Me and my social worker

In the beginning...

When you first come into care, social workers usually have to find somewhere for you to live at very short notice.

This means you will be placed in a foster care placement or in a children's home while better, more permanent plans are made. Your social worker will talk to you about where you would most like to live. Social services try as hard as they can to make sure you can stay in St Helens, because it means that there will be fewer changes in your life. Occasionally the support you need cannot be found in St Helens and you may have to move away. Talk to your social worker if you are worried about any of this and they will explain things to you.

Your social worker will be your main contact in social services

This person is trained to help young people and their families and should take time to get to know you. When you start to be looked after your social worker must come and meet you within the first seven days.

You should then meet up with your social worker regularly and he or she should talk to you on your own about how things are going. Your social worker will also be in touch with your family.

Your social worker is responsible for making sure you are looked after properly and can help you sort out any difficulties you are having.

When your social worker has got to know you he or she will write down what difficulties there are in your family and what social services can do to help.

This is called a care plan. A care plan should include details about:

- Where you will live
- Who will look after you
- Your health and education plan
- When and how you will see your family
- What the plan is for you

If you have other needs such as health, diet or help speaking English this should also be included in your care plan. You will be shown your plan and will have a chance to say if there is anything you do not agree with. Once you have agreed the plan your social worker is responsible for making sure you get the care that has been agreed. You can call your social worker at any time, but may not always be able to get hold of him or her straight away.

All social workers work in teams and there is always someone in the team who is responsible for making sure that messages are taken and urgent problems are dealt with. This person is called a duty social worker. You can contact them if your social worker is not available.