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Being in care

The number to call if you are worried about a child or young person and think they may be the victim of neglect or abuse:

If you think a child or young person is in immediate danger telephone 999

If a child or young person is at risk of significant harm contact the

  • Safeguarding Referral Team Telephone 01782 235100
  • email
  • Emergency Duty Team - 01782 234234 (After 5pm)

National helplines

  • NYAS Advocacy Service – 0800 616 101
  • NSPCC Helpline - 0808 800 5000
  • Child line – 0800 1111

What does being in care mean?
Sometimes you can’t live at home with your family. When this happens you may have to be cared for by somebody else who is specially trained to look after children and young people. This is called “being in care” or “being looked after”. Everybody is different so they are in care for many different reasons.

Who looks after me when I’m in care?
When you go to live in care you may live in foster care or residential care.
Foster care means living with people who will look after you as part of their family in their own home. Foster carers are adults who have been trained to care for children and young people.
Residential care means living in a house or a larger building with other children and young people in care. There will be a team of professional staff that do not live at the residential home but work shifts instead. You will usually have your own room and share living spaces such as the kitchen, lounge and laundry area with the staff and other young people.
You may stay in care for a short period or until you are old enough to live alone.

Who can help me when I’m in care?
While you are in care there will be lots of people who are there to help and support you. These people include your social worker, carers, family members if appropriate, independent reviewing officers and advocates.

Your social worker is a person who works for the local council and it is their job to make sure that you have somewhere safe to live. They will also make sure that you can go to school and see your family and friends if it is safe to do so.

Your carers are people who will look after you every day. They will make sure that you feel safe, have food and clean clothes, encourage you to take part in activities and support you with any problems. Everyone knows that it can be a really difficult time and experience when children and young people can’t live with their family, but there are lots of people who will help you through this. Everyone wants you to be happy.

If it is safe for you to have contact with your family, your social worker and carers will make sure that they are included in discussing your care and support you need.

An independent reviewing officer (IRO) is the person who comes to your statutory reviews every six months when you are in care. It is the independent reviewing officers job to make sure that there is a good plan in place for you, that you are being looked after well, and that all your needs are being met properly. IRO’s also make sure that your views and wishes have been listened to and that you are involved in making important decisions about your own life. If you feel that you are not being listened to you can speak to your IRO. They will give you their telephone number to keep safe.
An advocate is a person who does not work with your social worker or carers but is there just for you. An advocate is someone who can help you if you want something stopped, started or changed, they can help if decisions are been made about you that you don’t like or if you need to tell someone something and don’t know who to tell. Advocates will keep what you say private unless you, or someone else is in danger.

What do I do if I am unhappy about something or I don’t feel safe?
If you are worried or scared about something it is very important that you speak to someone who you can trust. Depending on what it is that you are worried about, you can speak to your social worker, carers, independent reviewing officer, or an advocate.

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