Who is it for?
You can't always live with your family. It might be that your parents have asked for you to be looked after or that a court has decided that you need to go into care. This happens when your parents are unable to properly look after you or if you could come to harm if you stay with them.
When you go into care you will usually live with a foster family. Some other young people might live in residential care
What’s it like living with a foster family?
Foster carers are ordinary people who have been checked out to make sure they can take care of you. They might be married or single, have young or grown up children, or none at all. Your foster carers will take care of everything in your day-to-day life, such as:
- giving you meals
- taking you to school
- going shopping and buying you clothes
- making sure you are safe
- being there to listen and help with any problems.
- the fun stuff – taking you out and about and making sure you carry on doing the things you like.
Foster carers understand that it is confusing and upsetting to find yourself living with a new family and that it will take a while to get used to. They might do things differently, like eat different food and watch different TV programmes. Your foster carers will always try to make sure you are as happy and settled as possible during your stay. As with all families there will be house rules for things like:
- going out
- pocket money
- bed times
- and helping out around the house.
How long will I be in foster care?
It depends on your situation and why you have come into care. We will talk to you and your family and then make a plan for your future. You might need to be in care for just a short while if your parents are going through a difficult time and then you can return home.
If the court decides it is not safe for you to return home, you will be given a ‘care order’. This means you will be in care until you are 18. You may be adopted or be ‘permanently fostered’ by your foster carers. Your social worker will explain all these things to you and answer any questions. They will also listen to your views.
What happens when I leave foster care?
Whether you return home to your family or are in permanent fostering your social worker will always be in contact with you. It is important that you are honest with them about what you think and want. Then they will know how best to help you.
There will be regular review meetings where you, your parents, school and anyone else important to you gives their views on how you are doing and any help you might need.
Once you reach 18 you become an adult in the law. You can choose to stay with your foster parents, or you might feel ready to move on. We will be there to help with this.
Find out more about being fostered
If you want to explore being fostered, get in touch. We want to be able to help before a situation reaches crisis point. We will do an assessment of you and your family to make sure we can help you in the right way. If it is at all possible for you to remain with your parents or a relative without harm we will help to do this first.
You might want to speak to an adult you trust, like a teacher or youth worker.
Find out more about who to contact at ESCC – children and family assessment