Contact with my family

When you are looked after by Social Services, you are usually still able to see your family and they may come and visit you. How this happens will depend on your age and the reason for you coming into care.

Staying in touch is also called “contact”.  This could be visits, letters and telephone calls. Your views and wishes should be listened to when decisions are being made about contact.

We want you and your family to enjoy contact. We want it to be regular and reliable. If for some reason contact is difficult your social worker will try to help you sort this out. You can choose not to have contact but you should know your social worker has a duty to tell your parents how you are doing even if you are not seeing them. Most contact is encouraged. However, any contact that you have must be right and safe for you. If contact is seen as unsafe, a court can make a decision about who you see, how often and whether visits should be supervised. Contact may even be stopped altogether. The court’s decision is written down and called a ‘contact order’.

If you are accommodated by voluntary agreement, then visits and contact with your parents and other relatives will be worked out and agreed with you, your parents, your carers, social workers and other people who are involved.

If you are on a Care Order, the court will have also thought about how you should stay in touch with your family and friends.  Children's Social Care must make sure that you have the contact as agreed in court.  This is your right.  The court will want to know about these contact arrangements whenever it hears about your case.  Social services may sometimes feel that it would be better for you if you did not have visits or letters or calls from someone in particular - especially if they think that you are at risk from harm.

All contact arrangements are discussed at your reviews and are one of the things included in your care plan.  It is important that you let someone know what you want, how contact is going or if anything is upsetting you about contact, so the right arrangements can be made.