If you're in care, being in touch with your family and friends is called ‘family time’.
When you go to live with a foster family, or in a children’s home, it’s important that you still have some contact with your family. Your social worker will make sure this happens.
Your care plan will say what family time you should have, and we’ll look at this again at every review. If the Family Court is involved, it may decide what family time you have.
What you think and feel about seeing your family is important in what’s decided. We will also have to think about what’s going on with your family when we talk about who you see, when, where, and how often.
If you have brothers or sisters and they’re not at the same placement or not in care, we will make sure that you see them regularly.
Sometimes, the Family Court decides that children and young people in care shouldn’t see some members of their family. If this happens to you, your social worker will explain it to you.
If there’s someone you don’t want to see, tell your social worker. They need to know how you feel so they can make the right plans for you.
You might meet your family in a few different places. Some people go back to their family home for family time, while others meet at a children’s centre or on an outing. Brothers and sisters sometimes meet at each other’s placements.
Contact (family time) workers
Contact workers are there to help young people and their families with family time. If you have a contact worker, they’ll take you to the visit and stay with you to make sure everything goes well. They’re used to sorting out any problems, especially if you find family time upsetting.
They’ll talk to your social worker and make sure the family time plans are right for you. Of course, you can always talk to your social worker, carer or key worker about family time.
Seeing your friends
If you stay at the same school, you will still be able to see your friends there. If you move school or you have other friends you want to see from outside school, you can talk to your social worker, carer or key worker about seeing them. You might also be able to stay in touch using email, phone or text messages.
Keeping a 'life book'
You might find it useful to keep a record of your own family history so that you can remember important places, people and happenings. You can add to it as you go along. This is called a life book, and your social worker, carer or key worker can help you put it together.
You can decide what goes into your life book. People often like to use photos, and sometimes they visit places where they used to live so they can talk to their families and carers.