Discharge from care and after care
There are several ways in which being looked after by the County Council can come to an end. Generally speaking, a Care Order finishes automatically when you reach the age of 18. A Care Order can be ended before then if a Court agrees. If you feel that your Care Order is no longer necessary, talk it over with your social worker. Children's Services and the Court may want to find out what your parents think, but if your social worker agrees with you, he or she should support you in going back to the Court to ask for the Care Order to be taken off.
Even if Children's Services feels that your Care Order is still needed, you still have the right to go to court and ask for it to be ended. The Court will hear from both sides and will then decide whether to keep the Care Order or not. Your social worker will advise you on how to get the help of a solicitor, even if he/she does not agree with what you want to do.
If you have been "Accommodated" without a care order, the arrangement may come to an end at any time if agreement is reached between the County Council and your parents. If you are over 16 you should have the major say in whether the arrangement ends - your parents may be consulted, but in most circumstances you can choose to remain looked after or leave even if they don't agree.
If you leave care after your 16th birthday you will qualify for help and support under the Children (Leaving Care) Act until you reach at least 21 years old. This will be arranged through a "Needs Assessment" and a "Pathway Plan".