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To Sam

Can I move?

Hi sam I'm R* I've been in care for ten years now and I'm 16 now I feel I have to get out of care and move on my own I was wondering if
this was possible and if I wanted to move out can I go where ever I want like move in with friends?? Thank you
Ask Sam



Thank you for your letter.

Your question is a really important one and I can hear how strongly you feel about leaving care. At 16 you are legally allowed to leave care if social services agree that you’re ready. Because you’ve been in care for several years, social services have a responsibility to give you some level of support until you’re at least 21.

It’s difficult for me to say whether you would be able to live with friends if you left. Social services will need to make sure that the place you are going to is safe, that you will be taken care of properly and that you aren’t left in a position where you would be on your own if things with you and your friends living together didn't work out. You should have been allocated a Personal Advisor to help you plan what will happen when you leave care. This might be someone like a carer who is already involved in supporting you, or it might be someone new. If you’re not sure who your Personal Advisor is, you could ask your carers or social worker to tell you. Because different places in the UK can work in slightly different ways it’s difficult for me to tell you what will happen exactly. It’s really important to get advice from your personal advisor about leaving care and to find out what they can do for you.

I can hear that you’ve been in care for a long time and that you’re really keen to get some independence. The most important thing is that you are safe and that you stay safe. It’s really worth taking a little bit of extra time to plan ahead and make sure you get all the help you are entitled to. It’s also worth being sure that now is the right time to leave. For example, at 16 you can’t usually claim benefits, but this is more likely once you are 18. Being clear what you need to live independently and where you’ll get it from will give you the best chance of having a positive experience of moving out.

It might be helpful for you to come to talk to one of our Childline counsellors – you can get in touch with us either online or by calling on 0800 1111. Remember you don’t have to go through this all on your own. For more information you can also check out the Who Cares Trust or the Childrens Legal Centre.

Take care,


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