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 also have pets .
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 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.
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 (these are people you don’t know)
- 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
- 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)
Your Foster Carers want you to be happy. For example:
- 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
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.
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;
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.
All young people who are in care have their own special plan. This is called a ‘Care Plan’. Your Social Worker will explain your Care Plan to you.
It’s about everything that is important to you such as when you will see your family, your school and your health.
It’s about things you want to like carrying on going to clubs etc.
If there is anything in your Care Plan that you are unhappy with, tell your Social Worker they may be able to change it.
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|