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When can I see my family and friends?

We always want to make sure that you can keep in contact with your family, friends and carers where it is safe for you to do so.  Your Social Worker will talk to you about how and when you will see your family.  You, your social worker and the people looking after you will decide together when, where and how you will keep in touch with your family and friends.  Your feelings and wishes will be listened to before this is decided.

Remember that your Social worker CAN stop you seeing your parents if it is too unsafe for you to see them.  You can talk to your social worker about this if it happens. 

What is a contact order?

Sometimes the court will make a decision about how often you should see or speak to your family or sometimes a friend.  This is called a Contact Order.  This can say that you should not see a certain person.  Sometimes it can say where and when you might see certain family members or friends, and who else should be there with you.  A contact order is made to protect you and make sure you are always safe.

If your Contact Order says you should see a family member or friend but this is not happening then you should make a formal complaint.  You can apply for a Contact order if there is not one in place to make sure that you can see your family or friends.  It is always very helpful to mention these kinds of worries in your review meeting so that they can arrange this for you.

Once you are 16 you can choose if you want to see your family.  Lambeth Council can’t stop you from doing this when you are 16 or over.     
You may be able to keep in contact with your family by:

  • Your family can visit you - Sometimes a trusted adult will need to be there with you to make sure you are safe at all times. 
  • Writing letters - You may be able to send them photos and pictures too.
  • Your family can ring you - You may be able to talk to them on the phone.

It is important that you tell your Social Worker about family or friends that you want to see or talk to.  You don’t have to have contact with someone if you don’t want to.  If you want to see someone that you are not seeing – you can tell your Social Worker and they can try to organise this for you if it is safe for you to see them.  Remember that contact plans can be changed!  Just talk to your Social Worker about this.

Sometimes the Court might make a decision about how often you can or can’t see your family.  If you are not happy with this please talk to a trusted adult.  It is important for you to have your say!

How will I know what is going to happen?

What is a Care Plan?

When you are looked after, your Social Worker will talk to you about what is going to happen and what Lambeth Council will do to look after you.  Your Social worker has to write down what everyone will do to help look after you.  Your Social Worker will need to talk to you, your foster carer or key worker, your family, sometimes your teachers, and anyone else that is important in your life to do this.  This is called a care plan. It is very important that you have your say because the care plan is about you.  You can have a copy of your care plan – if you don’t have a copy you can ask your Social Worker.  You can talk to your Social Worker or carer if you don’t agree with the plan.

Your care plan will talk about many areas of your life such as:

  • Where you will live
  • What school you will go to
  • When you see your family
  • What you want now
  • Who will support you

Your Care Plan will change over time – just like you will!  This is to make sure that your needs are always met as you grow.  Your Care Plan will be reviewed every six months to make sure your needs are being met. 

Your Placement Plan

When you are looked after your Social Worker will write what is called a placement plan which is all about what will happen day to day where you live.  This is different to your care plan because it is about what will happen where you are living.  It will say how your carers/guardians/key workers will help look after you.
This will include:

  • How you will get to nursery/school/college
  • Your health needs
  • Who you will be able to see, or not see
  • Sleepovers
  • Religious needs
  • Cultural needs
  • How much pocket money you’ll get
  • Going on holidays
  • Food you like and dislike
  • Rules when visiting friends
  • About using computer/internet where you live

Sometimes you might be asked to sign a form to say that you agree with your care plan and placement plan.  You don't have to agree with the plan and should talk to your Social Worker if you don’t agree with everything that is written so that you can try to come to an agreement. 

My life story

It is important that you know your history and the reasons why you are in care and not living with your family.  WHY?  Some children and young people cannot remember some of the special times in their lives such as starting school, riding a bike, when they started crawling and walking as a baby.  When you live with your family – usually they will remember these things.  If you are not living with your family, it is much easier to forget these things.

We want to make sure that you remember all of the special times in your life.  Your Social Worker and Foster Carer/Key Workers will help you to do this by keeping a special album for you and maybe even a memory box to keep special items.  This is called life story work. 

You should have your say about how you would like to keep all of your special things like special photos, school ribbons or medals, baby clothes, something that was your mum or dad’s, your stories and drawings and favourite things.  Your holidays, photos of special people in your life, certificates and all sorts of other things.  Anything that is special to YOU!