Young People

What is Continuing Care?

Has someone mentioned continuing care to you, or have you heard about it somewhere? This guide should give you an introduction to continuing care. Hopefully the information can help you understand if Continuing Care is for you.

You probably have lots of information thrown at you at the moment which is usually the case when growing up. You might be keen to move on or you might want to stay in your placement for a bit longer, both options should be available to you. Sometimes, these decisions are made a bit more complicated than they should be. Continuing Care is something that you should know about if you are reaching an age where you are thinking about leaving care. Continuing care basically means that you can continue in your placement until the age of 21. It gives you more stability and more time to prepare for living on your own. Unfortunately, the wording is a bit confusing, because “continuing care” actually means you have to leave care, to then stay in your placement. This maybe sounds a bit technical, but it can have consequences for the support that you have access to. You might be promised more independence if you are in a continuing care placement, but this also means less support and more responsibility. According to the Scottish Government, it should not be offered as an alternative to continuing on a supervision order (being in care) for those who are better off in care.  Ideally you should stay in care until you are 18 and then be offered a continuing care placement. This might be different for different people.

In 2014, the Scottish Government passed a law (Children and Young People Scotland Act 2014) that made some important changes for care leavers. One of these new changes is called Continuing Care.

You have the right to Continuing Care if:

  • You were born on or after 1st April 1999
  • You were last looked after away from home, for example in kinship, foster or residential care. This means that you have the right to stay in your care placement up to your 21st birthday. This is to help you have a more supported move from care to living more independently at a pace that suits you. If you access Continuing Care you must officially stop being looked after, for example, you will need to end your supervision order.

There are times when a placement will not be able to continue such as:

  • If you were in secure care just before you stopped being looked after
  • If the local authority believes that providing the placement would not be in your best interests It may also not be able to happen if where you stay is no longer available or if your carer can’t continue to provide the placement. However, if this happens your local authority must find you another placement which is similar and make sure that your relationship with your carer is maintained, if appropriate.

If you are considering continuing care for you, make sure that you think about your decision carefully. Nobody should pressure you either way. Speak to people you trust and whose opinion is important to you.

You have the right to have a say in the decisions that affect you. You should be asked your opinion and have your views listened to. Your ‘best interests’ must take account of your views. There is no right to return to care once you have left, so it is really important to think carefully about your plans to move on. Currently when you leave care, you can’t change your mind and go back.

There are great benefits to being in continuing care until 21 as it can reduce the pressure on you.

Related Guides

What is Throughcare and Aftercare?

If there is anything that is true, it is that the care system has many, many complicated words. Whether it is throughcare and aftercare or leaving care support – this guide gives you an overview of the kind of support you are entitled to during the transition out of care.

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Continuing Care and Aftercare
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Continuing Care and Aftercare