New guidance on Continuing Care and Welfare Assessments

December 3rd 2021
Together with CELCIS (the Centre for Excellence for Children’s Care and Protection) and the Care Inspectorate, we have written a Practice Note to help explain the rights of looked after young people to stay put in positive care placements after they leave care.

What does the law in Scotland say about Continuing Care and Welfare Assessments?

There are laws in Scotland that enable and empower young people to stay in positive care placements after they leave care.  Since 2015, Local Authorities have had a legal duty to support young people to stay on in placements that benefit them after they leave care. They can stay put until they are 21 or until they are ready for a planned move on. This accommodation and support after leaving care is known as Continuing Care. The law says that the only reason for an eligible young person not to get Continuing Care is if an assessment – called a Welfare Assessment – shows that staying in a placement would “significantly adversely affect the welfare of the young person”. 

What is a Practice Note?

It is a document that clearly explains the law and how it should be put into practice. It is aimed at people who are involved in planning and providing support for young people as they prepare to leave care.

Why did we write one?

One of our aims here at Clan Childlaw is to give legal help to young people who are not getting the accommodation and support they are entitled to when they leave care.  Our Care Leavers’ Law Service provides legal help and we also give advice and training on care leavers rights to people who care for and support young people leaving care.  

Although the law changed five years ago, we still see in our work that eligible young people are not always provided with continuing care. We also see a lot of different approaches to Welfare Assessments. We spoke to CELCIS and the Care Inspectorate about how we could combine what we have all learned and work together to increase understanding of care leavers rights in Scotland.  

We hope that this Practice Note will make it easier to understand the law around care leavers’ rights to stay on in positive placements when they leave care.

More Information

Download Continuing Care and the Welfare Assessment: Practice Note

If you need legal information or advice about Continuing Care for a young person you are supporting, contact Clan Childlaw for expert support.