Leaving care

Follow this procedure when preparing a young person to leave care.
Document ID number 1114, version 5, 15 July 2024.

Preparation for leaving care is part of case planning.

The care team shares responsibility for preparing the young person for life after care.

This means ensuring young people leaving care have:

  • ongoing opportunities over time to develop independent living skills
  • involvement in decision making
  • a 15+ care and transition plan
  • a referral to the Better Futures at 15 years and nine months
  • essential documentation, possessions and life records.

This procedure is for Child Protection practitioners or community service workers who are managing a young person's case.

See Leaving care - advice for further information.


Case manager tasks

  • Start preparation and planning from 15 years.
  • Support the young person to participate in planning so all decisions consider their views and concerns.
  • Review the case plan and make sure that it is informed by a comprehensive current assessment.
  • Engage the parents and other family in transition planning.
  • Develop and implement a 15+ care and transition plan, including an updated assessment of the young person’s living skills, using the LAC framework.
  • Complete the Better Futures referral checklist and make a referral via CRIS to CRISSP to a Better Futures agency when a young person is:
    • aged 15 years and nine months
    • residing in care
    • subject to a family reunification order, a care by Secretary order, or a long-term care order. See Better Futures Referral CRIS guide.
  • Refer to Better Futures website for practice advice, checklists, templates and resources.
  • Follow up specialist assessments, including service eligibility assessments, in discussion with the young person. Leave enough time before the young person transitions from care.
  • Support the young person to participate in planning so that all decisions consider their views and concerns.
  • For young people living in a community service placement, ensure that an application is made for the transition to independent living allowance (TILA) – refer to Transition to independent living allowance advice.
  • Liaise with Individual and Family Support (Youth Justice, Disability), Streetwork Outreach Service and other services. Involve these services in preparation of leaving care plans where relevant. Streetwork Outreach Services may be able to support existing linkages with non-statutory services through informal communication with former clients and relevant services.
  • Complete protection order outcomes actions – see Protection order policy.
  • Complete all documentation in CRIS including decisions and rationales. Review the Compliance Dashboards in CRIS for activities that are due, or actions required.

Streetwork Outreach Service practitioner tasks

  • Liaise with care team members and attend meetings to help plan support services for young people leaving care.
  • If former clients are subject to the leaving care provisions of the CYFA, record services in a case note on the closed file in CRIS.

Supervisor tasks

  • Provide ongoing supervision and support.
  • Follow up to make sure that the transition from care plan is adequate.

Team manager tasks

  • Ensure case planning includes transition planning for leaving care.
  • This should include reunification, alternative long-term care, remaining in the current home, independent or semi-supported living, and whether a review of the existing child protection order is needed.