Emma's Story - Continuing Care whilst attending University

Emma is 18, lives with foster carers and starts her first year at university soon. She wants to live in student halls but worries about where she will live over the summer. Her part time job isn't enough to pay for rent on a flat, and she isn't sure if she can go back to her home with her foster carers. Emma is beginning to panic as she doesn't know whether she can go to university without sorting this out.

Watch Emma's story

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Emma is entitled to continuing care until she is 21. That means she can go back to her foster carers in the summer and at weekends and if she has to move out of halls. Emma’s foster carers see her as part of their family and this is her home.


Important things to remember

  • Emma will not have ‘left care’ or ‘left home’ simply by moving into student halls.
  • But it is really important that there is a Welfare Assessment for Emma and that what Emma wants is clearly agreed with her local authority before she moves into halls. If this hasn’t been confirmed with the local authority before Emma leaves for university there could be problems.
  • Emma needs to speak with her social worker, confirm with them her wish to be supported in continuing care. The social worker will need to assess whether it will be possible for Emma to return to living with her foster carers as and when she needs to until she is 21. A Welfare Assessment will need to be done to make that assessment and Emma should be involved in this and have a copy of the assessment.
  • If the local authority don’t enable and support Emma to go back and live with her foster carers at weekends or holidays, then Emma can seek legal advice to challenge this decision. If, for some reason the local authority decide that Emma cannot live in the same place with her same carers, this must be evidenced in a Welfare Assessment and the local authority should still provide Emma with support and somewhere to live so that she has a place to call home while she studies.

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.

You can feedback on the information and resources here.


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.

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).

Clan Child law

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.

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.