Face to face somewhere you feel comfortable.
- This could be where you live, where they live, or somewhere else you feel comfortable.
- Sometimes, a social worker or someone else might need to be there to make sure everything is OK (this is called ‘supervised contact’).
Through text, phone calls or video calls.
- This is private and should not be overheard or looked at by anyone, unless Children’s Services have decided that private contact isn’t best for you.
- If your social worker is worried about what your family might say or do when they see you. If they are worried, they should talk to you about it.
- If a judge decided that seeing your family is not best for you.
- If your family hasn’t turned up in the past.
- If your family member has decided they can’t see you at the moment. Often this will have nothing to do with you and it’s important that the reasons for this are explained to you by your social worker.
- If your brothers or sisters have been adopted normally it is left to the adoptive parents to decide if they can continue seeing their siblings. Your social worker can ask the adoptive family to keep in contact but your social worker can’t force them to do this.
You don’t have to see your family if you don’t want to. Before you decide whether you want to see them you might want to think about:
- Do you want to stop seeing your family or would you just prefer it to be less often? How often would you like it to be?
- Do you want to see your family face to face or would a phone call or letter be easier?
- If you want to see your family face to face, would it help to have someone else there to make sure everything is ok?
- You can have different arrangements with different people – you can see some people more and choose not to see other people at all.
- Make sure seeing your family is talked about at every LAC Review and that they are thought about when deciding where you should live.
- Talk to your social worker about who you want to see.
- If you still feel no-one is listening, you can contact your local advocacy service. They will make sure your voice is heard.
- They should ask you who you want to see and try and make this happen. If there are problems they should explain them and help you find a way to stay in contact, such as sending letters (sometimes known as ‘letter box contact’). If you decide not to see your family they can meet with your family to explain things and help your family understand.
Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO)
- Your IRO makes sure the plans your social worker makes are best for you, this includes plans to see your family. They make sure how you see your family is discussed at your LAC Review. If you don’t agree with the plans to see your family you can discuss it at your LAC Review meeting or discuss it privately with your IRO outside of the meeting.
Did you know?
- Children’s services can help pay for travel so you can see your family, for both yourself and your family.
- Your carers shouldn’t cancel planned visits with your family as a punishment.
What to do if you are still not happy?
If you still feel that no-one is listening to you, then you can get help from an Advocate on our Always Heard Advocacy Helpline.