Legal rights and coronavirus: Care leavers and young people transitioning to adult social care
Sophie Wells, solicitor in the human rights team, discusses the effect of the Coronavirus Act on young people in care or with care and support needs and states that while the Act has not changed the rights of care leavers, it is bad news for children transitioning to adult social care.
Posted on 16 April 2020
The rights of care leavers
- A duty to keep in touch;
- If they have lost touch, a continuing duty to consider how to re-establish contact and to take reasonable steps to do so;
- A duty to appoint (and continue the appointment of) a personal advisor for each care leaver;
- A duty to assess the care leaver’s needs for advice, assistance and support, prepare a Pathway Plan for them and keep that Pathway Plan under regular review;
- Unless satisfied that it is not necessary, a duty to maintain the care leaver, including by providing or maintaining them in suitable accommodation;
- If the child is to continue to live with their foster parent after they reach adulthood, a duty to provide the former child and their foster carers with advice, assistance and support, including financial support to the foster carer.
- Children who are likely to have care and support needs after they turn 18;
- Young carers who are likely to have support needs after they turn 18; and
- Carers who are likely to have support needs after the child they care for turns 18.
- it had decided it was not under a duty to carry out a needs or carers assessment; or
- it had completed an assessment (whether before or after the child turned 18) and, having completed that assessment, had reached a conclusion about whether there were needs for care and support and, if there were;
- had begun to meet those needs; or
- had decided it was not going to meet them (whether because those needs did not meet the eligibility criteria or for some other reason).
- there may be recourse using the Human Rights Act (although these arguments are notoriously difficult);
- it may be possible to make public law arguments that fairness and rationality require some form of assessment: how can a local authority fairly and rationally conclude that due to COVID-19 they cannot provide care and support services for young people or their carers when they have not assessed what those needs are and how they can potentially be met?