What is a pathway plan?
Every young person in care must have a pathway plan, usually starting around your 16th birthday. Your pathway plan says how AfC will help you prepare to live independently. It is like a contract or agreement between you, AfC and other important professionals in your life. More importantly, it gives you a chance to share your wishes and feelings. You are the most important element in this process as this is your plan.
The pathway plan should identify support needs and agree actions to be taken to meet those needs. Some of these actions will be for you to complete and some will be for your social worker, personal advisor, or family members.
A review of your pathway plan should take place at least every six months, but you can ask for this to be reviewed at any time. It should be written in language that you understand. You can ask for changes to be made to your plan if you don’t understand it. Your plan also needs to be reviewed if there are any big changes in your life as it needs to look at what is happening now. You contribute towards this and, therefore, you and your social worker signs your plan and you should get a copy. This will help you track progress and keep on track as to what needs to happen.
Young people aged 18 and above will also have a pathway plan until the age of 21. Pathway plans will continue to be reviewed every six months.
What should my pathway plan cover?
My Health: If you have health problems, your pathway plan should say how AfC will help you manage them. It is not just for problems, though; it should also say how AfC will help you live a healthy lifestyle (such as helping you to access healthy activities).
My Emotional Well-being and Behaviour: How do you feel about yourself? How do you get on with other people? Are there things that could help? Let your social worker or personal advisor know so they can follow up.
My Education, Training and Employment: Your plan should make sure you have everything you need to succeed and are on track to achieve your educational and career goals. This includes clear aims for you to meet and how AfC will support you, including financially (for example, practical support or equipment depending on assessed need).
My Home: AfC should assess your accommodation (current or planned) and see if it is suitable for you, including location, safety, bills and rent. Future housing options should be explained including plans to move to independent accommodation and what needs to be done for this to happen. If you are not happy where you live let us know.
Independent Living Skills: This should look at how prepared you are for life as an adult. What do you need to learn to be ready to live independently? How will AfC help you do that? This can vary from cooking a meal to paying bills.
Family, Social and Community Relationships: Do you have a good relationship with your family? Have you got people to turn to when you need them? Your plan should identify how AfC will help you have good social and family relationships. If you are unhappy about contact arrangements with your family, this is where you need to make your voice heard.
Who am I?: This is about what makes you… you. AfC should help you with any questions you have about your past, support you need around language, religion, ethnicity and sexual orientation, as well as ensuring you have the right identification documents and know how to access your files.
Managing Your Money: It’s really important there is a clear statement of the financial support you’ll get from AfC. This should state your entitlements and other help you will get, how to get it and when. It should cover help you might need to budget, savings you may have and benefits you are entitled to.
Where would you like to be in a year’s time?: Your plan should look at your life ambitions and help you think about what these are.
How are we going to make this plan work: This should look at what your three most important goals are, and your plan should help you achieve these.
Plan/ Next Steps: Your plan should outline what needs to be done, by whom, and by when, so that it is clear to you and everyone else involved what next steps should be.
What can I do if I am unhappy with the assessment process or support provided?
You can make a complaint about the way you have been assessed or the support listed in the Pathway Plan.
If you feel that the assessment has not been properly followed, you can submit a complaint to the Local Authority. Your personal advisor or social worker should inform you how to do this. It is advisable that you have an advocate to help you - your personal advisor or social worker can help you with finding one.
Coram Voice has produced a resource to guide children in care and leaving care in making a complaint.
If there is a clear failure to follow the regulations, it is possible to bring a Judicial Review against the Local Authority – we advise you to contact a solicitor.