When you are in care there are lots of people that you are likely to come into contact with. It can be a bit confusing, so here are some details to help you understand what everyone does and who they all are.
You will have a Social Worker who will visit you to make sure you're doing ok and are safe. They will:
- visit you within the first week of moving to your new home. They will carry on visiting you on a regular basis for as long as you stay there
- visit you more often if you're having difficulties or you ask them to
- talk to you on your own
- talk with you about how you're feeling about your family, carers, school or anything else. If you are unhappy about where you live you need to tell your social worker why
Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO)
This person will arrange the Care Review Meetings where everyone talks about the plans that have been made to make sure you're ok. They will:
- write to you asking you to say what you think and what you want to talk about at the meeting
- make sure the plans made are right for you
- make sure that you are able to say how you feel and whether you are happy about the way you are cared for
Personal Advisor (PA)
When you turn 16, your Social Worker will introduce you to your PA, sometimes known as an Aftercare Worker. Your PA can get to know you during this time, so they are ready to take over reasonability for supporting you when you are 18.
Your PA will help you get ready to be more independent for when you leave care aged 18. They can support you until you are 21, or 25 if you are in education, employment or training. Some of the things they may help with include:
- training and employment opportunities
- developing your independence skills
- finding somewhere suitable to live
- managing your own finances and claiming benefits
If you want to find out more about the support available for care leavers, ask your social worker or PA about the local offer for care leavers.