Do you live in Foster or Residential Care? Great. This page is for you.
There are lots of reasons why you might be living in care. Sometimes, this might be because your parent(s) were not able to care for you because of their own physical or mental health needs. Other reasons why you might be living in care might relate to bereavement or risks that you faced earlier in life.
If you don’t know why your living in care, speak to your social worker or the people who look after you. They should be able to help you understand.
Regardless of the reason you live in care, you have a right to relationships with your parent(s) or other family members, where this can happen safely. Your social worker will be keen to work with you in a way that you might be able to achieve this in a safe and comfortable way.
If you want more information about living in care the ‘Become’ Charity has a range of great information and factsheets.
Types of care
Depending on your circumstances there are a number of different places that you might live, we have included some information about the different types of places you might live here.
Contact can often have other names that mean the same thing. A popular one is ‘Family Time’.
Living away from your family is hard. The professionals who work with you will understand that it is in your best interests for you to have contact with the people that are important to you where possible. They will only be able to help you to have this contact if they feel like they can do this in a way that will not be harmful to you.
Therefore, they will work with you and the people important to you to arrange contact that is safe and enjoyable.
Your individual situation will have an impact on what contact looks like for you. There is more information about different arrangements using the buttons below.
The people who can help you!
There will be lots of different people in your life who are responsible for making sure that you are safe and healthy. These people also have duties to make sure that there are safe and enjoyable arrangements in place for you so that you can enjoy spending time with people that are important to you.
- Foster Carers – Foster carers are good people to talk to. The fact that you live with them might mean that you see them the most often or have the best relationships with them. They will also be able to tell other people about your preferences and what they think might work best for you.
- Children’s Home Staff – Hopefully, you have a ‘key worker’ if you live in a children’s home and this person is usually the best person to talk to in order to understand your rights and to make your wishes and feelings known. If you don’t have a keyworker, or would rather talk to someone else, this is fine too. All staff have a duty to make sure your wishes and feelings are heard, so do let them know how your feeling and what’s happening for you.
- Social Worker – If you live in care, you will have a social worker. Hopefully, this is someone that you see fairly regularly and know how to contact. Your social worker is often the lead person in planning for all of your needs. The social worker will make lots of plans and assessments about your situation so that the care you receive works for you. If you need any help or support this can be a really good starting point. If you cannot contact them, or do not want to maybe your carer could help with this.
- Contact Supervisors – The people providing you with contact will have access to loads of helpful information. They could be great at supporting you and helping you to understand how or why things happen the way they do. They are also helpful if your a little scared or unsure.
- Advocate – An advocate is a person who is there just for you. They will help to make your voice heard in meetings, especially when people are making plans about your life. If you want to know more about Advocates, the NYAS Website might be a really good starting point. If you live in care you are legally entitled to an advocate. If you don’t have one and want one, ask people about this.
- Guardian – A Cafcass worker is called a Children’s Guardian. Their most important role is to make sure you are safe and to help make sure that the decisions made about you are in your best interests. Guardians are usually very experienced Social Workers but are independent of your social worker or the team they work with. Make sure your Guardian knows how you feel and what you want your life to be like, they often have a powerful voice when decisions are made.
- Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO) – IROs are Social Workers, these are usually very experienced Social Workers. All local authorities have a duty to appoint an IRO to every child in care and you should know who your IRO is. IROs are required to understand and question the Care Plan of the child or young person to ensure that everyone who is involved fulfills his or her responsibilities. It can be a great idea to let your IRO know what your life is like. You might not know how to contact this person, if this is the case, why not write them a letter and give this to your carer or social worker.