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Children 6-15

When I first came into care I was scared but they made me feel safe at home and I felt part of their family. You might find it difficult to fit in but you will and people will understand if you don’t like it.

FAQs

Click a Question to see the answer.

1) What does being looked after mean?

When you are ‘looked after’ this means the same as ‘being in care’. There are different ways you might come into care, for example this could be where it has been decided through the courts or where your parents have asked for help taking care of you. You might be in care for a short time (short term) or for a long time (long term). Other young people may go on to be adopted. It really depends on your own personal situation. If you have any questions please talk to your social worker, carer or key worker.

2) Why am I in care?

The answer to this question is different for every child and young person.  However, you have the right to ask your Social Worker about why you are being looked after away from your family.  The reason you are being looked after may be because your family are having problems that they find difficult to deal with.  You may have been at risk of some sort of harm if nothing changed.  You may be in care because you have become separated from your parents.  You may also be cared for, for a short period – this is known as respite care.

3) How long will I be in care for?

It is difficult to say how long you will be in care for. It really depends on your situation. You may only be in care for a short while but you may be in care for a longer period of time. If this is something you are unsure about please speak with your foster carer or your social worker.

4) Will I be safe and looked after?

It is the duty of your local authority to place you somewhere you are going to be safe and well cared for. Before someone becomes a foster carer the fostering team completes a number of checks to see whether someone is suitable. If you feel that you aren’t safe then you need to let your social worker know so that they can do something about it. If you find it difficult opening up to your social worker then tell an adult that you trust like a teacher at school or an advocate.

5) Will I be able to meet my carers before I live with them?

Ideally you should be able to meet with your new carers before you move in with them. If it’s an emergency placement this may not be possible. The Living in Care Council (LinCC) helped to create foster carer profiles. Foster carers should fill out these templates with details about who they are and what it will be like to live in their home. You should receive a copy of this so that you know more about the people and the home you will be going to.

6) When can I see my family?

Contact with your family may be face-to-face or through telephone calls, letters, texts, cards, sending photos, skype or email etc. Contact can be supervised – which means that a social worker may go with you, or that the contact takes place in a centre where there is staff around. Contact may be unsupervised which means that you will be dropped off and picked up at a set time. You can ask your social worker for more contact if you miss people but sometimes your social worker may decide this is not in your best interest. There may be some people that you are not allowed contact with.

7) What if I don't like the food in my new home?

This is something you need to discuss with your carer. If you don’t feel comfortable discussing this with them you should talk to your social worker or you could bring this up at your LAC Review.

8) If I am white is it possible I will be placed with a black family or visa versa?

Bromley has a placement match policy. This means we will try and match you with people of a similar ethnic background. However, sometimes there are limited places so a transracial placement might be the only option. We would expect that any carers would have an understanding and a willingness to learn more about your culture.

9) How do I deal with cultural and religious differences between me and my carers?

The local authority will try to match you with suitable carers that can meet your religious and cultural needs. If you are not comfortable tell your social worker.

10) Will I have to join in family activities with my foster carers?

You are strongly encouraged to mix with your foster family and take part in their activities. This is a good way of getting to know one another.

11) What will happen to my stuff? Can I keep it?

At the very least you should be able to bring some of your belongings to your new placement, however, it may not be possible to bring all of them. If it’s not possible then your carers are given an allowance of money to look after you so some of this can be used to make sure that you have things to make you feel at home.

12) Will I be able to make my room the way I want it?

This will depend on how long you will be staying for. You should definitely be able to bring some of your belongings with you so that you feel more at home. If you want to decorate your room in your placement you must ask for permission from your foster carer.

13) Am I allowed to use the internet where am living?

Your carers may want to supervise you or block certain sites so that you can’t access them. If you think this is unfair you can always speak to your social worker. If you are able to use the internet then you will be expected to do this in a communal area.

14) Can I use the phone in my new home?

You should be able to use the phone but you need to discuss this with your carer first because they are the ones who pay the bill. They may want you to make calls at certain times in the day because it is cheaper or they may not want you to call mobiles because that can be really expensive. You need to remember that other people in your placement will want to use the phone too. It might be an idea to arrange set times that you are allowed to use the phone.

15) What should I do If I do not like my carer or their family?

If you dislike your carer or their family you should speak to your social worker about how you are feeling. They will listen to your concerns and help you to think of ways to solve the problems you have been having with your foster family. If you are still not happy you could ask for an advocate to help you get your voice heard.

16) What do I do if I am thinking about running away?

Being in care can be really difficult and you may feel lots of different types of emotions. If you feel like running away tell somebody you trust and talk it through. Don’t make any rash decisions.

17) What is a social worker?

Your social worker is responsible for giving you the support you need. They will listen to your problems and try to help your family work things out if it’s in your best interest. You should be able to meet your social worker somewhere you feel comfortable and able to speak.

You have the right to see your social worker:

  • Within one week of your placement
  • If there is a permanency plan at least every 6 weeks
  • After this at least every 3 months
  • If you need to see your social worker at other times let them know or ask at your review meeting

18) What is an independent visitor?

  • An Independent Visitor (IV) is an adult who has volunteered to spend time with young people who are in care.
  • They will do fun activities with you and give you support.
  • You can have one if you are lonely, far from home or if you don’t see your family much.
  • If you would like to get an independent visitor please ask your carer or social worker to contact the IV coordinator.

For more information about independent visitors please click here

19) What are LAC review meetings?

To read more about LAC review meetings please click here to view a PDF

20) What are PEP meetings?

To find out more about PEP’s click here to view a PDF

22) Am I entitled to additional help?

To find out what additional help you are entitled to please click on the link to view the pledge that Bromley Council has made to its looked after children and care leavers.

23) Should I tell my friends I am in care?

It’s your choice whether you decide to tell your friends that you are in care. You need to be certain that you trust them and that they will not react in a negative way. If they are your friends they will understand and they will not judge you.

24) Am I allowed sleepover's?

If you want to go to a sleep over your foster carer will be able to decide this. If they have any concerns they may want to discuss this with your social worker.

25) Can I stay out late?

You will have to discuss this with your foster carer. The time you will need to be back home by will depend on your age, whether its a week night or not and whether you act responsibly when you are out. If you feel you should be able to stay out later then you could raise this at your LAC review. You need to remember that your carer is trying to keep you safe.

26) Can I dye my hair?

This will depend on your age and care status. For example if you are under a Section 20 then your parents will be able to give their permission for this.

27) Can I get a tattoo?

Legally a young person has to be 18 years old to get a tattoo.

28) Can I get a piercing?

This depends, any body piercing for anyone under 16 years old needs parental consent. Plus any reputable piercing parlor will ask for proof of age.

29) Can my carers buy me protein shakes?

It is illegal for carers to purchase protein powder/shakes for any young person under the 18 years old.

email: LinCC@bromley.gov.uk

call: 020 8461 7869