Living in foster care FAQs

When you go into care, you are likely to have lots of questions. We've answered the questions foster carers most frequently get asked.

Are there other children in the foster care placement?

Sometimes there are other foster children living with the carer. Sometimes the foster carer may have birth children living at home. Your social worker will explain this to you before you go to the foster carer's house.

Most carers write a short introduction for you. This will include information about other young people living in the home and their names. The foster carer will also tell you about their interests, information about pets, their house and the area where they live. They will often include some pictures. Many carers also include information about other family members that visit the house, or family you may meet whilst you are living with them.

What should I do if there is something I need or want but I don't have it? (toiletries/teddy etc)

If there is something you have forgotten to bring with you, make sure you tell someone. This can be anyone who looks after you such as your foster carer, residential workersocial workeradvocateindependent visitor or IRO. They will try their best to find it for you. If it's something like toiletries, these can be provided at your new place. If it's something like a favourite teddy, make sure you tell someone as soon as possible so that we can try and get hold of it for you.

When you reach 16, you'll be provided with an allowance depending on your circumstances to cover the costs of toiletries and other essential items. This is so we can support you to gain more independence.

How much pocket money will I get?

All children and young people will get pocket money, but how much depends on your age. You can find more information about this by asking your social worker or by reading our information on pocket money. Many carers will offer opportunities to earn extra money by doing jobs around the house and they will speak to you about this once you have settled in.

How much free time will I have with my friends?

We always try and make sure that you get to spend time with your friends. We want being in care to feel as natural as possible. Having friends and socialising is an important part of this.

Like in any family, the time you can spend with your friends will vary. It can depend on how far away your friends live, if you can agree a time to be home by and if your carer feels you will be safe. If you want to spend more time with friends, your social worker can help you explain this to your foster carer. You can then come to a compromise you are both happy with.

What are the mobile phone rules? How will I get phone credit?

If you have your phone and it is safe for you to use, then this will continue. There may be some house rules around using the phone, but your foster carer/residential worker will speak to you about this. Their rules will depend on different things. For example, would having a phone put you at risk of not being safe. This could be because you might access websites that are not suitable. Or you could possibly receive phone calls from people that may upset you.

The foster carer will make sure you have their contact details, like their mobile phone and house phone number so that you can contact them whilst you are out if you need to.

It is important that you speak to your social worker about how you can get phone credit or pay your phone contract so that this can be agreed with your carer and written in any plans made with you. It could be that you agree to do jobs around the house, in return for a set amount of phone credit every month.

In the same way as every family is different, so is every foster carer. It is best to have this conversation with your social worker and foster carer, and come to an agreement.

What are the internet rules? Can I have access to the internet?

Young people absolutely can have access to the internet, but this will need to be managed safely. We might do this by:

  • Limiting this to only things that are age-appropriate
  • Carers doing safety checks every so often
  • If it is a laptop provided by Norfolk County Council or the school, then e-safety alerts will be sent to your social worker and their manager if anything is accessed which is of a worry. The e-safety alerts will be explained to you when you get a laptop.

Sometimes, access to the internet is temporarily disallowed but this isn't permanent and it is usually to keep you safe rather than a punishment. If you have any questions about having access to the internet, speak to your social worker, foster carer, or your independent reviewing officer (IRO).