Being in care or looked after means that you no longer live with your family. Everyone is different so can be in care for a variety of reasons.
Young people’s experiences of being in care can vary; there are many exciting things and new experiences to have. Whatever type of care you live in; residential, family and friends or foster care, you can always find the opportunity to have new experiences in everything that you do.
Foster carers will look after you in their home as part of their family until you can go home to live with your own parents, family members or live independently. You may live with your foster family for a short time, just at weekends, or you may live with them for a long period of time up until you are 18.
It all depends on what is needed to make sure you are safe, happy and well cared for. Foster families are all different but every foster family wants to care for children and young people who need to be looked after. Everyone will be helpful and friendly, but it can take time, effort and understanding to settle in. Some young people may stay in touch with their foster carers even after they have left care.
Foster carers know that not everyone is the same. Some young people have particular needs because of their background or religion. Your foster carer should be aware of any needs you may have.
Don’t be afraid to ask your foster carers anything you need to know and don’t be afraid to tell them about how you are feeling about things.
Connected persons means you may be looked after by a family member, a family friend or someone who is connected to you. They have to be checked out to make sure they are safe and suitable for you to live with.
They will become your carers, and depending on the plans for your future, you may live with them for a short period or a longer period of time.
A residential home is normally larger than a foster home. There are more adults in a residential home who are professional staff. They do not live in the home but work there on shifts. There are always staff in the home.
You will also live with other young people who are in care.
What will the home be like?
There is a big kitchen, a television room, a laundry room and you will usually have your own bedroom. The staff will help you to understand what rules and routines there are within the house.
Some young people move to independent aged 16+. These provisions are flats or rooms where you have support from adults on site – this is very much about you living more independently.
Your young person advisor can give you more information about semi-supported and independent living.
Respite care provides short-term placements for children with the same carer. Respite care usually takes place on weekends or during school holidays in order to support an existing foster carer or family member.