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Our promise to you

What the law says you should have

These are your rights, things the law says we must do. If you think we are not keeping them you must tell us. You can do this in many ways, talk to your social worker or independent reviewing officer (IRO) or make a formal complaint – details of how to do this are at the bottom of this page.

If you need this information in large print, or in an alternative version, please contact Norfolk County Council on 0344 800 8020.

No matter who you are, where you live or how you see yourself, this is for you.

This is the Norfolk County Council’s promise to all children and young people in its care.

We will make sure you understand how to make a complaint or comment about the care you receive from us. If you would like someone to support you make a complaint or an ‘advocate,’ we’ll arrange this for you.

You will have a qualified social worker, who will visit you at least every 28 days when you first come into care or change your placement. After this your social worker will still visit you regularly and will let you know how often this will be.

You will have a named IRO who will manage your reviews. These have to happen when you come into care, three months after this and then every six months until you are 18 years old. You can contact your IRO between reviews if you want to talk to them and you can work with them and chair your own review meetings if you would like.

No major changes like moving where you live, even if it is to go home, will happen without a statutory review with your IRO.

Foster carers can now make more decisions about your life, for example staying at a friend’s house or going on a school trip. This is called delegated authority and means that you do not always have to wait for checks on a friend’s family or ask a social worker to sign a consent form.

If we decide to change where you live we will always ask your opinion. If we can‘t do what you would like us to do we will explain to you why this can’t happen.

We will make sure where you live is safe and what you want, that you have contact with your family and that this is written into your care plan.

We will provide you with help and support at school to help you do as well as other children and young people not in care.

We will make sure that the place you live is safe and that you are well cared for. We will make sure your carers understand your needs, this could be your religion, your culture or any disabilities you may have.

You will be provided with a copy of your care plan unless we feel that you are too young to have it or that you may find it upsetting - if we do decide this we will explain why.

Where you have not had regular contact with family members, we will make arrangements for you to have an independent visitor if this is something you would like.

We will make sure that everyone understands their role as a corporate parent and that they ask themselves ‘Would this be good enough for my child?’ When they are making decisions about you as an individual or the care system.

You will have a qualified social worker who will visit you regularly until you are 18. After age 18, if you change to a personal advisor we will make sure they have a professional qualification or are studying for one.

We will make sure that you have a Pathway Plan in place by the time you are 16 and three months. We will work with you to understand how important this plan is and we will review it every six months with you.

It will be completed by you and your social care worker together and you will be given a copy. If any major changes happen before your Pathway Plan review, we will update it with you.

No major changes like moving where you live, even if it is to go home, should happen without a statutory review with your IRO or if you are over 18, without a meeting with your personal advisor.

We will provide you with help and support at school or college or university to help you do as well as other children and young people not in care.

If you go to University we will offer you support around your accommodation and a bursary to help with your fees. Your personal advisor can give you all of this information.

If we decide to change where you live we will always ask your opinion.

If we can‘t do what you would like us to do we will explain to you why this can’t happen.

We will make sure where you live is safe and what you want, that you have contact with your family and that this is written into your Care Plan and Pathway Plan.

We will make sure that everyone understands their role as a corporate parent and that they ask themselves, ‘Would this be good enough for my child?’ when they are making decisions about the care system or you as an individual.

What Norfolk County Council says you will have

If you feel we are not keeping these you should talk to your social worker or IRO, or you can let us know by using a complaints form – details of how to do this are at the end of the form.

We will help you deal with the reasons why you came into care and any problems you have because of being in care. We’ll do this by making sure you feel cared for, valued and, if you need it, by setting up meetings with people who work with children and young people to help them understand their feelings and behaviour.

Your social worker will visit you regularly and let you know if they have to cancel a visit and why. They will also let you know if they are going on holiday and make sure you know who to speak to whilst they are away.

We will celebrate what you do well and not just concentrate on things that need to be improved.

We will make sure that you are safe and well cared for.

We will always try to find the best place for you to live and will include you in making this decision.

We will make sure that you have the best experience possible while you are in our care.

We will make sure that you understand all of your rights whilst you are in our care.

Wherever possible we will not use a temporary place as we want you to feel settled where you live. We will always try to make sure that you get to meet your foster carers before you move to be with them. This may not be possible if it is an emergency move.

We will try to make sure that as many things as possible, like your school, stay the same when you come into care.

We will talk to you about all the options for your future and not just about higher education or work.

We will ask your opinion about everything that happens to you and if we can’t do what you want we will explain why.

We will do our best to promote a positive image of children and young people in care.

We will try our best to make sure you keep the same social worker, by not changing them unless we have to, for example if they are leaving or unwell.

We will offer you opportunities to get involved with helping us make the service better for all children in care.

We will offer training to all professionals that come into contact with children and young people in care to help them understand what it means for you to be in care.

We will always try to find the best place for you to live and will include you in making this decision.

Wherever possible we will not use a temporary place as we want you to feel settled where you live. When it comes time for you to move out, we will make sure you have all the skills you need to live independently and make sure we find you secure, good quality accommodation.

We will support you in your education or training. If you need support with this, we will make sure you have a specially trained guidance advisor who will help you.

A guidance advisor is separate from your personal advisor and is someone who is specially trained to advise you about education, employment, apprenticeships and/or training.

We will make sure that you have the skills you need to live on your own, when that time comes and we will support you in learning these skills.

We will ask your opinion about everything that happens to you and if we can’t do what you want we will explain why.

We will try our best to make sure you keep the same social worker, by not changing them unless we have to, for example if they are leaving or unwell.

Complaints

If you would like to make a complaint, you can do this by using one of the complaints and comments forms you have been sent. You can also make a complaint online or by ringing us on 0344 800 8020 or text us on 07789 920916.

If you would like some support in making a complaint you can ask the complaints team, your social worker or foster carer to help you get an independent advocate or contact the Norfolk in Care Council at csparticipationteam@norfolk.gov.uk.

When you make a complaint we will let you know that we have received your complaint and let you know who is dealing with it. We will look at your complaint and what you would like to happen and send you a reply, this will happen within 10 working days (working days are Monday to Friday, not bank holidays) unless it is very complicated and then we will let you know how long it will take.

We will make sure that you know that you are able to have an advocate to help you do this and we will help you get one if this is what you want. If you are not happy with our reply you can ask us to look at it again. The complaints team and / or your advocate will explain to you what happens next.

If you have any questions about this promise please contact your social worker or the Norfolk in Care Council csparticipationteam@norfolk.gov.uk or text 07920723773.

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