But who are these people? What do I do now? And when can I go home?
Who are all these people?
You are assigned your very own social worker who will try their best to ensure that your placement is as good as it can be for you. They will speak on your behalf to ensure that your thoughts and feelings are heard and considered by others that make decisions thought best for your future.
Your Foster Carers will be your primary caregivers for the duration of your placement. They are professional carers and have been trained to protect and provide you with a stable and loving family home.
Even your foster carers have a supervising social worker (SSW) that will support them throughout your stay. Supervising social workers also have a duty of care towards you. They make sure that foster carers are looking after you to the best of their ability.
You will also be visited by the independent reviewing officer whose job it is to make sure that your interests are being met by all people involved and ensure that the situation you have been removed from does not happen again.
What do I do now?
If you are newly placed it will mean that you will now be living with a new family. They are likely to be very different from what you're used to, with new rules and ways of doing things that will be unfamiliar.
Your social worker will have talked to you about the reasons why you have been placed into care and also about your new family and how long you can expect to be living with them.
The important thing is that you are also new to them so you will both need to get to know one another.
The best thing you can do is to talk. They know that you may be feeling angry and let down, confused and insecure and it won't be easy at first but they want to help and they want to listen.
You might find it easier to express yourself in other ways, maybe writing things down or drawing a picture.
When can I go home?
That is a difficult question... this all depends on what has been agreed by the courts. Sometimes, you will be in care for just a few weeks, or you may be in care until you become an adult but this should have been explained to you.
If you are in any doubt and wish to understand more about your situation then speak to someone you trust. This might be your social worker, your foster carer, a teacher or your independent reviewing officer.
Preparing for life in the real world
If you are in long-term care or came into care as a young adult, your carer will help prepare you for life in the real world for when your placement ends. This may mean helping you manage your finances, looking for a job or a place to live.
There will be other people involved but the ones mentioned above will be the ones you will meet most often.
When a placement breaks down
Not everyone can get along with everyone else so, sometimes, a placement may not be right for you. There are a number of reasons why this might be the case but when this happens everyone involved ends up unhappy.
If this happens to you then it is important that you communicate this to your social worker. At first, they will try to resolve any disagreement but if there is no resolution, it may become necessary to find another foster family to live with.
It is important to understand that if the courts have decided you cannot live at home, disrupting a placement deliberately will not help!
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