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To Sam

What to do when locked out of care home


me and my friend are both in care and today we came back from college and there's noone home. They're meant to be here from four and today they just haven't turned up. We have nowhere else to go, this is our home and we're really cold. We have no way of contacting anyone, the only way I can get hold of them is if I call my mum who lives hours away and get her to contact them but I've been shouted at last time this happened when I did that. it's been three hours and we're at a lost end because it's winter and we need food. They potentially won't get here until ten when shifts change and we just don't know what to do. I had an argument with a staff member this morning so I think she's just not turning up because she does things like that when she's cross with me but my friend is locked out too who hasn't annoyed anyone and he hasn't eaten in almost six hours. We have no money outside of the house to buy food or get a bus to somewhere warm. Is there someone outside the carehome we can contact about this? Is this against against our rights as care users?


Ask Sam


Hi there,

Being locked out of where you live can be a scary experience and it might also mean you’re not safe so it’s important to get help as soon as you can. You have the right to be safe and warm –  if you feel like your carers aren’t keeping you safe then you have a right to tell someone.

Being in care means you live away from home and someone other than your parents looks after you. You might live with another family member, foster carers or in a residential home. Wherever you live you should have access to food, water and shelter and these things shouldn’t be taken away from you as punishment. No matter where you live there will be rules, and there might be arguments, but you shouldn’t be put in a situation where you could be unsafe because there's a problem between you and your carer.

It can help to remember that there could be another reason that someone who is looking after you hasn’t been able to let you in. For example, they could be delayed and unable to contact you to let you know. If that’s not the case, you might need more support if you don’t feel safe or there are problems with the relationship with your carers.

If you’re unhappy with your care the first step is always to speak to your social worker. Remember, you can ask a counsellor at Childline to help you to call them if you’re not able to. If things aren’t getting better or you don’t feel listened to you can contact and ask for an Always Heard advocate to speak to services for you.

To help keep you safe, try to keep your phone charged, have some credit to make a call to an adult you trust and keep emergency bus fare and a snack in your bag or pocket.

I’m glad you wrote this letter to me, thanks for getting in touch. And remember that if you ever want to talk to someone, counsellors at Childline are here to support you at any time.

Take care.


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