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7.7.2 Pathway Financial Arrangements for Young People who have Left Care Aged 16-17


For the purposes of this chapter, ‘left care’ means left residential or foster care irrespective of a young person’s legal status.


This chapter was reviewed throughout in December 2016 and updated as required.


  1. Introduction
  2. Guidance

1. Introduction

The Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000 made Children’s Services financially responsible for all young people leaving care until their 18th birthday and for some young people who are in education or training up until 24.

The financial arrangements outlined in this document are intended to be used as a guide. Individual circumstances should always be taken into account when making decisions about a young person’s finances and should also be identified in the young person’s Pathway Plan.

2. Guidance

These arrangements should be read in conjunction with the Pathway Finance Grid, which includes details of current maximum amounts that can be paid for different situations and are updated annually.

Bank Account

Young people should be encouraged to open their own bank account and develop the skills to manage their own finances. Pathway workers shall advise young people on how to manage their account. Financial assistance should be channelled through a young person’s bank account wherever possible.

Payments of Allowances

In most cases weekly allowance payments will be made directly into a young person’s bank account; however consideration will be given to individual circumstances on how and where allowances are received.

Young People who are Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET)

Payments to young people are equivalent to nationally agreed levels set by the Department of Work & Pensions (DWP).

Incentive Payment

Young people in education or training will receive an incentive payment to top up their income. In addition, they are entitled to the following:

  • Assistance with travel, such as purchase of a bicycle or a bus pass if necessary;
  • Financial assistance toward clothing or equipment or other associated costs of their course.

Accommodation Costs

Rent for a single person in a private or council tenancy will be paid up to a level agreed by the Pathway Manager, reflecting the current housing market average rental level for a one bedroom flat in York. If a young person is sharing, a lesser amount per month will be paid toward their share of the rent. This will be in agreement with the Pathway Manager.

Rent or Board Contribution

Rent or board contributions for other forms of accommodation are deducted at source from a young person’s full allowance.

Young People in Further Education: 16-19 Bursary

Young people in education or training are entitled to the 16-19 Bursary which is paid through their college or training provider. This is linked to attendance at college or a training course and is therefore closely monitored. When a young person enrols on a course, they sign an agreement with the school, college or training course which sets out what's expected of in terms of attendance, course work and progress.

Young people who are not entitled to the 16-19 bursary due to their immigration status will receive similar financial incentives to attend education or training up until they are 18. The expectations for these young people remain the same in terms of attendance and progress - this will be monitored by the Pathway worker.

Young People in Training

Young people on training courses may be entitled to the 16-19 bursary, but if not Pathway will pay an incentive to them for attending. They can also receive assistance toward travel costs.

Young people on training courses will get the same financial support from the Pathway Service as someone in education in relation to personal allowance, bills, clothing and equipment. If a young person receives assistance toward travel expenses from their training provider they will not be entitled to this from the Pathway Service. The Pathway worker will check a young person’s attendance on a regular to basis, if a young person does not attend positively their personal allowance could be reduced or withdrawn.

Recognition of Personal Achievements

When a young person makes significant personal progress or achieves a personal success, whether this is academic or other, this may be recognized by the Pathway Team, with a one-off payment.

Interview Clothing

Young people can be supported to get interview clothing.

Young People in Employment

In most cases, young people in full time employment will not be entitled to a personal allowance. There is an expectation that young people provide evidence of their income to allow a financial assessment by the Pathway worker to be undertaken.

If a young person is in low paid full time employment or part time employment, any additional financial assistance provided will be dependant on a financial assessment being undertaken.

Any young person whose net earnings are below the current Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) applicable amount i.e. £52 should not be asked to make a contribution towards their rent.

If the young person concerned is one of a couple or has dependants, is disabled, or acts as a carer of a disabled person the Pathway worker will consult a Welfare Rights Officer who will be able to calculate a figure based on the specific circumstances.

If the young person’s earnings are above £52, the method used to calculate Housing Benefit will be used to determine a fair contribution. This is based on a 65% taper designed to ensure that only part of their ‘excess-earnings’ are taken into account. The Pathway Service will use a 50% taper.


CAPTION: table containing Example
Net earnings £100.00 per week  

Rent £55.00 per week.
Applicable Amount:

Net weekly Income:
Minus earnings disregard:
Total earnings taken into account: £95.00
‘Excess’ earnings (£95.00 - £52.00) = £43.00
£43.00 x 50% =   £21.50
So £21.50 is the young person’s contribution towards their rent. The department’s contribution in this case, would therefore be:
£55.00 - £21.00 = £33.00

In these types of cases, if the rent figure is higher, it is the department’s contribution that will increase, not the young person’s.

Council Tax

16/17 year olds are not liable for council tax and should not be charged.

Young People in Custody

Young people in custody will receive no personal allowance. Whilst in custody they will receive £20 per month in the form of a postal order. Young people in custody are encouraged to engage in education and training offered by the prison to earn extra money.

Young People Placed with their Parents

If a young person is the subject of 'Placement with Parent Regulations' and therefore at home and the parent(s) or carer(s) are working then no further payments will be made to the young person. If the parent(s) or carer(s) are in receipt of benefits then the Pathway Service may agree to pay £20 to the young person as an allowance. Any additional payments should be discussed with the Pathway worker involved.

Maternity Grants

Pregnant young women who have left care are eligible to apply for a Sure Start Maternity Grant, a lump sum which does not need to be repaid - a claim can only be made once the baby is born (for same reasons as above). To assist young parents to prepare for the birth of the baby, the Pathway Service will provide a loan, up to the equivalent of the maternity grant amount, on the condition that the loaned money is repaid.

Child Care Costs

Young parents are entitled to apply for a Care to Learn grant to help with nursery fees if they are intending to undertake a full or part time college or training course of any duration. In some circumstances the Pathway Service will contribute toward child care costs such as nursery fees if this grant is unavailable and is agreed between the Pathway worker and the Manager.

Emergency Payments

Requests for emergency payments are considered on an individual basis. The Pathway worker or Manager will decide whether a direct payment is made or vouchers are given for essential food items.


Young people can make requests for financial assistance toward clothing but they are not entitled to a regular clothing grant. Decisions to grant requests by the manager are based on need and positive life choices.

Christmas Allowance

Young people in foster or residential care receive a Christmas Allowance from their carers. Young people who have left care are entitled to receive the following in the form of vouchers:

  • Under 18 £30.00;
  • Over 18 £30.00.

Young people can request this allowance is paid instead for another religious festival.

Birthday Allowances

All young people who have left care are entitled to receive £50 on their 17th birthday and £100.00 on their 18th birthday.


Young people who have left care are not entitled to a holiday allowance. However, as a reward for making positive life choices young people at the manager’s discretion may in some cases receive financial support toward a holiday.

Contact Costs

Contact with family members, friends or significant others will be financially supported whenever deemed appropriate following discussion between a young person and their Pathway worker and as outlined in their Pathway Plan. There is a limit to the amount of contact money available to each young person on a monthly basis.

Health Needs

Reasonable financial requests which support a young person to maintain their health will be granted. Requests for extra help, for example toward the cost of glasses on top of any benefit entitlements, will be considered by the manager. Specific needs which incur additional cost to a young person such as specialist hair care or skin care products will also be considered.

Hair Care

Young people are not automatically entitled to financial support for hair care. However, requests made by young people for help toward the cost of a haircut will always be considered. Decisions on whether to provide financial support will be made by Pathway workers following discussion with the Practice Manager.

Social, Cultural & Leisure Activities

Young people are encouraged to take up social, cultural and leisure opportunities and where appropriate be provided with financial support following discussion with their Pathway worker.

Alternate Funding

Pathway workers need to ensure all financial avenues have been explored when developing a financial package of support for a young person by:

  • Applying for education grants;
  • Exploring whether an education or training provider or employer provides financial assistance toward clothing, equipment, travel or child care costs;
  • Applying for charitable funds;
  • And by maximizing a young person’s welfare benefit entitlements.

Setting Up Home Grant

This is a discretionary grant which is used for helping a young person to set up a home. The current grant is set at £2100. In accordance with good practice, no more than £1500 should be spent on a young person’s first move, as some money needs to remain in “their pot” as a contingency for any later moves or replacement of worn-out items.

TV Licence

The Pathway Service will purchase a young person’s first TV licence. Young people will be helped to set up an appropriate payment plan to save up for their next TV licence.

Home contents Insurance

Pathway will pay the first year’s contents insurance when a young person moves into their own property. Beyond this the young person is encouraged to set up a payment scheme to continue to insure their possessions.


For purposes of identification, young people need to have a passport. They should already have a passport by the time they reach 16, provided by 0-16 Social Work teams. Pathway are able to replace a lost passport or provide a young person with their first passport.

Driving Licence & Lessons

Pathway are able to provide a Provisional Driving Licence and up to 10 driving lessons for Care Leavers. However, this needs to be as part of the Pathway Plan and agreed in conjunction with the Pathway Worker and Manager. Lessons can be provided as an incentive, but if young people are working they are encouraged to pay for the provisional licence and some of the lessons.

Participation Work

Young People can be paid for their time when involved in consultation, recruitment interviews, designing publicity materials, in relation to the Pathway Service. This is in acknowledgement that workers are being paid for their time for the same tasks and young people should not be disadvantaged.