The article argues that New Labour's concern with productive moral citizenship underlies the model of 'corporate parent' which informs the Children (Leaving Care) Act, 2000. We show that there has been in statutory child care work a rather uncritical acceptance of 'good parenting' leading to 'good outcomes', based on the 'Looking after Children' (LAC) system. The Children (Leaving Care) Act, 2000, has transferred significant duties from the social security system to local government social services departments for the payment of personal allowances and housing costs of young people leaving care. It has provided powers for the discretionary interpretation of their circumstances and provision for their welfare, all as part of a social work assessment called a 'Pathway Plan'. The government, through this legislation, presupposes that care leavers will benefit from a simulated experience of the transition to adulthood enjoyed by non-care leavers. The poverty and deprivation leading to social exclusion experienced by a significant minority of non care-leavers is in fact the financial baseline of the provisions in this legislation. It is therefore hardly surprising that we find inherent tensions and contradictions within the legislative framework and the context of its implementation for social services and the practice of social workers with care leavers.