Where will I live?
While in care, where you live will depend on your individual situation and what is going on in your life. There are several different placements, one of which will be right for you.
Is when you move to live with another family in their home, this is called foster care. Your foster carers might come from lots of different backgrounds, they may have a family, they may have other foster children living there, they may be single or they might just be a couple. They will be all different ages, genders and race.
Your social worker will make sure your placement is suitable and you are matched with the right foster carers.
Family & Friends Care
Is when you live with a family member or close friend.
(Sometimes called a residential home)
Is similar to foster care but instead of living with foster carers, you live with specially trained staff in house with other looked after children.
Some young people may be placed in a boarding school and at weekends and holidays they will stay with a foster carer.
Secure Accommodation or remand
Secure accommodation is similar to living in a children's home, however it will be unlikely that you will leave the unit and will probably have school lessons there too.
Remand is when you get placed via the courts after you have committed a crime. You will stay in a specialist foster placement and will not leave until your remand finishes.
Independent Foster Agencies
You may be placed with an Independent Foster Agency (IFA) which is an agency that recruits and supports its own foster carers. An IFA will work closely with Hampshire County Council to make sure that the best possible foster placement is found for you.
Your placement will also vary depending on the type of care you are in, such as if you're in respite care you placement may be different to someone who is in family and friends care, below are some examples;
These carers have children and young people to stay for short periods of time, such as a weekend, month or school holidays.
This can be anything from a month to a couple of years.
When a child or young person goes to live with a foster family for many years until they are ready to live independently.
Family and friends care
Family and friends carers will usually be known to you or part of your family.
Helping you to settle in your new home
Moving to a new home can be a very stressful time. Your social worker and new fosters carers will be well equipped to help you settle in your new home. We want you to feel comfortable, safe and happy where you are living. You should feel in control of what happens to you whilst you are in care.
We will involve you in decisions that are made about you, and will talk to you about what you want, why you want it or if you do not want specific things.
Here are some ideas about how you can make moving to a new home easier:
•Think about any questions you might have about moving, these might be about your bedroom, school or when you will see your family or friends
•If you are worried or not happy about something, don't leave it, make sure you tell someone so they can help you
•You should be provided with a suitable bag so you can move your things if you don't have one
•If you have left your birth parent(s)/family home and didn't get an opportunity to collect your possessions, your IRO or social worker will be able to go back and get the things you need
What If I feel unsettled?
Try not to worry too much about feeling unsettled, it's completely normal to feel like this. Moving to a new place and meeting new people, can be full on, but your foster carer(s) and social worker will be there to make sure that you are settled and happy.
If there is something your not happy about or you have any questions, don't bottle it up, speak to your foster carer, social worker or even your IRO.
What If I have to change homes?
Depending on your situation you may not be able to stay in one foster home for the whole time you are fostered, but we will try and give you warning before you have to leave.
Your social worker will be there to support you throughout the change and will try to make sure you meet your new carers before you have to move.
Were possible you will not be moved too often and we will try to not move you if you are in year 10 and year 11 so you are not unsettled during your GCSEs.
When you move to live with another family in their home, this is called foster care.
Foster carers can be lots of different people from lots of different walks of life, some may have their own children, some may be single, some only foster and won't have their own children, some might have been fostering for a long time and some might be new to fostering.
They can be a real mix of people that choose to foster and your social worker will work really hard to make sure that your foster placement really suits you.
Moving to your foster carer
Understandably it will be quite worrying going to stay with a family that you don't know, and it doesn't matter how old you are it will always be daunting. You will most likely have your own room and will be given plenty of time to settle in on your first day. If you have any worries then your social worker or foster carer will be there to help you.
Once you are settled your foster carer will probably like to know a bit more about you, they will already know some things but a proper chat will really help them get to know you. You might also like to know to know a few things about them and their routine, below are some examples of things you could ask them.
Things your foster carer might want to know:
• what you like to be called
• when your birthday is
• if you like certain foods or meals
• if you don't like certain foods or meals
• if you have any allergies or food intolerances
• if you practice a certain religion or come from certain culture
Things you might want to ask your foster care about:
• what the rules are
• when breakfast, lunch and dinner are
• how you will get to school or college
• if you can invite friends round
• do they have any children (if you have already met them)
• if they have any pets
Your foster carer's responsibilities
Your foster carer should treat you with respect and dignity, and you should do the same to them. It is likely there will be rules in the house and you should try and stick to them as best you can. Don't forget that the rules in your foster home are there to make sure everyone gets along and respects each other.
Your foster carer should:
• Help you keep in touch with your family
• Make sure you feel safe and happy in their home
• Help you sort out school or college
• Look after you when you’re not well
• Listen to any worries or problems that you may have
• Give you pocket money each week
• Make sure you have the clothes/uniform that you need
• Make sure you have all the toiletries that you need like toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner etc.
• Help you keep up or start any hobbies, sporting activities, clubs etc.
Your foster carer shouldn't
• Smack you, hit you or hurt you in any way
• Stop you from seeing your family or other people that are important to you
• Stop you from having any medical or dental treatment if you need it
• Lock your room, or in the house on your own
• Search your body or touch you in anyway that you feel uncomfortable with
If your foster carer does any of the above, speak to your social worker or someone you trust straight away or call the Children's Services number: 0300 555 1384
Or if it’s after 5pm or the weekend ring the out of hours number: 0300 555 1373
Keeping in touch with your family and friends
There are many ways of keeping in touch with your family and friends:
•you may be able to visit them
•speak to them on the phone
•contact them via email
•write a letter
•send a card
Your social worker will be able to find the best way you can keep in contact with them.
However, there may be some reasons why you can't see the people you want to, if this happens your social worker will be able to explain why (so make sure you ask them), and may be able to speak to them on your behalf and give them your messages. You can talk about this with your social worker at your review meetings.
If you have lost touch with some of your family or friends, speak to your social worker to see how they can help you get back in touch.
Think about whom you would like to keep in touch with and who you don't, and let your social worker know so they can make the right plans for you.
Can I live with my brothers and sisters?
We will try our best to make sure that you and your siblings are placed together in foster care, however sometimes this just isn't possible. If you have to live separately your social worker will make sure you have regular contact with your siblings.
Will I be able to live with my family again?
Your social worker, as part of the assessments they make will be able to decide if the long-term plan is for you to live with your family.
If the decision is made that you will return to your family then we will make sure that you are happy for this to happen and make sure you are given all the support that you need.
What if I'm not happy?
There can be ups and downs living with a foster family, things can take a little while to settle and for you to feel properly at home.
If you feel like you have tried to adjust and you still don't feel happy or you are not adjusting to your foster home, then you will need to speak to your social worker and try to work out what is best for you and how we can help. If this doesn't help and you still don't feel settled or things can't be sorted then it's most likely we will try to find a different foster home or possibly a different type of accommodation.
Don't worry if things don't work out, unfortunately we are all only human and sometimes it can take longer to find the right home setting and for you to feel comfortable in.
What is a children's Home?
A children's home will most likely look like a normal house from the outside and will most likely be a home to older children and teenagers.
Unlike a foster home you will live with residential workers who will be on a rota (so they might not be there all the time and work shifts) and will live with you 24 hours a day.
The house won't have any more than 5 young people living there and you will all get a separate bedroom, but share the living room, dinning room and kitchen.
Why live in a Children's Home?
Children's Homes are usually for older children and/or teenagers, who may not like living in foster care or may have some additional need and need special staff to help them.
A Children's Home may suit someone that isn't keen on having a new family and therefore wouldn't feel comfortable in a foster placement or someone who may have lived more independently before coming into care.
All your needs and wishes will be taken into consideration before you are placed so make sure you communicate with your social worker about what you think would suit you best.
Living in a Children's Home
Different things will happen at different homes;
•There will be rules, just as there would be in a foster placement or at home with family
•You will have your meals cooked for you and if you have any special dietary requirements or religious needs then the staff will make sure that you have the right food.
•You will have your own room, there will be communal areas that you can relax in and some where quiet to study.
•You may be allowed to have friends over but this will be down to the staff, just as it would be at home or in foster care
The staff are there to support you with whatever you need so make sure if you have any problems, worries or are not sure about something then speaking to them should help. Your Children's Home should provide you with a safe and secure environment that allows you to flourish and achieve.
If you are aged between 16-18 you may want to consider Staged Accommodation or Supported Lodgings as an option. These are both temporary options that are stepping stones for you to move on to independent accommodation.
•Is when you live in a host's or host families' home
•There might be other young people living there as well or the host may have children or pets
•You will have your own room, the bathroom and kitchen will be shared
•You will be supported by your host and personal advisor
•You will be encouraged to cook your own food and do you own washing
•You will live with other young people in a shared house
•You will have a team of staff to support you in gaining independent skills like cooking and cleaning
•You will have your own bedroom
•You will share a kitchen and a bathroom
•You will get the chance to take part in workshops to help you with independent skills, such as money budgeting
•There will be curfews you will have to respect