Skip to main content
Luton Borough Council

What type of care leaver am I?


The legal stuff

There are different legal definitions or types of young adults on their journey to leaving care. It will be useful for you to understand which definition applies to your situation.

Please contact your personal adviser if you have any questions regarding the legal definitions below.

You're an ELIGIBLE care leaver if:

  • you're currently looked after
  • aged 16 or 17
  • you've been looked after for a period of 13 weeks (or periods amounting to 13 weeks) which began after you reached 14 and ended after you reached 16

You are a RELEVANT care leaver if:

  • you are no longer being looked after by the local authority but you have been 'eligible'
    aged 16 or 17 years old
  • immediately before being detained or in hospital you were 'eligible'


  • you lived for a continuous period of 6 months or more with parent(s) or someone with parental responsibility, and where those arrangements break down

You're a FORMER RELEVANT care leaver if:

  • you are aged 18 years or above, and either have been a relevant or eligible child when under 18

If at the age of 21 or before reaching the age of 25 you are in education or training, then you will remain a former relevant child until the end of that agreed programme.

If after 21 years you inform us that you want to pursue or are pursuing a programme of education or training.

You're a QUALIFYING care leaver if:

  • you're at least 16 but under 21
  • you were looked after immediately prior to the making of a special guardianship order which was in force when you reached 18
  • at any time, after you reached the age of 16 but while you were still a child was, but is no longer looked after, accommodated or fostered

As a qualifying care leaver you're able to access advice and assistance based on a needs assessment completed by the Leaving Care team.

Care leavers age 21 to 25 with closed cases

From April 2018, we must offer care leavers the option to have support from a personal adviser (PA) until your 25th birthday. Previously, most PA support ended when you turned 21.

If you're a care leaver age 21 to 25 and your case has been closed, please contact us if you would like support.

Your support options age 21 to 25:

  • if you request PA support to continue after you are 21, we must provide it
  • if you don’t want a PA after your 21st birthday, you do not have to have one (we will close your case)
  • if you’ve said no to having a PA, you can change your mind at any time up until your 25th birthday. If you return and ask for PA support, we must provide it
  • if you’ve said yes to PA support you can also change your mind at any time. If you tell us that you don’t want a PA any more, we must withdraw the support
  • if you choose to continue with PA support you will still need to have a Pathway Plan

Pathway Planning age 21 to 25

After you turn 21, Pathway Planning will focus on the specific issues or difficulties that you and your PA have identified together. Your PA will provide guidance and support to help you.

Your Pathway Plan will only need to cover things that you and your PA identify. If you only want support for a short time this is fine. Your Pathway Plan will only need to be in place while you are receiving support.

You will have responsibilities to work with your PA, and to carry out your parts of the plan.

Access to funding

Support from your PA includes helping you to identify sources of funding. Some funding arrangements, for example, access to your Leaving Care Grant, will be able to continue after you’re 21.

© 2024 Luton Council, Town Hall, Luton LU1 2BQ