Hello. Here’s a message written by our Reading Children in Care Ambassadors:
You may be reading this because you have just been taken into care. We are also in care which is why we have written this letter.
Stay calm. The chances are you are in a better place now. It is fine to feel scared but hopefully you will soon realise that it is not a bad place at all.
You can still have a good time. There are lots of people to help you, support you, give you advice and have fun with!
There was a girl who went into care and hated it and then she realised it was the best for her. She got used to the carer and soon felt much happier.
- To keep you safe
- Treat you with respect
- Help you enjoy school
- Make sure we listen to you
- Always tell you the truth
- Help you to have fun
- Give you a home you like
- Help you to be healthy
- Where we can, help you have contact with people that are important to you
- Try not to change your social worker
- Social Worker
Their role is to visit you regularly and make sure that you are safe and well cared for. Your social worker must make sure that the right decisions are made so that you can reach your potential.
- Independent Reviewing Officer
It’s probably easier to remember them as IRO’s, they lead your review meetings; consider whether your care plan is right for you; monitor the progress of the care plan and challenge the council. Your IRO will try and meet with you before your meeting to get your views.
It’s their role to look after you every day, to make sure you are warm, fed, go to school, are healthy and you feel safe.
Not everyone has one of these but they are like a separate person who stands up for what you want.
- How long will I be in care?
Well this is different for everyone, and will depend on your own situation, If you talk to your Social Worker or other adult working with you, they will be able to give you more information.
- What about my school?
It’s possible you can continue to go to your school, but there may be reasons why this isn’t possible, so they will find another school to suit you.
- What about our family?
Your Social Worker will help you to have contact with your family and those who are important to you, but this may not happen for everyone. Your Social Worker will talk to you about what plans are in place for you and your family.
- What does it actually mean to be in care?
There are lots of different reasons why children cannot live with their family. Sometimes parents ask for help because they feel they are struggling to look after their children in the best way or sometimes it might be safer for a child not to live at home.
- Where will I live?
These are people who are selected, checked and trained to look after you in their own homes. Other young people in care may also live with them.
This is a home which has staff to run it. You will most likely live there with other young people in care. You will have a keyworker to look after you.
Family and Friends:
That’s a bit like Foster Carers but they are members of your own family like a Aunt or Uncle or maybe a close family friend.
There are meetings for all of your plans, there has to be meetings as this is the best way to make sure everyone is doing what they should be doing and that you have a voice too.
One of the important meetings is your Looked After Review (LAC Review)
This meeting is to look at how you are getting on. People who are important in supporting you will be invited like your Social Worker, Carer and of course, you. It’s a good idea to go as it’s all about you and you can even chair the meeting if you wish. You normally talk about how you have been getting on and what might need to change. The first review will happen when you have been in care for 4 weeks, the second will be after 3 months, then they will be every 6 months.
It may seem like there are lots of plans in place for you, they are just there to make sure you are cared for properly.
This is your main plan and cover why you are being looked after away from your parents. It will have in it what needs to happen for you now and in the future. It needs to include your views and opinions about your life. Alongside your care plan there are other smaller but still important plans.
This says what and where you will be living, who will be taking you to meetings and things like that, what your day to day routine is and what you like and don’t like.
This is about how everyone will help you with your learning and also socially too!
This is about how everyone will keep you healthy. They will happen within the first few weeks of you coming into care, and then every year after that.
And finally a Pathway plan
This is your plan as you approach your 16th birthday and will include details about your future care and support needs. There are lots of options to consider when you are 18years so this plan will help work through those.
Do you want to get your voice heard?
If you have something to say, whether good or bad, there are lots of ways you can do it.
Make a compliment or complaint: If something is really good, or needs to change, you can send us your compliment or complaint. You can do this by contacting Reconstruct....
Reconstruct is separate to Brighter Futures for Children and is there to support you in raising or dealing with problems and issuess. They can also help you express your views at meetings. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
We are a group of young people in care that meet once a month to make sure that we have a voice and are listened to about things that matter to us. The group is run in a fun way, you will get to meet other young people in care, it’s great for your CV, and there are opportunities to get involved in interviews, as well as winning competitions and vouchers. Fancy it?
This is a fun group that meets once a month to take part in activities. We do all sorts like trampolining, football, pizza nights, cinema. Fancy it?
If you would like to join us or find out more contact Catie Blundell 07843642528. Email email@example.com