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Extra support

If you need some extra support because you are a young parent, have a disability, are an asylum seeking young person, leaving custody or simply going through a diffcult time, your personal advisor will be there to support you. 

You and your Personal Advisor will look at any extra support you need. You might need extra support because: 

  • you have special educational needs or a disability 
  • you were an unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Child (UASC) and your immigration status is still unclear 
  • you are in or leaving custody or you have had contact with the criminal justice system 
  • you are a young parent; or 
  • you are going through a difficult time in your personal life


We know that navigating pregnancy and your child’s early years can be challenging. As a care leaver, you have access to a dedicated pathway of support from Redbridge as your corporate parent. We want to give you and your child the best support possible to have a positive start in life. 

You could receive a one-off payment of £500 to help with the costs of having a child. This is called a Sure Start Maternity Grant. 

Find out more about Sure Start Maternity Grants on GOV.UK 

During your pregnancy 

Baby Buddy App  

The free Baby Buddy app is with you throughout your pregnancy and parenting journey, day by day. Whether you're a mum, dad, co-parent or caregiver, Baby Buddy is here to empower you to feel confident, giving you the knowledge and practical skills to look after yourself and give your child the best start.   

Mellow Bumps 

This is a programme for mums-to-be who have intensive needs and is intended to decrease stress levels. This is offered between weeks 20 and 30 of a pregnancy. Each week there are activities for the mums-to-be to support emotional well-being and stress reduction. There are also activities to raise awareness of the social capabilities of babies and the value of early intervention.   

 Family Nurse Partnership in Redbridge

As a former looked after child, if you are aged 19-24 and having your first baby, you will be eligible for support from the Family Nurse Partnership.   

This is a home visiting programme for first-time young mums and families. It will help you to:  

  1. have a healthy pregnancy 
  2. improve your child's health and development  
  3. plan your own futures and achieve your aspirations

When you first meet with a midwife as part of your pregnancy, if they think you might find FNP helpful, they'll let your local FNP team know. A specially trained family nurse will then get in touch with you to say hello and arrange an initial visit with you at home. During this visit, she/he will explain what the programme is and how it works. You'll have a chance to ask questions and decide if FNP is right for you.  

You can find out more on the national Family Nurse Partnership website.  

Understanding pregnancy, labour, birth and your baby 

This free online course explains how and why you are so important to this baby. Some of what this course covers:  

  • Getting to know your baby in the womb  
  • You, your baby and the stages of labour  
  • Feeding your baby  

There are nine modules which are 15 to 20 minutes each and available 24/7. 

Visit inourplace website  and enter access code BRIDGE  

Your jounery to birth booklet 

This booklet helps you through your journey from planning for a pregnancy to the birth of your child. The services will support you during these early stages and are available to everyone who lives in Redbridge.

Your jounery to birth booklet (PDF 3.62MB)

Healthy Start  

If you’re more than 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under four, you may be entitled to get help to buy healthy food and milk.  

You will be sent a Healthy Start card with money on it that you can use in some UK shops. Your benefit will be added onto this card every 4 weeks.  

You can use your card to buy:  

  • plain liquid cow’s milk  
  • fresh, frozen, and tinned fruit and vegetables  
  • fresh, dried, and tinned pulses  
  • infant formula milk based on cow’s milk  

You can also use your card to collect:  

  • Healthy Start vitamins that support you during pregnancy and breastfeeding  
  • vitamin drops for babies and young children which are suitable from birth to 4 years old  

Apply on the NHS website   

Advice on healthy eating  

For more advice on healthy eating, visit:  

Before your child’s first birthday 

 Children’s Centres Services  

From the moment you know you’re expecting a baby, our services and support will be available to you and your child up until your child’s 5th birthday (and 8th birthday for children with special educational needs and disabilities).  

The Children’s Centres are places where you can go and meet up with mums, dads and carers to access: information, advice and support during tough times; sessions and training courses on child development and parenting; volunteering opportunities and much more.  

All centres offer breastfeeding advice and support for new mums and offer the same core activities and courses with lots of inside and outside play sessions for the little ones. Some centres have additional activities too. You can attend sessions and services from any of the Children’s Centres in the borough.  

To find out more about Children’s Centres, what they offer and how you can access them, please visit the Redbridge FiND website, call or pop into a Children’s Centre. 

Mellow Mums 

This programme uses a mixture of reflective and practical techniques to help mums to address their personal challenges and the challenges they face with their children.

You will have an initial home visit and video observation. Videos are used to build on existing skills, get feedback from peers and practice new ways of relating to their children. In the group, you can discuss and reflect on how your own experiences of being parented and how this is affecting your relationships with your children. Over lunch, the parents and children eat together and participate in a fun joint activity. This is suitable for those with children under five.  

Mellow Dads  

This programme is an attachment and relationship-based group intervention for fathers. Dads come together to discuss and reflect on their own experiences of being parented and how this can affect relationships with their children. The group is suitable for those with children under five.  

During your child’s toddler years and beyond 

Incredible Years  

Incredible Years parenting programmes are designed to strengthen parent and child interactions and attachment, reducing harsh discipline and helping parents to promote children's social, emotional and language development. Parents also learn how to build school readiness skills and are encouraged to partner with teachers and day care professionals so they can promote children's emotional regulation and social skills. In the parenting groups, trained Incredible Years facilitators use video clips of real-life situations to support the training and trigger parenting group discussions, problem solving, and practice exercises. This group is suitable for those with children aged 3 to 12 years.  

One to two and a half year development checks  

You will be offered regular health and development reviews (health visitor checks) for your baby until they are two. These are to support you and your baby, and make sure their development is on track.  

The reviews are usually done by a health visitor or a member of their team. They may be done in your home or at a GP surgery, baby clinic or children's centre.  

During your baby's reviews your health visitor will discuss your baby's health and development and ask if you have any concerns.  

Your one year development review will look at:  

  • language and learning  
  • safety  
  • diet  
  • behaviour  

Your two to two and a half years development review will look at:  

  • general development, including movement, speech, social skills and behaviour, hearing and vision  
  • growth, healthy eating and keeping active  
  • managing behaviour and encouraging good sleep habits  
  • tooth brushing and going to the dentist  
  • keeping your child safe  
  • vaccinations  

Solihull Approach 

The Solihull Approach provides online courses based on established psychological and child development theories, which parents can access in bite-sized 15- to 20-minute chunks. The online resources and courses enable you to develop parenting skills in your own time. This is currently free for Redbridge families.  

Courses include but are not limited to:  

  • Understanding your baby  
  • Understanding your child  
  • Understanding your child with special educational needs   

Visit inourplace website  and enter access code BRIDGE 

Group Stepping Stones Triple P 

This is a parenting programme for parents of children with a range of disabilities (e.g. intellectual disability, autism spectrum, cerebral palsy, and/or physical disability) who have concerns about managing their child's needs. Diagnoses are not essential to eligibility. This is available for selected parents with children aged three to 12 years.  

Strengthening Families, Strengthening Communities 

This is a parenting programme where parents actively participate in a range of exercises to learn about the influences on adolescent behaviour, setting specific goals, and using strategies to promote a teenager's skills, development, manage inappropriate behaviour, and teach emotional self-regulation. Parents are empowered to develop their behaviour management strategies and how to manage their child's risk-taking behaviours. This is suitable for parents with children aged three to 17 years.  

Redbridge Educational Wellbeing Team (REWT) Events 

The Redbridge Educational Wellbeing Team organises activities for care-experienced young people that you can access. These include:  

Children in care activity days 

  • Rhythm and Wellbeing (music projects) 
  • Mindfulness activities (expressive painting, group body check, therapeutic colouring) 


  • Understanding and managing change 
  • Individual joint problem-solving consultations with your PA 

Video Interaction Guidance (VIG) Support  

This is direct work with care-experienced parents.  This involves three cycles of taking a short video and carrying out a shared review where you are guided to look at positive examples of yourself interacting with your child.  This is an intensive intervention which will involve up to six hours of your time.  

Participatory engagement and research approaches  

We are skilled and experienced in carrying out participatory research projects in which you lead the agenda and take on the role of co-researchers.  

Care-experienced young people can self-refer to REWT or can be referred (with your consent) by a professional or carer.  

Children’s Centres in Redbridge  

If you live in Redbridge and you are expecting a baby or have children aged 0 to 4 years (up to 8 years for babies and children with SEND), your local Children’s Centre is ready to help with information, advice and access to services and activities.  

For address, contact information and the latest timetable of activities available at each Centre please go to the relevant Children's Centre page. 


Care leavers who have additional needs or a disability may also be able to access support via the Children and Families Act (2014) and Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice 0 – 25 years (2015).

If you have severe or profound additional needs or a disability which meet the criteria for adult services your Social Worker will complete a Transition Assessment with you or your carer. It will be carried out in a reasonable timescale to allow greater flexibility in the timing of transition.

During the transition from children’s social care to adult care your support will not change until your social worker finishes your assessment. 

Asylum seekers 

If you are unable to claim benefits because your immigration status is still not clear, help is available through your Personal Advisor and if necessary specialist immigration services. 

If you are unable to claim social housing because you are waiting for your decision from the Home Office and therefore have no recourse to public funds, we will support you until the Home Office decide on your claim or up till the age of 21. 

Whilst you wait for a decision from the Home Office on your asylum application, we will help you plan for different options for you future, which will include: 

  • Planning for what will happen if you get leave to remain in the UK
  • Planning for what will happen if you don’t get leave to remain but want to stay in the UK 
  • Planning for what will happen if you don’t get leave to remain and want to return to your country of origin

When you are offered your Substantive (or Big) Interview by the Home Office, as part of the asylum application process, we will arrange for your foster carer or key worker to attend with you or come with you ourselves, if you would prefer that. 

As long as you are happy for us to do this, we will liaise closely with your solicitor, to support you through the application process and make sure you’re kept up to date about what is happening. 

If you would like us to, we will work with you to try and trace family members who you have lost contact with, for example, through the Red Cross family finding project, or social media. 

Financial help 

Whilst you are waiting on a decision from the Home Office, you are not able to claim benefits and we will financially support you with subsistence payments equivalent to what you would receive in benefits up until a decision is made, or up to your 21st birthday. 

Bank account 

You may find it difficult to open a bank account. If you do, we will provide you with a pre-payment card that can be topped up weekly for you to use on subsistence and travel. 


We will support you to access social and fun activities, in order to help you make friends and integrate into life in the UK. 

We will explore with you if you might benefit from a mentor, to help you improve your English language skills and navigate British society and culture, and help you find one if you would like us to. 

If you receive a negative decision from the Home Office 

If you receive a negative decision from the Home Office and are appeal rights exhausted (which means you have no further routes to challenge their decision), we will complete a Human Rights Assessment before making a decision about whether to withdraw our support. 

Just before you turn 21, if you have not yet had a final decision on your Home Office application, we will refer you back to the Home Office, as they will be responsible for providing you with accommodation and subsistence support from your 21st birthday. 


Whilst you are in custody, we will: 

  • Visit you in prison at least once every eight weeks up at least until your 21st birthday
  • Send you £5 per week up to the age of 21 to spend on essential items in prison as long as you are engaging in regular visits/pathway plan reviews with your leaving care practitioner
  • Make sure there is a clear plan with you and your network about what will happen when you are released e.g. where you are going to live and what support you will need

Once you are released from custody we will continue to support you to ensure that the right services are in place.   

Your right to advocacy support 

If you feel that we are treating you unfairly, have not respected your rights or you want to make a complaint, you have a right to the support of an Advocate. 

An Advocate will give you confidential advice and support you to speak up, or will speak up on your behalf if you prefer. Making sure your voice is heard and that your views are taken seriously and your rights are respected. 

The Advocate is not part of the Leaving Care Team and will work exclusively for you. 

Advocacy is independent and confidential. This means that nothing will be shared outside the advocacy service, without your agreement. (Only in exceptional circumstances would confidentiality be broken, namely where there is a risk of significant harm to you or to someone else, or if disclosure is required by a court order.) 

You do not have to tell the Advocate your business. They only need enough information to get your problem sorted. 

You can contact the Children’s Rights Advocate: Karen.Chen@Redbridge.gov.uk or ring Karen at 02087084068. 

Your right to see what information we hold about you

You have a right to see the information we keep about you, including the files and records written about you when you were in care. Your Personal Advisor can help you to access these. 

Important information 

Leaving care/setting up Home Allowance 

This is an entitlement to provide support with setting up your permanent home and is not provided as a matter of course prior to moving into your permanent accommodation. Your Personal Advisor will guide and assist you to ensure that you maximise and get the best value for your allowance. Before you buy anything you should discuss with your social worker or personal advisor and you will need to produce receipts for each item. Your personal advisor can order furniture and household items on your behalf to help you get the best deals.  The setting up home allowance is up to £3000 pounds.  

Emergency assistance 

You will be expected to contact the Leaving Care Team and arrange to come into the office for this assistance. Subject to a Needs Assessment and if you have no other means to sustain yourself, the Leaving Care Team will provide you with support to pay for essential items such as food or utility bills. 


You have the right to see information that we keep about you, including your files and records written about you when you were in care. 

For more information on accessing your social care files please speak to your Personal Advisor. 

We will help you gain important identification documents, such as a birth certificate, passport and/or a driving licence. 

We will provide support around any issues important to your identity such as religion, sexuality, gender or culture. 

Getting around  

Learning to drive

To help you stay connected and get around, we can support you with the costs of learning to drive if this is something that you would benefit from and is identified in your Pathway Plan. 

You must be aged 17 or over, and currently in education, training, employment for at least the past six months. If you are a parent and have the primary care of your children and therefore cannot be in education, employment or training, we can still support you under our offer for care leavers who are parents. Visit our extra support pages

We will fund your provisional driving license and one theory test. If you pass, we will fund: 

  • up to 10 hours of driving lessons
  • one practical driving test

Half price bus and tram travel in London

From early 2024, care leavers aged between 18 and 25 who live in London, will be able to apply to receive half price bus and tram travel.

The Mayor of London’s ‘fare deal for care leavers’ will directly support those who have left care after turning 18 and offer them more affordable travel options as they transition to independent living. You can find out more on the London Assembly website.