Q. Will it be like living with my Family?
A. Foster care is all about allowing you to live in a family
home and as much as possible foster carers should treat you like
one of their family. All families are different and will each have
different expectations and rules. It will take time to get used to
these changes but you can speak to your carers or social worker
about anything you’re not sure of.
Q .Will I see my family?
A. Its really important for you to keep in touch with your
family if that’s what you and your family want. Your social worker
and the people caring for you will help with the arrangements and
do whatever they can. Sometimes young people don’t want to see
their families because of what’s happened before, or the courts
will say that they cannot.
Q. Does everyone go home?
A. Lots of young people go back to live with their families once
things have sorted out. Some young people stay with foster carers
or live in a Children’s home till they’re older and leave to live
on their own. If this happens you can get help to plan what you
want to do in the future with the support and help from people
after you leave. Other children move on to live with new
Q. How can I keep in contact with my family and friends?
A. You are normally encouraged to keep in contact with your
family and friends if you wish. You can do this by telephone,
letter or by visits arranged by your social worker or carer. An
adult may go along with you on these visits. Sometimes the visits
can be upsetting for young people who are separated from their
families and you should talk to your social worker or carer about
how long you would like the visit to be. An adult or your carer
will take you to the visit and afterwards take you back to where
you live. If you feel the visit might be difficult it will be worth
telling someone about your worries first so that the adult who is
with you can then be told about any possible problems and help you
to sort these out.
Q. Does anyone care about what I want?
A. Its very important that you say what YOU want as it’s your
life. The law says we have to take notice of your wishes and
feelings and we know and everything works better if you’re
involved. Make sure you say what you want when your social worker,
your family, and the people caring for you are making plans.
However, you may not get everything that you want. This is true in
all families and remember, we can say no as corporate parents, but
if we do, we must let you know why.
Q What is a review?
The law says you must have regular reviews where you and
everyone involved talk over what’s been happening and what going to
happen in the future. Then you can all decide if your care plan
The law says that you have to review:
Within 4 weeks after you start to be looked after
Within 3 months after that
At least every 6 months after that
You are the most important person in the review so try to take a
full and active role in what is happening.
Q. What if I don’t agree with what’s happening?
A. If there are things you’re not happy with, it’s best to talk
to your carers or your social worker who can usually sort things
out. You can also always contact the advocacy service for support.
If it is a serious matter or you have asked people and nothing has
been done then you can make a formal complaint. This can be done by
Q. Can I view my files?
A. If you are in care there will be a file with information
about you and records which are usually kept on a computer at your
social workers office. If you live in a children’s home, another
file will be kept where you live. Depending on your age and
understanding, you have the right to view your file. If you decide
you want to view your file you should discuss it with your social
worker or you could put your request in writing to the complaints
officer. When you see your file take an adult you trust along with
you. If possible go through the file with your social worker, as
they should be able to answer any questions you may have.
Q. What happens if I misbehave?
A. Wherever you live there are rules to help people live
together. We all get upset or angry sometimes and your carers will
understand that but if you misbehave in a serious way you should
expect consequences. Make sure you know the rules and listen to
them when they are repeated. Your carers may tell you off or
sometimes add extra jobs around the house or take away some pocket
money. Up to two thirds of your pocket money can be kept from you
if you have caused some damage to equipment or belongings or are
known to have taken money or goods belonging to others. However,
this must always be agreed with your social worker. Whatever
happens the punishment has to fit the misbehaviour.
Here is a brief list of punishments that can’t be used;
Swear at you
Stop your meals, although if you’re late, you might have to make
do with a sandwich.
Make you wear the wrong clothing like pyjamas during the
Stop you seeing your family simply because you misbehaved.
Stop you seeing people who need to see you like your social
Stop your medicine or make you take unsuitable medicine or
Q. What if I’ve got a hobby or sport I’m interested in?
A. Everyone has interests and things they like to do in their
free time. If you need help to join a club or you need to travel
somewhere to follow up an interest ask your carers or social worker
or participation Officer.
Q. Do I get to go on holiday?
A. If you live in a foster home, you may already have been on
holiday with your foster family. Your foster family will discuss
with you when and where you are going. You don’t have to go on
holiday but it is unusual if you don’t. If you go abroad you must
have permission of the Director of Children’s services. Children’s
homes also provide holidays for their young people either in small
groups or all together. Young people living is residential care can
go on holidays abroad but such trips are carefully planned and
Q. Do I get my own money for my own free use?
A. If you live in a Children’s home you will be given regular
pocket money and told how much this will be. If you go to live with
a foster family then you should receive pocket money which is often
up to your foster carers how much you are given. However all carers
have been given guidance about them. In both cases your age depends
on how much you are given. If you need new clothes, your carers may
go shopping with you or let you buy your own depending on your age
and the situation. You should also think about saving some
Q. Can I get a job to earn some extra money?
A. The simple answer is yes you can. However there are some laws
that cover the employment of young people aged 13 to 16 years.
These laws state that:
You cannot be employed under the age of 13
You cannot work during school hours(except during school
You cannot work before 7.00 am or after 7.00 pm
Q. How do I get an Independent Visitor?
A. You can get an IV in a number of ways: speak to your social
worker or contact the IV yourself (contact details on the last
Q. What is adoption?
This is a legal change of family, where you cannot go back to
your own family. You decide or people decide for you that you would
like to be part of a new family. This means you will be given a new
surname and birth certificate. Adopted children and young people
can sometimes stay in contact with their birth family.