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Adoption and Children Act (Northern Ireland) 2022

Section 129: Local offer for care leavers

Section 129 inserts new Article 34G (Local offer for care leavers) in the Children Order. Paragraph (1) requires an authority to publish information about the services which it offers to care leavers as a result of its duties under the Children Order and other services it offers that may assist care leavers in or in preparing for adulthood and independent living.

Paragraph (2) sets out the kinds of services that may assist care leavers in, or in preparing for adulthood and independent living. These are services relating to: health and well-being; relationships; education and training; employment; accommodation; and participation in society.

Paragraph (3) provides that, where it considers it appropriate, the authority must also publish information about services for care leavers offered by others which an authority has the power to offer itself. This could for example, include the offer of advocacy services provided by a voluntary organisation contracted to do so or where a voluntary organisation is offering advice/support to young people relating to matters such as managing finances, counselling, building relationships, parenting skills etc.

The information to be published is to be known as an authority's “local offer for care leavers” (paragraph (4)). An authority must update its local offer from time to time (paragraph (5)). Before publishing its local offer, or any updated version of it, an authority is required to consult persons who appear to it to be representative of care leavers in its area, about which of the services offered by the authority may assist care leavers in, or in preparing for, adulthood and independent living (paragraph (6)).

Paragraph (7) defines “care leavers” within the meaning of the Order as ‘eligible children under Article 34A(3)’, ‘relevant children’ under Article 34B(2), ‘persons under 25 who are ‘former relevant children’ under Article 34D(1) and those who qualify for advice and assistance under Article 35(1).

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