Children In Care

When you first start to live away from home, your social worker, foster carers or your residential worker, and on some occasions, your family, will sit down and meet with you. This meeting is to start making plans for your future and agree a care plan for you.

It’s important that everyone who is involved in your life knows what is happening and what plans you have for the future. This is called your care plan. Your care plan will cover everything to do with you, from contact with your friends and family, to school, to health and hobbies; to what food you like and what activities you enjoy doing. Your plan will be updated when changes happen and sometimes it will change at your review.

Your care plan will contain lots of different things which matter to you, such as:

  • how we keep you safe
  • where you’re going to live
  • how you’re going to keep in touch with your family
  • how long you are going to be looked after for
  • your school and your health
  • your friends and what you like doing in your free time

What is a Looked After Review?

A review is a meeting with you to discuss how you are getting on and how you feel about where you live. It is a chance for you and those people who are responsible for you to share what has been happening and to plan for your future. Whilst you are looked after you will have regular reviews. The first one will be within 28 days of coming into care, then another review within 3 months and then at least 1 every 6 months or more often if needed.

The review is organised by your social worker with the Independent Reviewing Officer.

My Care Team

What is a social worker?

Social workers are people employed by the council and they are responsible for making sure young people in the care of Dudley Council are looked after well and are kept safe.

How will my social worker help me?

Your social worker will be there to help you with such things as keeping you up to date with events in your family and plans for your future. They can answer any questions you might have about living away from home and keeping in touch with your family. They will work with other professionals to make sure all your needs are met including things to do with your health and education for example.

If you have any problems with your foster or residential home and you don’t want to talk to your foster carer or the home staff about it, talk to your social worker. You can expect to be treated with respect and dignity. Your social worker is there to listen to what you have to say.

Your social worker is the person who is responsible for

  • making sure you’re safe and properly cared for
  • visiting you
  • keeping you in touch with your family
  • being there to help you if you have problems
  • making sure you’re healthy

Visits from your social worker

Your Social Worker should come and see you regularly. Your Social Worker will agree with how often they will visit.

Making the most of your social worker

Your social worker will be able to help you better if you tell them the things that are important to you. Wherever you live whilst you are being looked after, it is your right to see your social worker alone every time they visit, if you wish.

Can I change my social worker?

Most young people get on with their social worker, but sometimes they don’t. If you don’t get on with your social worker it is important to know why. You can always tell your social worker or adults who you are living with that you’re not happy. Your wishes will be listened to and adults around you will help to find a solution to the problem.

How can I contact my social worker?

Social workers have mobile phones, you should have their number and you can call them to speak to them. Just remember, whilst you may have your social worker’s mobile number, social worker’s do not work 24 hours a day so he or she may not answer their phone. If this happens try to ring the office number instead. You should have written your social workers contact number at the front of this folder, along with the details of when they can be contacted.

Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO)?

Your independent reviewing officer or IRO is the person who will lead your review meetings, to see how you are getting on at your home, school, college or employment. Your IRO will usually come to see you before your review to ask if there is anything you want to say in your meeting.

The people who will come to your review are those who know about you and those who play a part in your life. This may include the people you will live with, your social worker, and his or her boss, your parents or other family members and any adults who are important to you.

The Independent Reviewing Officer will lead the review. You can always ask your social worker about who will be attending your review. Your review is about you, so it’s really important your wishes and feelings are taken into account. It is best if you are at the review meeting so that you can hear what is said, put your own views across and take part in decisions that are made.

If you decide not to go to your review you can provide your views by completing a booklet that your social worker should provide. Or you can decide with your social worker how your wishes and feelings will be provided to the review. After the review your social worker should tell you about the decisions that were agreed.

Key Worker

If you are living in a residential home you will have a key worker who will regularly spend time with you. Your key worker will also make sure that you feel happy and safe living at the home. If you have any problems your key worker where possible, will try and sort them out. As well as your key worker there will be other staff to look after you and make sure you are safe.