If you are in care (also called ‘looked after’) you have certain rights.
Children’s Services have a duty to provide you with certain things and make sure you are safe. In this section you can read our most frequently asked questions and answers, which have lots of information about the help and support you should be getting from Children’s Services.
If you are happy and safe where you live, you should not be moved, unless there is a really good reason.
Process of moving
If Children’s Services are thinking about moving you, your social worker must talk to you first.
They should tell you:
- Why they think you need to move.
- Where you will be moving to.
- How this will affect things like going to school and seeing your family.
- When your LAC Review has been arranged.
They have to give you the chance to take in all the information and listen to your opinions and concerns.
In your LAC Review your social worker will:
- Explain their reasons for moving you.
- Show that they have listened to your opinion and concerns.
- Explain why this new placement will be better for you. This is called showing it’s in your “best interests”.
Independent Reviewing Officer
The Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO) needs to agree that the move is a good idea.
It is important that moving doesn’t affect your GCSEs. If you are in year 10 or 11 your social worker will have to get permission from the big boss before you can be moved.
If you are happy and safe where you live, you should not be moved unless there is are really good reason and you should always know why.
Lots of children and young people in care want to return to live with their family.
Children’s Services should try and help all children live with their family but this can ONLY happen if they feel your family can give you a safe and loving home. Some parents can’t manage this, even though they want to, and others need to make a lot of changes at home before it would be ok for you to return.
Deciding if you can return home or not will depend on why you came in to care.
If you are not able to live with your parents, Children’s Services may be able to arrange for you to live with other family members or with family friends. This is called “kinship care”.
How kinship care works
If this is something you want to happen, Children’s Services will have to carry out detailed checks (called an assessment) to make sure this is the best placement for you.
They will look at things like:
- Whether their house is big enough and is safe for children to live in.
- How long you have known each other and whether you have a good relationship with this person.
- Whether they are able to look after you – so this includes thinking about whether they are healthy and well, whether they have looked after children before and how well they did this.
- Whether there are any reasons why this might not be a good idea (for example, if they have been in trouble with the police).
You can live with your extended family members or close family friends while this assessment is being done. It should be done within 16 weeks, about 4 months. Sometimes it might take longer and if this happens Children’s Services can agree for you to stay for another 8 weeks longer while everything is finished.
If everything goes well with the assessment, there are two ways that your extended family member or family friend can become the person you live with for a long time:
- Your kinship carer can become your foster carer. This is called being “accommodated under Section 20”.
- Your parents agree that you live with the extended family member or friend with support from Children’s Services. This is called receiving “Section 17 support”.