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Your guide to foster care


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What is foster care?

This guide will help you to understand what foster care is all about and what living with another family will be like.

There are many children, like you, who can’t stay with their parents.

When this happens, there are many people, including your foster carer, who will work together to look after you.

No doubt you’ll have lots of questions as this is all new for you.

Please ask about anything you are not sure about and remember there are no silly questions.


What is a foster carer?

Foster carers are special people who have been trained and carefully

chosen to look after children. They do all the things parents do, such

as helping you with things like going to school and making sure you eat

properly. They will sit down with you and talk about what you can and can’t do. Your foster carer will not mind if you ask them questions.

Every foster family is different. Foster carers might be a couple or just

one person. They might have their own children and they might even have pets.


Why do I have to live with a foster carer?

When a child cannot live with their own

family, they can move into foster care

where they will be safe. Children live with

foster carers for all sorts of reason, but it’s not because of anything you have done.

How long will I have to stay? We can’t tell you how long you will stay

with your foster carer. For some children,

this might be for a short time, for others it

will be longer.

Your social worker will make a plan for you

(called a Care Plan) that will include

everything that is important to you, such as

your school, your health details, when you

will see your family and friends and how

long you will stay with your foster family.


Will I see my family?

Just because you live in foster care doesn’t

mean that you will lose touch with your family. Your foster carer understands how important

your family is to you. This may include seeing your brothers, sisters and other family

members either in your foster home or at another suitable place.

Your social worker will speak to you about

when you can see your family and how often. If you tell them who you want to see, they will try and make this happen.

What about my friends? We know that your

friends are special to

you, so your foster

carer will do all they

can to help you stay in

touch with them and

to help you make new

friends as well.


Will I go to the same school?

Most children will continue to go to the same school. Your teacher will

know you are in care and will meet with you and your social worker to

talk about what help you might need.

There will be regular meetings with you, your foster carer, your social

worker and school to talk about how everyone can work together so you

can do well at school. This is called

PEP Plan (Personal Education Plan).

What about my hobbies and things I like to do? You can keep doing the things

you enjoy doing, like dancing,

football, swimming, drawing or

even days out, and you might

find new hobbies too!

Your foster family will make sure

you don’t miss out on fun times

either with them, your school,

your family and friends.


What about what I want?

There are certain ways you should be treated and these are called your rights:

• You have the right to be safe, secure and protected

• You have the right for adults to listen to you and treat you fairly and equally

• You have the right to information, advice, healthcare and an education

• You have the right to enjoy your religion and culture

• If you have a disability, you have the right to any help you need with it.


If you have any concerns, worries or feel someone is taking away your rights, then you must tell someone. The quickest way to let someone know you are unhappy is by speaking to your:

• Foster carer

• Social worker • Social worker manager • Your teacher


People who look after me An IRO (Independent Reviewing Officer)

This is another person you can talk to. Your IRO will chair your LAC Review meetings to make sure you are being looked after. They will also ask you how you have been, what you need and what you want to happen.

If you are still not happy then you can speak to the social care complaints manager, who will investigate your complaint. Phone: 01634 333036 Email: sccm@medway.gov.uk Text: 07712 391459.

What is a social worker?

Every child in foster care must have a social worker. They will make sure you are safe and happy. You can talk to your social worker about anything you want.


A doctor / LAC nurse

When you first come into foster care you will see a doctor or a LAC (Looked After Children) nurse for a health check up to make sure you are well.

The LAC nurse will see you again (depending on how old you are) either in six months time or once a year to make sure you are still OK.

Your foster carer will help you stay well too they will make sure you are registered with a doctor and a dentist. If you are worried about your health in any way or you would like to speak to the LAC nurse, please talk to your foster carer or social worker.

Independent visitor

If you are aged between five and 18 and have little or no contact with your mum and dad then you might be able to have an independent visitor. They are not social workers, they are trained volunteers who will treat you to activities and events that you will enjoy.

You will have a say in the sort of person you would like to see and we will do our best to meet your requests. You will have the chance to meet them and then decide whether you think this person is right for you.


What is a LAC review meeting?

There are lots of meetings when you are in foster care to make sure you are happy and healthy. A LAC review meeting is where you and all the adults helping you to: get together to talk about how things are going and make future plans.

You will be part of these meetings and will be asked how you feel and what you would like to happen. If you don’t want to go to a meeting, you can talk to your social worker who will then share what you want to say to the people at the meeting.


Official information Children’s Rights and Advocacy Services

They provide the children’s rights and advocacy service for all young people entitled to receive support from Medway Children’s Social Care.

An advocate is someone who will listen to your concerns and will work with you to find ways to put things right. They will help you at important meetings either speaking on your behalf or helping you so that you can speak up for yourself. The service is free for you to use, confidential and independent.

Address: 71 College Road, Maidstone, Kent ME15 6SX Phone: 01622 683815 Email: advocacy@ylf.org.uk

Medway Children in Care Council

Medway Children in Care Council is a group of young people in and leaving the care of Medway Children’s Social Care. They have formal meeting every four months which is a forum where young people can discuss issues and concerns, improve and influence services and interview and train professionals.

Phone: 01622 683815 Email: bigdifference@ylf.org.uk

Care Leavers’ Group

A group of young people who have left care meet every six weeks. The meeting are informal and give young people an opportunity share their experiences. The group also work closely with services to make sure services are meeting the needs of children and young people. If you would like to talk to other young people about what it is like being in care the group is happy to talk to you.

Phone: 01634 332445 Email: researchandinfo @medway.gov.uk


Childline

If you want to talk to someone at any time night or day about something that is bothering you. Phone: 0800 1111 (free to use)

Children’s Rights Commissioner

The Children's Commissioner for England promotes and protects children's rights in England.

Phone: 0800 5280731 (free to use) Email: advice.team@children’s commissioner.gsi.gov.uk

OFSTED

Ofsted’s main job is make sure social workers, their managers and the fostering service are all working together to make sure we are getting it right for children and young people and keeping you safe. Phone: 0300 1231231 Web: ofsted.gov.uk


Thank you to all the people who helped put this booklet together S Lyn Wells

Jessica Jarrad

Steve Hook Paul Rose Karin Grayst Sherrie Bloomfield on

Ben Healey

Carole Still

ny Caryse Malo

andra

Hook

Alicia Sharpe

ith Adrieen Sm

mber Daniel Tu Lakiya Bulte Charlotte Johnson r-Kania

Illustrations by Juli@banter.uk.net Š 2016


Your guide to foster care - Medway Council  

This Guide to Foster Care was co-produced with service users and commissioned by Medway Council. It sets out to help young people understand...

Your guide to foster care - Medway Council  

This Guide to Foster Care was co-produced with service users and commissioned by Medway Council. It sets out to help young people understand...