My name is Lynn Wilkinson and I want to welcome you to Pilgrims Corner Fostering. It’s my responsibility to make sure you are well cared for during your stay with us. We are a small company situated by the coast. Owned by Directors Lyn Norman and Sarah Curry (who have been Foster Carers) the agency provides high quality care for children and young people.
We at Pilgrims Corner have been asked to find you a placement however we all know how hard it might be for you to come to a strange place and to meet new people for the first time. So, we have made this ‘Children’s Guide’ for you to help you settle in and tell you about things.
- Foster Carers
- What to expect
- What should and should not happen to you
- Your Rights
- Social Workers
- Supervising Social Workers
- Care Plans
- Placement Agreements
- Contact - this means keeping in Contact with your family
- Care Plans
- How Long Will You have to stay?
- What about school?
- Your Health
- What To Do If You Have A Problem
- Pilgrims Corner Fostering Introduction to the Statement Of Purpose
- Contact page
- All about me
- If this is the first time you have lived with Foster Carers, you may have lots of questions. Even if you have lived in a foster home before, you may still have some questions. We hope that this book will answer some, if not all of your questions.
This book contains a lot of serious and important information. You might want to take a break every now and then and so we have included a Word Search at the back for you.
You might want to read this book on your own or you could ask an adult like your Foster Carer to go through it with you. If you do not understand anything, talk to your Foster Carer. They will help you and explain things to you.
Fostering is a way of looking after children and young people, who, like you, cannot live at home or with another member of their family. When you are being cared for in this way it is often called being “looked after”.
The legal term for being “looked after” is “in care”. If you have been told you are “in care” this means that your Local Authority has been to Court and a Care Order would have been made for you which includes the decision that you cannot live at home. The Local Authority is then responsible for looking after you. They feel that the best way of looking after you at the moment is for you to live with Foster Carers. There are different types of Care Orders but more about these can be found later in this book.
It may be that your mum and dad found it difficult caring for you. Being a parent is not easy and sometimes grown-ups need help to do this. Sometimes young people live with Foster Carers because their parents become ill and they need time to get better again. Another time when young people need looking after is when they arrive in Britain from other countries without their families and so need another family to look after them.
It is important to know that young people live with Foster Carers for all different reasons. It is not because you have done anything wrong.
Foster Carers are special people who have been carefully chosen to look after children and young people. All our Foster Carers have had training before they look after any foster child, regardless of age. They then have to keep on training so they can provide the best possible care they can. They are also ‘checked out’ to make sure they can offer you a safe place to live.
All foster families are different but they all understand how upsetting it can be for you to be living away from your own family.
Some Foster Carers are single, while others may be married or have a partner. Some have their own children, teenagers or grown up children still living at home.
Some Foster Carers have pets also.
They may already be looking after other children and young people who cannot live at home with their own families.
Therefore, you could be living with other young people who are in the same situation as you are.
The most important thing to remember is that they will treat you as one of the family.
What to Expect
Many young people find that living with a foster family for a while can be a good thing even if they didn’t want to go in the first place. Sometimes it helps to sort out or work through a problem in your own family so you can live together again.
Everyone understands how important it is to have your own ‘stuff’ – this is called” belongings”. You will be given a place where you can put all your belongings. If you have forgotten anything from your home your Social Worker will try and get this for you.
You may worry about what to tell people at school as to why you are living with Foster Carers. Some young people like to be ‘up front’ about this while others like to keep it to themselves. The choice is yours but it is a good idea to think about this first so you know what to say. You can talk to your Foster Carers and Social Worker about this. Remember, your friends will like you for who you are and not who you are living with.
Pocket Money, Clothing & Other Things!
All children and young people who live with Foster Carers get Pocket Money. The amount you will be given will depend on your age – the older you get the more you get!
Your Foster Carers will give you your Pocket Money every week. You will be able to spend this on something of your choice.
You will also be encouraged to save some money for something special.
Clothes and Clothing Allowance
When you start to be looked after you should be able to bring clothes from your home. If you are being looked after for a short time you may have enough clothes to wear during your stay.
However, if you are staying for longer, your Foster Carers receive an allowance from which they can buy you clothes.
Like Pocket Money, the amount of Clothing Allowance depends on how old you are. The Clothing Allowance includes all sorts of things such as, underwear, every-day clothes, best clothes, shoes, school clothes and equipment etc.,
Your Foster Carers must make sure that your clothes are washed and in good condition. As you get older you will be encouraged to help with washing and caring for your own clothes. This will help you to learn to look after yourself. Your Foster Carers will also sometimes give you a chance to buy your own clothes. Of course you will have a budget (set amount that you can spend) for this and be given practical advice, such as not to buy sandals when you really need winter school shoes!! It is all about helping you to learn how to make choices when you only have a certain amount of money to spend.
Your Foster Carer also receives a weekly allowance to cover things such as toiletries, sports and hobbies – for example: swimming, scouts, theatre workshops.
Therefore you won’t have to give up doing the things you like to do.
A list of clubs and activities happening in your area will be given to you by your Foster Carers.
What should and should not happen to you
When you arrive, your Foster Carers will want to get to know you as soon as possible and make you feel at home. They will want to know about what food you like to eat, your favourite games, hobbies – even what your favourite television programme is.
Your Foster Carer will explain how their family like to do things as often this may be a little different from your own family.
To help you with this there are some pages at the back of this book for you to fill in with your Foster Carers. They are:
1. All about Me (that’s you!)
2. Things You Might Need To Know
3. Important Things To Know
There are certain ways you should be treated. These are called your ‘Rights’.
- You have the Right to be safe, secure and protected from harm.
- You have the Right for grown ups to listen to you and treat you equally and fairly
- You have the Right to be helped to express how you feel and what you want
- You have the Right to be offered Education, Health Care, play and leisure activities
- You have the Right to know why you live in a foster home and when you will next see your family
- If you have a disability you have the Right to any help you need with it.
If you feel anyone is taking any of these Rights away from you speak up – don’t be shy or frightened. Nobody has the right to deny you these things.
Rules for you
Living with a foster family can be difficult sometimes as they may do things different from your own family or other Foster Carers you may have lived with. Although they will want you to feel at home, it is important for you to respect the way they do things.
Foster Carers have rules for everyone who lives in their home. Your Social Worker and Foster Carer will explain the main rules when you arrive. The rules should be fair and they are about keeping everyone safe.
So that your Foster Carers can keep you safe remember to:
- Talk with your Foster Carers if you are not happy about something
- Always ask your Foster Carers if you are allowed to go somewhere before you go and then agree the time you are expected home
- Do not talk to or go off with strangers
- Be kind to your Foster Carers and other people living in your foster home (this also includes any pets or animals)
- Ask if you want to borrow something
- Take care of your belongings – clothes, toys, books, games
- Ask when you can invite friends to visit or stay over
- Always wear your seat belt in the car
Your Foster Carer will tell you what will happen if you break a rule. For example, not being allowed to watch TV.
Rules for your Foster Carers
It is important you to know that there are also rules for your Foster Carers.
Foster Carers are not allowed to:
- Hit you (this is called physical punishment) or harm you in any way
- Call you names
- Make you feel bad about yourself
- Stop you from keeping in touch with your family or other people important to you
- Stop you speaking with or seeing your Social Worker
- Stop you having meals
- Lock you in your bedroom or any other room
- Stop you from having any medical or dental treatment
- Keep your belongings or presents that may have been bought for you (providing they are not dangerous or harmful)
- Stop you taking your belongings with you to a new placement or if you go home
- Bully you by calling you names or making fun of you
- Search your clothes – (you should not be asked to take your clothes off for them to be searched)
- Force you to join in their religion or make you attend any religious services they may go to.
Your Foster Carers want you to be happy. For example:
- They will encourage you to talk about your feelings, worries and concerns
- They will help you go to school and help you with any homework
- They will help you to be healthy and fit
- They will have somewhere to keep your things (your belongings)
- They will help you to see your family and friends and other important people in your life
- Help you to follow your religion – if you have one. For example, they will find the nearest Church, Synagogue or Mosque so that you will be able to attend. If your religion says that you have to eat certain foods your Foster Carer will arrange this
- They will give you Pocket Money
- They will provide you with clothes
- They will take you on outings and encourage you to carry on with your hobbies and activities, for example : comics and puzzle books, football sticker books, swimming.
- Help you to develop your talents, interests and skills
A Social Worker is a trained professional person who likes working with children and young people.
Your Social Worker will have helped to arrange this foster placement for you. It is their job to:
- Make plans for your care and to make sure that you are looked after properly
- Help you to be involved in all the plans that are being made for you. This includes talking to you about how you feel and what you want to see happening in your future. You may not be able to do everything you want, but your feelings and wishes will be taken into account
- Explain to you about all the decisions that are made about your life
- Make plans which aim to get you home to your family as soon as possible and where it is safe for you. If you have to stay in care for a long time, find you a permanent family to live with
- Visit you and help sort out any difficulties or problems you may be having
All young people have their own Social Worker who works for the Local Authority who brought you into Foster Care. The Local Authority has the responsibility to make sure that you are being looked after well and that you are happy. You will often hear them called the “Responsible Authority”.
You should think of your Social Worker who is someone who is here to help you.
Your Social Worker will visit you in your Foster Home and get to know you. Sometimes they will see you on their own. Sometimes they may see you with your Foster Carers. Sometimes they may take you out so you can have a longer talk with them.
During your first year of placement your Social Worker should visit you at least every six weeks. Sometimes they may visit you more often but this will depend on how much help you need. Once you have been in placement for a year you should get a visit at least every three months. Again if you need more support your Social Worker may visit more often.
Your Social Worker cares about you so you can talk to them about how you feel. If you have any worries or problems they will help to sort them out. If they can’t help they will try and find someone else for you to talk to such as a Counsellor or a Therapist.
Your Social Worker will need to tell your Foster Carers the important things about you and your family. Your Foster Carers must keep this information safe.
If you want to see or speak with your Social Worker speak to your Foster Carer. Your Foster Carer will phone your Social Worker for you. Your Social Worker will need to know if you have any problems so they will know if they have to make an urgent visit to you or plan a visit in a short while. We will write your Social Workers name and telephone number down for you at the end of this book.
Supervising Social Workers
All Foster Carers have a worker from this Agency who visits them and makes sure you are being looked after well. This person is called a “Supervising Social Worker”.
The name of your Foster Carer’s Worker is;
All Supervising Social Workers have had special training and they are also Social Workers. However, they don’t replace your own Social Worker, but are there for you as well as your Social Worker. The Supervising Social Worker will regularly see your Foster Carer. They will also talk to your Social Worker. They will see you from time to time as well. This is another person you can talk to if you have any worries or problems. Their telephone number is at the back of this book.
Your Social Worker and your Foster Carer’s Supervising Social Worker may sometimes visit you together to make sure everything is all right. If anything is not right they will sort it out. They want you to be happy.
Every year the Supervising Social Worker will arrange a meeting to discuss the work your Foster Carer has done in the last year. This is called a “Foster Carers Review of Approval”. You will be asked for your comments on this.
All young people who are in care have their own special plan. This is called a ‘Care Plan’. It is information written down about you which will help us to look after you It is about everything that is important to you such as what it is hoped to be achieved whilst you are being looked after and what needs to be done to help you. For example:
- Which members of your family or friends you will have Contact with and how often you will see them
- Your school (including any problems you may have and how they will be sorted out)
- Keeping well and healthy (such as making sure that you have a doctor and that you see the dentist regularly)
It is also about things you want to do – such as how to make sure you can carry on doing the sports or hobbies that you like. If there is something that you want, but it can’t be arranged you will be told why not.
Your Social Worker will write your Care Plan. They should talk to you and your parents about what is to be written and to get your views. They will then explain your Care Plan to you. If you agree with your Plans you will be asked to sign a form. If there is anything in your Care Plan that you do not like, tell your Social Worker – they may be able to change it.
Your Social Worker will keep your Care Plan and everything else that is written about you on a file. You can ask your Social Worker to see your file.
You and your Foster Carers will also have a copy of your Care Plan.
As well as your Care Plan a Placement Agreement will be written. This is about what will happen on a day-to-day basis where you live. For example :
- Your living arrangements, including who you will be allowed or not allowed to see, how much pocket money you will get, what time you have to be in
- Getting to school
- Your Health
- Any travel arrangements
Your Social Worker will write the Agreement with help from your Foster Carers. Your parents should also be involved in writing your Placement Agreement. If you are old enough and can understand what is happening, you will be involved also.
There will be regular meetings to check out how you are doing.
These are called Review Meetings.
Review Meetings are to find out:
- How things are going on in your life
- If there needs to be changes in how you are looked after
- What needs to be changed in your Care Plan
People such as your parents, Foster Carers or teacher will be invited to go to this meeting.
You will also be invited to go to this meeting and have your say.
If you don’t want to go to this meeting this is OK. You can ask to speak with the Reviewing Officer on your own or you can tell your Social Worker or Foster Carer what you would like to say.
Just because you live in a foster home, it doesn’t mean that you have to lose touch with your family and friends. Everyone knows how important your family is to you.
How often you see them and where you see them will depend on the reason you are being looked after.
Everyone knows that it is important for you to keep in touch with your family and friends. Grown ups call this keeping in touch -“Contact”.
Sometimes it is possible for you to speak with your family on the telephone .This is called “Telephone Contact”
And sometimes you may get and send letters. This is called “Letter Box Contact”.
How long will I have to stay?
Some families have problems which stop them from looking after their children.
This can be very upsetting and hard to understand. Some young people stay with Foster Carers for a short time. Sometimes this is longer because a lot of changes need to happen at home before you can go back to live there. You will be welcomed in a foster home for as long as you need.
Everyone will want you to go home to your family as soon as possible, but only if it is safe. Talk with your Social Worker and Foster Carers about this.
There are many young people going through the same thing as you. If you ever feel scared about what will happen to you in the future, tell your Social Worker and Foster Carer. They will do everything they can to help.
What about school?
The Law says that every child and young person between the ages of 5 and 18 should receive education appropriate to their age, ability and aptitude. However, you can choose to ‘stay-on’ at school until you are 19 years old. You can also go on to study at a University or Further Education College.
Your education is important therefore you will be expected to go to school. Sometimes, because you are living too far away from your old school, you may have to change schools. Please try not to worry about this. Your Social Worker and Foster Carer will help you with this.
When you go to school your Foster Carer will buy all the things you need such as; school uniform, books, pens and pencils. Your Foster Carer will take you to school. Depending on how old you are you may be able to make your own way to school or get a bus.
If your first language is not English, but you would like to continue to learn the language which is spoken by your family, then you should talk to your Social Worker about trying to find someone outside of school who can teach you.
When your school holds ‘Open Evenings’ or other events for parents to go to, your Foster Carers should attend. If it is possible for your parents to attend then arrangements should be made.
All young people that are being looked after will have to have a Personal Education Plan. This is often called a “PEP”. PEP is a record of how you are getting on in school and helps you and your teacher to set targets for you. This is to make sure you get a good education.
Having a PEP means that teachers and Social Workers can help you deal with the changes that are happening around you during your time in care.
Whilst you are being looked after it is important to make sure that you are fit and healthy. It may be that you have missed out seeing the Doctor, Dentist or the school nurse.
When you come into care you will have a “Health Assessment”.
This is nothing to worry about. A doctor will meet you; measure your height, weight and heart rate. This is to make sure that you are healthy and that you get all the medication or treatment that you may need.
You will have a Health Assessment every year. There is no need to be scared about this. This won’t hurt and it will not take long. It is a good chance to ask the doctor any questions you may have about your health.
You will also be helped to see the dentist regularly and have your eyes tested.
Remember …. everyone just wants to make sure you are fit and well.
What if you have a problem?
If you have a problem or are in any way unhappy with the care or services you are receiving you must tell someone. You have the right to be listened to and taken seriously.
This person could be your Social Worker, your Foster Carers’ Supervising Social Worker, the Complaints Manager Sarah Curry at Pilgrims Corner or maybe a teacher. There are contact details near the end of this booklet.
You can speak to your IRO or in some circumstances request a Case Review.
There are contact details near the end of this booklet.
Rest assured that if you complain about anything, we will take your complaint seriously. Any complaint should be brought to the attention of the agency at the earliest opportunity however, if it is of the more serious nature specifically such as assault or abuse, then tells us AT ONCE. In this way we can assure the safety of all involved. If you are in any doubts regarding the level of your complaint then inform us immediately.
No person involved with the complaint will be involved in any investigation.
Pilgrims Corner Fostering Statement of Purpose
The primary aim of Pilgrims Corner Fostering is to provide stability and continuity for children and young people. By considering the needs of each individual prior to being placed and throughout their stay with one of our families we experience minimal disruption and enhanced stability.
We aim to ensure the voices of children and young people are heard enabling them to make choices and contribute to their care plan. In addition we consult with young people and encourage them to comment and make observations about the care they receive from us. This feedback allows us to create a high quality service. We involve young people from the onset of their placement by creating safe caring plans and risk assessments together, progressing through various consultations to pathway plans and preparation for grown up life.
Pilgrims Corner Fostering aims to provide the highest quality care ensuring the needs of all of our children and young people are fully met. To achieve this we only recruit Foster Carers with caring qualities, resilience and a high level of motivation. In addition we provide our Foster Carers with a tailored and progressive training programme delivered by experts in the field of child care.
If you or a member of your family wishes to read the full Statement of Purpose they can find it on our web site www.pilgrimscorner.co.uk or you can ask your Foster Carer or their Supervising Social Worker to get you one.
If you are unhappy with your care or the services you are receiving you can contact any of the following:
Your Social Worker
Your Independent Reviewing Officer
Ofsted: 0300 123 1231
You can contact anyone in the Fostering Team Pilgrims Corner
Tel: 01227 283696
Voice: 0808 800 5792
Child Line: 0800 1111
NSPCC: 0808 800 5000
Office of Children’s Rights: 0800 528 0731
All about me
I like to be called:
I like to eat:
I don’t like to eat:
I like to wear:
My favourite TV programme is:
In my spare time I like to:
(Attend clubs etc.)
What else do we need to know about you?
Things you might need to know
Important things you might need to know
Name of my Foster Carers
Other people in the house
When will I see my family?
|The name of my new school is|
|The date I will start school is|
|The name of my Doctor|
|The name of my Dentist|