When you go into care, you are likely to have lots of questions. We've answered some of the questions young people often ask about social workers.
How often will I see my social worker?
At least once a month until you settle into a long-term placement. You will see them more often when you first come into care. Speak to your social worker and ask them, so you know exactly when they are visiting.
What happens if my social worker is ill?
If your social worker is taken ill suddenly, then the team manager will let you, your carer or your residential worker know. The team manager will let you know who to contact until your social worker returns.
If your social worker is off long-term sick, then the team manager will usually ask a different social worker to take over your case until they are back in work. The team manager will let you know who the new worker is and when they will visit you.
If the change is due to something your social worker knows will be happening, like a planned operation or maternity leave, they should meet you and let you know:
- How long they will be away
- Who to contact
- Who will be taking over supporting you until they come back to work
If you have any questions about this, you can always talk to your social worker's manager.
What will happen if my social worker leaves?
They say goodbye to you and introduce you to your new social worker before they leave. If that cannot happen, the team manager will give you, your carer or your residential worker information about your new social worker before you meet them.
Will I still be able to do the things I enjoy?
Your carers and social worker will support you to continue enjoying your hobbies and there should be no reason for you to miss out on doing activities. If there is something you do that you would like to continue, let your foster carer or social worker know. This includes staying in touch with friends that are important to you – we will always try to make this happen where it is safe to do so. Your independent reviewing officer (IRO) will also ask you about this so that it can be included in your care plan. The Norfolk Directory has a range of activities if you would like to try something new.
Do I have a say in what I want to happen? What should I do if I feel like I am not able to have a say?
Yes you do – you have the right to know what is going on and why. Social workers and foster carers must make sure they explain to you why something is happening or why it can’t happen. We always recommend you ask for a Coram Voice advocate. They can speak to other adults on your behalf and represent your point of view at meetings. They are independent of your social worker and anyone else who is working with you. They can also help if you need to make a complaint.
Can I see who I want to?
You should be supported to spend time with your friends and family. This contact may be less or with someone else there if we are worried about keeping you safe or if we are concerned that family time might be difficult for you.
Will I stay with my brother(s)/sister(s)?
Foster care placements will try and place children together if possible, but a suitable placement cannot always be found. If this happens, we will make sure you get to see your brothers and sisters as often as possible.
What should I do if I am unsure what is happening or why I am here?
Make sure your social worker knows if you are worried or unhappy about anything as they are there to represent your best interests. We always recommend you ask for a Coram Voice advocate. They can speak to other adults on your behalf and represent your point of view at meetings. Read more about the role of an advocate.
Do I have to move school?
This can be different for each child or young person. For example, you might move school if where you live now is far from your current school or if a different school has the extra skills you need to support you. But if you live close enough to the school and it is meeting you needs, then in most cases you will continue to go to the same school. If you disagree with this or any decision, then you can speak to an advocate who will help you challenge the decision.