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Where will I live?

Here are some questions that lots of young people ask us often about being looked after and where they are living. 

Q: What if I do not like my foster carers or key workers?

A.  Before you go to a foster carer or residential unit your social worker will ask you your views and wishes and will try and make sure that you will move to someone that you will get along with.  They will think about your age, ethnicity, gender, religion, social skills, hobbies, education and the contact you have with your family.  If you do not like where you are living it is important for you to talk to someone such as your Social Worker, independent reviewing officer or an advocate to tell them why.  It is important for you to be safe at all times.

Q: I am not happy where I am living. Can I move?

A.  This will depend on the reasons why you want to move. It can be hard for young people to move in to a new place and live with people they don’t know.  If you are having worries about where you are living, please talk to your social worker or an advocate about this.  We need to know if you are not happy and why so that we can help you to work it out.  If it is not safe for you to stay where you are then you will move.  Before any decisions are made to move you, you will need to meet with your social worker and foster carer/key worker in what is called a disruption meeting, to see if there is anything that can be done to make things better where you are living.  WHY?  When you move house this can disrupt everything in your life including friends and school… but of course we want you to be happy and safe above everything! 

Q: Will I have my own bedroom?

A.  All children should have their own bedrooms. 

Q: Will I receive pocket money and clothes

A.  Your foster carers or key workers are paid to look after you.  They will receive money to buy your clothing, personal care such as soap, toothpaste, skin creams, hair products and for pocket money.  You and your foster carer or key worker can work out how to manage your pocket money and clothing allowance.  If you think you are ready to manage your own money in this way, please talk to your Social Worker and foster carer/key worker. 

Q: Will I have to spend my pocket money on lunch?

A.  No - Your foster carer/ key worker should provide you with dinner money or a packed lunch for school.  If this is not happening please talk to your social worker.

Q: Will I have my own key?

A.  This will depend where you are living and what the circumstances are.  It is important for you and your carer to develop trust with each other for you to be home alone.  It will depend on your age too!  If you can be trusted to be safe when you are home alone and you are not too young– then it should be okay!  You will need to talk to your foster carer and social worker about this and agree what will happen. 

Q: Can I have a mobile telephone?

A.  It is important that you have access to a telephone that you can use.  You should ask your carer/key worker when you need to use the telephone.  Having your own mobile telephone depends on your age and who will pay for it.  You and your carers need to agree on you having a mobile telephone and how to fund the costs of running the phone.

Q: I would like to go on holiday with my foster carers but my mother says I cannot go?

A.  Your Social worker will work with you, your family and foster carer so your views and wishes are listened to.  The decision will also depend upon whether you are accommodated or looked after. 

Q: I want to go on a school trip but my foster carer says they are not able to pay for it?

A.  Lambeth Council will support you to have at least one trip a year!  If this happens please talk to your Social Worker, a teacher or another trusted adult about it.

Q: Can I go out to a club with my friends?

A.  When you first move to a placement there will be house rules which will form part of your placement plan.  Your foster carer needs to ensure that you are kept safe.  Going out clubbing will depend on your age and the type of club you want to attend.  We want you to be able to have fun with your friends – but want you to be safe at all times and not breaking the law!

Q:  Can I have pets?

A.  If you have a pet that is special to you when you are coming into care – please let your Social Worker know.  They can try to find somewhere for you to live where you can bring your pet.  Sometimes this will not be possible – but if you let us know – we will always try to help with this.  Some foster carers will have their own pets that you can spend time with.

Q: Can I have a bank account?  What happens to my money?

A.    Your foster carer or key worker will make sure you have a bank account when you become looked after.  Your foster carer or key worker should be helping you to save 5 pounds a week into your bank account so that you have some savings when you leave care.  If you want a bank account and you don’t have one, please talk to your social worker or foster carer/key worker so they can help you to set one up.