Coming into Care
There are many reasons why children and young people come into care. However someone will make the time to sit and discuss this with you. On a whole for most, it is usually because your needs are not being met at home. Before children come into care we offer families lots of support to work on them staying together where possible. Unfortunately for some families staying together has not been possible. It was therefore decided that you would benefit from living somewhere else for now.
The questions and answers below should provide you will an understanding about coming into care. If after reading them you still have more questions, please speak to your Social Worker who would more than happy to have a conversation with you.
Please click on a question to see the answer.
Bringing children and young people into care is a really difficult decision for to be made and one that was taken very seriously. This decision for you coming into care could have been agreed by whoever was looking after you at the time, usually your parents and the local authority. However the Local Authority may have also gone to court and got a court order for this to be able to happen. It may be a temporary arrangement until the situation at home is better or could be for a longer period of time. It might be that you go to live with a relative or friend, move to live with a foster carer or go elsewhere to live with other young people in a residential unit.
There are different types of placements for children and young people living in care. The choice of where or who you will live with depends on your needs and who is able to meet them. The different options are:
- Connected Person (when you remain living with a family member and they are assessed as your foster carer)
- Foster carer (A person that is trained to look after children and young people in Local authority care
- Residential care (A home environment where you will be living alongside other young people and supported by staff)
- Secure unit (When the local authority are concerned about you, they can make the decision to place you in a secure care home for your safety and support you to develop skills to keep yourself safe in the community.
- Your social worker will ensure that you are safe where you live and that the person caring for you is meeting your care needs
- Your social worker will visit regularly, and talk to you about your wishes and feelings and act on these accordingly to ensure you feel listened to.
- They will promote and encourage positive relationships with your family and people who are important to you.
- They will support you to remain healthy (including emotional wellbeing)
- Your social worker will also attend meetings to advocate on your behalf. Where possible your social worker will support you to attend meetings to enable you put your views across.
- They will support you through your education. This will include ensuring you attend a school that can support you and also that you are provided with the resources to help you do well in school.
- Your social workers would want to build a good trusting relationship with you.
Yes, there are other children and young people, with similar experiences, who are unable to live with their parents or family members. In these cases, the court will made the decision for them to be looked after by Bromley. Bromley usually has between 300-320 children in care at any one time.
Where we are very worried that it will not be safe for you to continue to live with your parents or family members, we may decide to go to court to request the Judge to issue a full care order. The order means that you will be looked after by Bromley until you are 18.
This depends on how and why the decision was made for you to come into care.
If you are in care because your parents agreed to this, then you may be able to go home if their situation improves. You may also be able to go home if your parents withdraw their agreement for you to be in care. If this happens and social workers think it is unsafe for you to go back home, they may go to court to get an order for you to remain in care.
If you are in care because there is a court order in place, then you may be in care until you are 18 years old. Sometimes, situations change and your parents might make positive changes in their life which puts them in a better position to look after you. In this case, your parents may go to court to ask the judge to allow you to go back home. The court may agree for you to go home, if they are convinced that it is safe and appropriate for this to happen. Social workers and the judge will always consider your feelings and what you want to happen when these decisions are being made.
While you are in care, social workers will make sure that you are able to see your family as long as it is safe to do so. Social workers will always consider your wishes and feelings when they are making decisions about which family members are safe for you to see and how often you will be able to see them. Your social worker will review your contact regularly to make sure that the arrangements are right for you.
Your feelings and views about staying in touch with people in your family are very important and will be an important part of any decisions about you staying in touch with your parents, brothers and sisters and others in your family.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child also gives you family rights. This says that children who live away from their parents have the right to see them regularly, unless this would not be the best thing for you. So this means:
- The Human Rights Act and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child give you the right to see and spend time with people in your family who are important to you. Unless this is not the best thing for you.
- Your right to stay in touch with your family concerns your parents, brothers and sisters, grandparents, and other family members you are very close to. It could also apply to foster carers and others who you lived with in the past.
- There would have to be strong reasons behind staff or carers reading private messages and letters between you and your family, or listening to your conversations. If there are not strong reasons, they could be breaking your rights.
We hope you will do well while you are looked after by us, away from your parents/family. Your social worker will support you in all area of your care/development to ensure you are safe, happy, healthy; feel well cared for, and loved.