Guidance on Part 10 (Aftercare) of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014

Explains the changes made by Part 10 (Aftercare) of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014.


20. Local authorities and other corporate parents have duties to prepare looked after young people for life after they cease to be looked after and to provide advice, guidance and assistance to eligible care leavers. The 2014 Act updates and expands the framework within which these services are to be delivered by extending eligibility for Aftercare services.

21. This supports the overall aim for young people to make successful transitions out of the looked after system, based on plans that reflect their individual needs and aspirations, backed up by consistent, personalised relationship-based support from local authorities and other corporate parents. Across Scotland, local authorities and their partners continue to work to realise this aim, however, research and official national statistics [1] highlight the considerable difficulties which continue to be faced by young people once they cease to be looked after.

22. Periods of homelessness, poverty, unemployment, involvement with the criminal justice system and poor mental health are a reality for many, as a result of Adverse Childhood Experiences ( ACEs), effectively excluding them from opportunities to improve their wellbeing and realise their ambitions not just in early adulthood but across the whole life course.

23. Since commencement of the 1995 Act (establishing the framework of After-care services) the nature of transitions for the general population of teenagers in the UK has changed profoundly [2] . Young people remain in the family home longer, benefiting from the financial and emotional security this offers. Conversely, young people are engaging in notionally "adult" behaviours at an increasingly early age [3] . Such 'partial transitions' subvert traditional, linear views of the journey into adulthood, and throw into question ideas of 'independence' in young adulthood [4] .

24. The changes introduced by the 2014 Act, preceded by the Staying Put Scotland guidance published in 2013, have been developed in response to these realities experienced by the wider population. It is now accepted that most young people leaving care require support over an extended period, into adulthood, in order to manage the consequences of their pre-care and in-care experiences, particularly in the context of an increasingly challenging and competitive environment for young adults.

25. The Scottish Care Leaver Covenant, a sector led initiative facilitated by the Centre for Excellence for Looked After Children in Scotland ( CELCIS), clearly sets out both implementation challenges and potential responses to these challenges, and aims to support cworporate parents to improve the lives of care leavers.

26. The Housing Options Protocol for Care Leavers also published in 2013 complements the Staying Put Scotland policy and offers practical examples of how corporate parents may address the issues of accommodation for those leaving care. Further information on the particular issue of accommodation options for care leavers is further set out in the CELCIS Inform Briefing: Housing Options and Care Leavers Improving Outcomes into Adulthood [5] published July 2015. This is summarised in Appendix B .

27. The 2014 Act extends care leavers' entitlement to advice, guidance and assistance, subject to an assessment, up to and including the age of twenty-five years old.

28. For most care leavers it will also be necessary to offer a more graduated transition out of care with continuity of relationships, and support and assistance provided at levels similar to when they were formally looked after for a continuing period. For this reason the 2014 Act introduces a new provision of Continuing Care. This provides eligible care leavers with the opportunity to remain in the same accommodation they were living in immediately before they ceased to be looked after, until their twenty-first birthday. Please refer to the guidance on Part 11 (Continuing Care) of the 2014 Act for full details on this entitlement.

29. Combined with the renewed focus on a young person's 'wellbeing' (section 96 of the 2014 Act), these changes to Aftercare are designed to embed an approach which facilitates relationship-based practice, and puts the needs of the young person at the centre of planning and delivery.

30. All young people (aged sixteen or over) leaving care should encounter an implicit and explicit expectation from professionals that they have the right to support, including, where appropriate, the opportunity to remain in their existing care placement as part of a 'Continuing Care' arrangement.

31. A local authority's approach to providing advice and assistance to prepare young people for leaving care ('throughcare') and any advice, guidance and support when they cease to be looked after ('Aftercare'), should be orientated towards establishing interdependence for young people. Acknowledging that relationships are of crucial importance and that the transition into adulthood and associated decisions about allocation of resources should be at a pace suited to each young person's preparedness, not simply a matter of chronological age. Interdependence more accurately reflects the day to day reality of an extended range of healthy inter-personal relationships, social supports and networks.

32. Local authorities and other corporate parents will want to ensure that their systems, procedures, processes and practice supports the primary focus on relationships for the young person, both within their care experience and beyond. See Staying Put Scotland guidance.

33. Section 66 of the 2014 Act inserts a new subsection 29(10) into the 1995 Act placing a duty on local authorities to notify the Scottish Ministers and the Care Inspectorate of the death of a person being provided with advice, guidance or assistance by them under section 29 of the 1995 Act (i.e. Aftercare). This duty took effect from 1 April 2015.


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