control of their lives and develop new skills.

Tel: 01678 540598

Contact us

The Housing Advice service can provide you with housing and homelessness advice and assistance.

Tel: 0345 605 3010


If you are homeless and the council offices are closed, then you can contact the homelessness out of hours service on 0808 1692 333. You should only use this service if you have nowhere to stay immediately.