It is not always easy to understand some words that people use when they talk to you whilst you are being 'looked after'. An explanation of these can help you to understand what they mean a lot more clearly.
Here is a list of the most common words and phrases that may be used while you are in looked after care, and what they actually mean:
This is another word for being looked after by Social Care.
An advocate is a person who can support what you have to say. For example, if you want an adult to be with you when you make a complaint and talk on your behalf.
This is when you leave either the residential or foster home and move to a place of your own. There is an aftercare worker who will help you with this and they are called personal advisers.
This is the money you are allowed. You will get pocket money every week, plus a certain amount on your birthday, at Christmas and for other religious festivals.
Social Care will collect information about you and your family circumstances and write in a report who they feel should care for you. Other professionals such as school teachers may also add information and you can tell your social worker if you wish to have your views included in the report.
This is a legal order made by the court that gives Social Care permission to look after you.
A care plan is a written document that says how and where you are going to live and be looked after. If you have any special needs such as for health reasons or have a special diet, this will all be recorded on your care plan. Your care plan may also include details of any clubs you are part of or other activities that you like to do on a regular basis, as well as detailing which school you go to and details of contact with family, relatives and friends.
The children's rights service can help make sure that you have the rights that you deserve and can act as an Advocate if you want them to.
In some court proceedings relating to children the court appoints a children's guardian. The children's guardian will appoint a solicitor who will represent you in court.
Social Care have a legal duty to have a procedure to deal with complaints. If you are unhappy about your treatment by Social Care or you feel that they have not done what they should have, then you have the right to make a complaint and to have it investigated. You should have been given a leaflet on making a complaint, if not ask your social worker for one.
A complaints officer works for the complaints department at Social Care. They are the people who will contact you if you make a complaint to Social Care.
This is the word used to describe when and how you see your family and relatives.
This is a social worker who is available to speak to when your social worker is out of the office or on holiday.
These are social workers who are available to talk to, out of office hours, for emergency situations.
This is when you are 'looked after' within a family situation by foster carers.
This is when you are cared for by Social Care (see 'looked after').
This is someone who is not part of Social Care who you can talk to about things.
This is member of staff in a children's home who has special responsibility for your care.
This means that Social Care helps out with looking after and caring for you, this can be alongside or instead of your parents.
This is a plan of your education whilst you are looked after by Social Care, this is a very important document, which helps you to achieve your goals.
This is a person from the Council who visits each residential home every month to make sure that everything is okay for both the young people and the staff there. They talk to staff and young people, make notes and then write a report that goes to the manager of the residential home. This is to make sure that you are being well cared for.
Every young person will have a review from time to time. This is where your social worker and other professionals will talk to you and your family and see if anything has changed since they first assessed you or wrote your care plan. If things have changed then new agreements may be made. You will be fully involved in the review and it is important that you have your say.
This person is employed by Social Care, each young person will have a named social worker who will be responsible for their care.