Housing advice: care leavers

Before you leave care, your Personal Advisor will work with you to make sure you are ready to live on your own. This means creating a Pathway Plan setting out your development goals. Living on your own for the first time can be scary. Your Personal Advisor can refer you for support with life skills and budgeting to make sure that you can live on your own successfully.

Housing options for care leavers aged 16 - 18

  • Remain in your foster placement

If you have been accommodated in the same foster placement since the age of 15, you may be eligible for the placement to continue under a supported lodgings arrangement. Your Personal Advisor can provide further guidance on this.

  • Supported lodgings with friends or family

You may have an adult friend or family member who is able to provide a safe and suitable home under a supported lodgings arrangement.

  • Supported housing for young persons

There are various types of supported accommodation, most of which are shared houses with support on-site. The level of support would depend on the needs of the individual.

Housing options for care leavers aged 18 to 21

When you become 18 you are legally able to hold your own tenancy. While you may still be eligible for any of the options above, you may also wish to think about social housing or private rented accommodation. If you have not lived on your own before, you may be able to receive on-going support from a support worker who can help you to manage your tenancy.

If you are thinking about renting privately, there are various options including:

  • A room in a shared house where the landlord lives in the property
  • Shared housing where the landlord does not live in the property
  • Self-contained accommodation
  • Further education placement with student accommodation

If you are in full-time further or higher education, Children's Services must find you somewhere to live during holiday periods if you need it.

If you want to register for social housing, you can do this via West Lancs Homefinder (external link).

Housing options for care leavers aged 21+

Some older care leavers can get accommodation from the Council if they are in priority need. For example, this may be the case if you: 

  • are vulnerable as a result of having been in care
  • haven't had a stable home since you left care
  • have slept on the streets in the past

What happens if you become homeless?

If you are under 18, Lancashire County Council's Children's Services Team is responsible for finding you somewhere to live until you turn 18.

If you are 18, 19 or 20, we will have a duty to help you. You are automatically classed as being in priority need until your 21st birthday which means that we should help you find a place to live.

What financial help can I get?

Most 16 or 17 year old care leavers are not eligible for benefits. Lancashire County Council's Children's Services Team must help you by:

  • Providing housing or helping you find and keep your own place
  • Supporting you financially by paying you enough for your rent, food, bills, travel costs for education and training, clothing, pocket money and childcare if you need it
  • Giving you any other support you need such as help with continuing your education, finding work or dealing with personal problems

You can usually only claim benefits if you are a 16 or 17 year old care leaver and you are also a single parent or unable to work because of a disability or illness. When you turn 18 you are entitled to claim benefits.

Find out more from Turn2Us (external link) about benefit rules for care leavers.

Where can I get independent advice?

You can get advice from: