There are four different types of category that you might hear people talk about:
If you are 16 or 17 years old in care and have been in care for at least 13 weeks since the age of 14, you will meet the criteria as an ‘eligible child’.
If you are 16 or 17 years old, have left care, but were in care on or after your 16th birthday and have been in care for at least 13 weeks since the age of 14, you will meet the criteria as a ‘relevant child’. This applies if you have been part of the youth justice system or hospitalised on or after your 16th birthday.
Former relevant child
This will apply if you are now aged 18 to 21 years old and you were previously either an eligible or relevant children.
If you are aged 16 to 21 years old and have been in care or, if disabled, have been privately fostered after reaching 16, but do not qualify as eligible, relevant or former relevant (you spent less than 13 weeks in care). You may also qualify if you are subject to a special guardianship order (SGO) and were looked after immediately before the SGO was made, or, if you were previously an eligible child, but returned to live with someone with parental responsibility (PR) for more than six months before your 18th birthday.
After you are 21 years
If you are a care leaver and need support past 21, you can make contact with the local authority and request support via a personal advisor (PA). The new duty to extend personal advisor support to all care leavers up to age 25 means that you will be able to continue to receive support when you reach age 21, or to request personal advisor support at any point after age 21 up to age 25, even if you had previously said that you did not want it. If you continue to be in education you can still receive support from a personal advisor after the age of 25.