Alex's story

Alex's Story - Continuing Care after Secure Care

Alex is 17 and has been living in secure care for the past few months after attending a Children Hearing. Alex knows that the review of his care coming up will recommend to the Children’s Hearing that he will no longer need secure care. He feels that he will still need some support but his social worker has told him to start having a think about what his plan is for when he leaves secure care. Going home to live with his mum and dad isn’t an option. He understands that he needs to take some responsibility for his future but feels like it is too soon for him to be making such big decisions on his own. Alex doesn't even know what the options are and doesn't know who to ask. He presumes he will have to live by himself as he believes that no one will want someone from secure care to live with them. That's what all the other young people say who always tell him that they will all just 'end up in the jail'. Alex is scared. He just wants to make a good life for himself and feels like he has no support and nowhere to go.

Watch Alex's story

Augmented reality option

This file tells you what you need to download and use the AR files.

Alex needs to see if he can move into residential care or foster care before he turns 18 or before his Compulsory Supervision Order (CSO) ends so that he will be able to continue to be supported under continuing care. If Alex is in secure care when he ‘leaves care’ (ceases to be legally ‘looked after’), at the age 18, he will not be entitled to continuing care.


Important things to remember

  • It is not up to Alex to make plans and decisions and arrangements by himself for when he leaves care. The local authority must make a Pathways Plan and provide accommodation that is safe and suitable for him.
  • Alex needs help to understand all the options available to him now and his lawyer can help them with this. All young people in secure care should have access to independent legal advice and independent advocacy support. The lawyer should ask the local authority for a copy of Alex’s Pathways Plan and the local authority must deliver the accommodation and support that the Pathways Plan identifies Alex needs.
  • If Alex moves into residential care, he would then have the right to continuing care until he turns 21 or feels ready to take the next step to live independently.
  • Alex needs to be reassured that there are other options in care and in supported accommodation that mean that he doesn’t need to live by himself.
  • To have access to these options, Alex might need legal help to make sure his needs are properly assessed and that good options are made available to him.
  • If it is too late for Alex to move from secure to residential care or there are reasons that this is not possible before his 18th birthday, Alex will be entitled to Aftercare which includes the local authority giving him advice, guidance and assistance to eligible care leavers.

Find information about your right to continuing care and see the other stories here

Continuing Care and Your Rights is a project co-created with care experienced young people, CELCIS, Clan Childlaw and the Care Inspectorate, with the assistance and expertise of visual artist Ciara Waugh and Liminal Studios and Edinburgh Napier University in developing the digital media resources.

Care Inspectorate

If you are not happy with the level of care you are receiving, we would encourage you to first of all speak to the care service itself about your concerns. This is often the quickest way to resolve a problem. However, you can choose to complain directly to the Care Inspectorate either by: filling in our complaints form online, calling us on 0345 600 9527 or emailing us here. Children and young people can send a text directly to 07870 981 785.

Who Cares? Scotland

If you’re a care experienced young person and you need advocacy support or someone to talk to, contact Who Cares? Scotland by phoning 0330 107 7540 or emailing The Helpline is open Monday-Friday, 12pm-4pm.

Clan Childlaw

Anyone, of any age, anywhere in Scotland, can call Clan Childlaw with a question about children’s rights and about how the law and legal systems in Scotland work for children and young people. Clan Childlaw has a team of lawyers who can represent children and young people in court, in children’s hearings, and in important meetings. You can call free on 0808 129 0522, Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm. Or online here.

Scottish Child Law Centre

If you are under 21 and want to talk to someone about how the law affects you, our advice line is open Monday to Friday 9.30am – 4pm. You can contact us anytime or you may wish to call us during our dedicated Youth Hour which takes place every Tuesday and Thursday between 12pm and 1pm. During this time, our solicitors only take calls from children and young people. Call free on: 0800 328 8970 (from landlines) or 0300 3301421 (from mobiles).