There's always someone you can talk to
If you're scared, not sure about something, or just want to talk to someone, there are lots of people you can turn to.
We've added a list of people here, together with what they do. If you want to speak to any of them just call us and someone will put you through to the right person. If you don't want to talk to anyone but still need some advice, just fill in our online contact form.
An advocate is an independent person who can help you get your voice heard. They can also give you advice and find solutions to a problem you might have.
The main adult that's responsible for looking after you; this could be a foster carer, or can be a key worker if you live in a children’s home.
If your family is involved with the courts and important decisions are being made about where you should live, then you may have someone helping you called a children’s guardian. This is someone who the courts have asked to make sure that the decisions being made are best for you.
Your children’s guardian looks into what would be best for you and then writes a report for the court and gives the judge and the lawyers advice. They'll talk to you about what you would like to happen and how you feel, and they will include some of that in their report. They also check that other people involved in helping to sort things out are doing their jobs properly.
This means a friend, relative or other person connected with you. For example, this may be someone like a teacher, child-minder or youth worker that you already know.
Children in care named nurse
The nurse who does your health assessments and advises about your health needs.
This is a teacher at your school who has a legal responsibility for children who are in care. He or she will know something of your situation, although they may not know personal things about your family background and why you're looked after. They'll talk to your social worker regularly about how you are getting on at school. Although you may not mind people knowing that you're in care, your Designated Teacher should not tell other pupils that you are, or treat you differently in front of them.
Family support worker
These people work alongside your social worker. They’ll supervise contact between you and your family. You can speak to your family support worker about anything and they can pass the information on to the relevant people
Foster carer/residential worker
These people will care for and support you on a day-to-day basis. They'll make sure that you have clean clothes, healthy meals, access to a doctor, dentist and optician, regular education, and appropriate school uniform. They'll treat you like one of their own family, but also respect you as an individual.
Independent reviewing officer (IRO)
Your reviewing officer works separately from your social worker. It’s their job to make sure you’re well looked after and that all the people who support you are making the right plans and decisions at the right time for you. They’ll also make sure that you have your say in making all these decisions about your life.
Every looked after child must be allocated an IRO within seven days of becoming looked-after, and must have that same IRO throughout their time in care. This is so that you can build a good relationship with them and you can trust them to help you if things need to change about your situation in care.
This is a person who the local authority can arrange to visit some looked after children to befriend them, but they are not employed or paid by the local authority and are there just for the child. They are someone for you to talk to and have fun with.
If you're placed with another family member, this is your carer.
Leaving care worker
Leaving care workers are based in the Future Directions team. They work with you from the age of 16 to help you prepare for your future. They’ll give you advice about benefits, how to apply for a tenancy, and living independently once you leave care.
This is the person who takes over from your social worker when you leave care. They will support and advise you and be your contact with the local authority.
This is the person at the local authority who works with you and your family. You'll probably have had a social worker working with your family for a while before you came into care. When you first go into care they should spend time making sure you are settled in and will visit to make sure that you're happy with the way you are being cared for. You can phone your social worker and ask them to visit you (in between their regular visits) if you need to talk to them about something.
They'll be your first point of contact and will:
- make sure you’re OK, that you have a care plan and a placement plan, and that you get all the care that you need.
- work with your foster carer or residential worker to make sure you've got access to the services you need to stay healthy and get a good education.
- help you to stay in touch with your family and monitor this contact as agreed in your care plan.