Coming into care
We know that coming into care can be really difficult and sometimes it’s hard to understand why.
It’s normal to find it hard to feel part of a new family and to settle into a new home. Getting to know the people that live there and understanding the house rules can often leave you feeling unsettled.
Managing your feelings about being separated from your own family and missing parents, brothers and sisters are normal feelings to experience.
It’s OK to miss your family – but it’s important that if you are feeling upset you talk to your social worker, foster carer or key worker who can give you the right support. They might not have gone through what you have but that doesn’t mean they can’t help
Talk to your social worker, foster carer or key worker and ask them to help you understand the house rules.
Ask your social worker about life story work; it’s really important and can help you to understand why you have come into care. Life story work is a record of your life in words, pictures, and photos. It is made by you with an adult and is yours to keep. It can help you to better understand the things that have happened in your past, your family and the reasons why you have come into care.
We know that it may be really important for you to continue to have a relationship with your family. When you first come into care, how often you see your family will be discussed when your care plan is agreed, and usually at each review you have.
If you are due to see your family you may have really mixed emotions. You may feel excited, nervous and anxious at the same time. You may worry about how your family are, especially if you helped look after them.
Sometimes things don’t go smoothly and for whatever reason you may not be able to see a member of your family. If this happens you may be feeling sad, disappointed and confused but your social worker, foster carer or key worker will be able to help you understand why this may be.
It is important that however you are feeling you find someone you can trust to talk to.
Talking to your carers can really help.
I was really worried about my sister; it helped me to talk to her over the telephone.
Certain times of the year can be particularly difficult; Christmas for example or Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Talking to people about how you are feeling can really help during these difficult times.
When you have a brother or sister who is adopted it can be especially hard. Everyone’s situation will be different but it may be possible to still have some contact after adoption. The most common form of contact is called ‘letterbox contact’. This is an exchange of letters, usually once or twice a year which sometimes takes place between a birth family and an adoptive family.
If this is something you want to know more about it is important that you talk to your social worker who will be able to help you understand what arrangements may be in place and why.
About the author
This piece of content was adapted from a project created by members of York Children in Care Council (‘Show Me That I Matter’).
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