Care Leavers

Pathway plan

You should have a pathway plan. This is a document you have created with your social worker that shows how you will move to independent living. It should clearly say:

  • how social services will support you
  • what other support is available
  • what will happen if things don’t go according to the plan

It should include where you will live, what money you will live on, and a plan for your education, training or employment. Social services must review your plan every six months and amend it if your needs change.

Personal adviser

Your pathway plan should tell you who will help you after you leave care. This is your ‘personal adviser’. Social services should keep your plan up to date and give you a personal adviser until your 21st birthday, or until your 25th birthday if you ask for this, or until your education or training ends if that is later. Supporting young people leaving care - further information. If you don’t know who your personal adviser is, contact the social services who looked after you. Or, ring Coram Voice for advice on freephone number 0808 800 5792.

Finding somewhere to live

Social services don’t usually provide you somewhere to live after you turn 18, but they must plan what will happen with your housing. Your housing options include:

Paying for rented accommodation

You can normally claim housing benefit (HB) or universal credit (UC) to help pay for rented housing. After your 22nd birthday, HB or UC will only pay for a room in a shared house unless your landlord is the council or a housing association, or you have a dependent child. Go to to see what you are entitled to.

Private Leting Service 

Most landlords ask for Rent in Advance and Deposit. Speak to your personal advisor as you may be entitled to a grant for this.

Staying put

If your foster family agree, you could continue to live with them. Social services will pay them an allowance until you are 21 to provide you with ‘supported lodgings’.

Applying to the council as homeless

If you apply to the council’s homelessness team because you are homeless, the council must create a personalised housing plan (PHP) for you. Your PHP lists the steps that you and the council will take to help you find suitable accommodation. If you are in ‘priority need’ (see below), the council must find you somewhere to live while the steps are taken. This might be in a hostel, but it must be suitable for your needs. You are in priority need as a care leaver if you are 18, 19 or 20 and spent 24 hours or more in care while you were 16 or 17. Care leavers aged 21 or over may also be in priority need. If you are still homeless after the steps in your PHP have been taken, and if you are in priority need, the council may have to provide you with longer-term housing.

Going on the waiting list for social housing

The majority of social housing in Cornwall is allocated by Cornwall Housing

Apply for social housing by join Cornwall Homechoice  

Foyers and supported accommodation

Foyers provide supported accommodation for young people. Services offered include: support, education, budgeting, training, life skills, employment, cooking, maintaining accommodation. Housing benefit to cover accommodation charges if in education or training.

Care and support in Cornwall  

In care for less than 13 weeks

If you spent less than 13 weeks in care, or if you returned home successfully when you were 16 or 17, you won’t have a pathway plan or personal adviser. However, social services must still advise you, and may give you assistance in exceptional circumstances, such as buying you items you need.

Further advice

Contact Housing Options on 0300 1234 161

Contact the 16 plus team on 0300 1234 101; email