The Workforce

What is throughcare and aftercare?

Throughcare and aftercare are important parts of support for young people. The terms itself though are a bit more complicated than they should be. This guide can give you a new or updated understanding of what support during transitions should look like.

Throughcare and aftercare are relevant for anyone who is an adult in the life of a young person, because you can have a great impact on their life.

If you work in throughcare and aftercare, you are probably very familiar with those terms. If not, you still might have heard them – but you might equally have not. Nowadays, many local authorities and other organisations choose to refer to the support during transitions with updated terms, like ‘leaving care support’. This is a good adaptation as usually it can make it more accessible- however it is important to have a shared language in order to communicate well between services. This guide is not proposing what that shared language should be, but rather we are highlighting that your service should be easily searchable and accessible.

In a way the support during transitions needs to be demystified – yes, it usually exists within legal categories or professional roles, but effective support is first and fore-most young person-centred.

Throughcare describes the support young people should receive before they leave care to prepare them for living an autonomous life. The term itself is a bit outdated, but the concept is as relevant as ever. Young people have a right to good support that sets them up for a good and happy life. Leaving care should in no way be a cliff edge.

From April 2015, any young person who ceases to be looked after by a local authority on or after their 16th birthday will be eligible to aftercare services. The 2014 Act also amends Section 29(2) of the 1995 Act to provide care leavers with the opportunity to receive aftercare up to (and including) the age of 25.

From April 2015 care leavers between the ages of 19 and 25 are eligible to request ‘advice, guidance and assistance’ from their local authority. (Under the 1995 Act the upper age limit to which care leavers could request aftercare support was 21.) Eligibility to aftercare applies equally to all care leavers, regardless of their placement type while ‘looked after’ by the local authority.

Eligible needs are defined in the as:

  • financial support to meet essential accommodation and maintenance costs, such as travel and other necessary living expenses;
  • support, in the form of information or advice, to assist the person to access education, training, employment, leisure and skills-related opportunities; and
  • insofar as not covered by sub-paragraph (b), support, in the form of information or advice, relating to the person's wellbeing.

The support that you should receive will be different depending on the role that you have. But even if you do not have legal obligations, you should be aware of the impact that the interactions you have with a young person can have.

If you are in a position where you support young people who are transition out of care, it is important that you continuously reflect on the quality of the support you provide.  

  • Consider the following prompts for reflections:
  • Do you regularly consult with young people and allow them to shape the service?
  • Do you take part in focus groups or practice reflections with other workers to learn about new and different ways of doing things?
  • Are you ambitious for the young people you are support?
  • What defines the support you provide? Is it financial considerations, legal obligations or the needs of the young person? It is normal that is a balance between several factors but reflecting on these can make sure it’s the right balance.

Staf offer support and training to all those involved in the care of young people with care experience. You can find out more here.

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Through And Aftercare