Being looked after can be difficult. Different people will provide help and support throughout your time being looked after in the care system.
Your social worker will make plans with you, so that you have all the things that you need while you are being looked after. They will visit you at least every six weeks and, if you are looked after for more than twelve months, then your social worker will visit you at least every three months to make sure that you are getting on okay. You can talk to them about anything – if you’re having problems, are worried about something, or if you just fancy a chat! – and discuss the plans that are being made for you.
Your social worker will also work with you and your family to try to make it possible for you to go home when the time is right. They want you to be safe and happy wherever you are living.
Most looked after children and young people live with a foster carer. They will help you settle into the family and make sure that you are happy and safe. Foster carers will also help you to keep in touch with your own family and friends.
There is no typical foster carer – they come in all different shapes and sizes, may be married, single, black or white. They may even have children of their own. We will do our best to find a carer who you can fit in with easily and all our foster carers have been checked out to make sure that you will be safe and happy with them.
Designated teachers for looked-after children
At your school, there will be a special teacher for looked after children. You can talk to them or another teacher you like or trust if you have any problems or worries and they will help sort them out or arrange for extra help and support for you.
Virtual School for Looked-After Children
This is a team of teachers who support the education of looked-after children and can help you to achieve the targets set in your Personal Education Plan.
You can contact the Virtual School by email virtualschool.LAC@oxfordshire.gov.uk or letter at The Virtual School for Looked After Children, Harlow Centre, Raymund Road, Old Marston, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX3 0SW.
There are Advisors who provide information, advice and guidance for young people on learning, careers, and choices, as well as health, relationships, money and lots more. Advisers are based in schools, colleges. They can also refer you to specialist support if it is needed.
Comments and Complaints Service
The Comments and Complaints Service at Oxfordshire County Council deal with both comments and complaints about social care services for young people. If you feel that you are being neglected, or something is wrong with your care, then the Comments and Complaints Service can help.
The ATTACH Team
This is a team of professionals trained in clinical psychology and social work. They support children and young people who may be having difficulties because they aren’t living with birth parents and are instead being looked after by foster carers, adoptive parents or in a children’s home, or if they are living with grandparents or other family members. They also work with young people who are leaving the care system. The team helps sort out difficult emotions you may have – perhaps you have been abused or neglected in the past which is making you unhappy and confused. They can also help you adjust to your new situation with foster carers and their family. Find out out more about them here.
Tel: 01865 897083 or Email: email@example.com
Independent visitors and advocates
During your time being looked after, you may come into contact with advocates or independent visitors.
Advocates are people who are independent of Oxfordshire County Council. They support you to ensure your views are heard, your problems are sorted out and your rights are met. They can either help you speak out or talk on your behalf.
Independent visitors will visit you if your family cannot. They are independent of your social worker and can help you sort out any problems or worries you may have, and tell us of anything you are unhappy about. You can ask your social worker for a visit by them if you wish.
Advocates and independent workers are normally volunteers – they give up their time for free to help represent the views of other people because they believe strongly in what they do and want to help others find the support they need.
Designated Nurse for Looked After Children
When you first come into care, and each year afterwards, you will be asked to have a general health assessment to make sure that you are healthy and for you to ask any questions you may have about your health. Your yearly health reviews will be carried out by a doctor, nurse or health visitor and will take the form of a discussion.
As a looked-after young person you can tell your social worker or carer if you’d like to see a specific healthcare professional, or you can contact the Designated Nurse for Looked After Children – Maggie Mackenzie – yourself. Maggie’s job is to make sure that you, your carers and your social worker have the information you need to keep you healthy.
You can call her on 01865 265015 or 07887 641 829, or you can e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can call to ask for confidential advice or leave a message and Maggie will call you back as soon as she can.
You can always ask your social worker, foster carer or anyone else you trust to accompany you to any appointments if you’d rather not go on your own.