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Children (Leaving Care) Act (Northern Ireland) 2002

Article 34D – Continuing functions in respect of former relevant children

Article 34D sets out the duties of the responsible authority towards “former relevant children”.

Paragraph (1) defines a “former relevant child” as one who qualified for the new support arrangements under the Act either as an “eligible” or “relevant” child and who is aged 18 to 21.

Paragraph (2) places a duty on the responsible authority to take reasonable steps to keep in touch with a former relevant child wherever he or she might be living and to re-establish contact where this is lost.

Paragraph (3) requires the responsible authority to continue to provide the young person with a personal adviser and to regularly review his or her pathway plan.

Paragraph (4) imposes a duty on the responsible authority to provide assistance to a former relevant child with: (a) expenses associated with employment; (b) expenses associated with education or training; and (c) general assistance. In each case, the duty is to provide assistance to the extent that the young person’s welfare (or, where relevant, his educational or training needs) requires it.

Paragraph (5) provides that the assistance provided under paragraph (4)(c) may be given in kind or, exceptionally, in cash.

Paragraph (6) provides that the duties under this Article last until the young person reaches the age of 21.

Paragraph (7) provides that if a former relevant child is being assisted with education or training pursuant to his or her pathway plan, the duty to provide assistance will continue until the end of the agreed programme of education or training, even if this runs beyond the young person’s 21st birthday. The duties to keep in touch, to provide a personal adviser and to review the pathway plan also extend to the end of the programme.

Paragraph (8) requires the responsible authority to disregard any interruption in the young person’s attendance at a programme of education or training provided that he or she resumes it as soon as is reasonably practicable.

Paragraph (9) requires the responsible authority to provide, should it be needed, out of term accommodation, or the funds to secure it, for a former relevant child whom the authority is assisting with full-time further or higher education.

Paragraph (10) has the same effect as Article 34C(12).

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