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5.9.8 Care Leavers Health History

Around 10,000 young people leave care in England each year aged between 16-18 years old. They leave home at a younger age and have more abrupt transitions to adulthood than their peers. Unlike their peers who normally remain in the family home, care leavers will often be living independently at age 18. Information from the Children Right’s Director’s surveys on care leavers and Children in Care Council (CICC) meetings show that many care leavers feel that they leave care too early and often feel isolated and lonely.

Research and inspection reports show that the quality of support care leavers receive is patchy and that their journey through the first decade of adult life is often disrupted, unstable and troubled. They often struggle to cope and this can lead to social exclusion, long term unemployment or involvement in crime.

Statutory guidance on Promoting the health and well-being of looked after children (GOV.UK) requires local authorities, Clinical Commissioning Groups and NHS England to ensure that there are effective plans in place to enable looked-after children aged 16 or 17 to make a smooth transition to adulthood. This includes providing them with as much detail as possible on their health history including birth details. Care leavers should expect the same level of care and support that other young people get from their parent.

Knowsley Care Leavers

Young people looked after by Knowsley Children’s Social Care will be provided with a summary of their health history by the Looked after Children Health Team prior to their 18th birthday.

The LAC Specialist Nurse will review the child health records including any electronic record and extract all relevant health information to populate the individual care leaver health information pack.

This must be populated prior to their last LAC review which will take place in the 6 months prior to their 18th birthday.

Once the care leaver health information pack has been populated the LAC Specialist Nurse must contact the young person and arrange a mutually convenient place and time to be given the care leaver health information pack.

The LAC Specialist Nurse must explain the purpose of the pack and provide explanations of any health conditions that are unfamiliar. This meeting must be recorded on the young person’s electronic social care record and can be supported by the child’s social worker or personal advisor. This applies to all eligible young people who reside within a 20 mile radius of Knowsley.

If the young person resides in a placement that is a distance of more than 20 miles of Knowsley the care leaver health information pack must be collated as described above and the LAC Specialist Nurse must contact the LAC Nurse in the area that the young person resides to request a visit to facilitate this process.

If the above is unable to be facilitated then the care leaver health information pack can be provided to the young person via their social worker, their personal advisor or by post with a covering letter. This will be in exceptional circumstances only.

A word document version of the care leaver health information must be uploaded to the young person’s children’s Social Care Record and the social worker and Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO) notified by adding a case note.  

Any issues with contacting the young person must be discussed with their social worker in the first instance.

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