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Asker

To Sam

residential care

im 15 years old about to turn 16, I currently live in a children's residential care home. however i'm unsure of my options, but I feel as if im not getting told all the information.

I don't want to be in residential care anymore, when I turn 16 can I withdraw myself from care? because I would like to move near home as id be more comfortable closer to there, I just really need to know my rights.

thank you.

Ask Sam

Sam

Hi there

Being in care means that you don’t normally live with your parents and you might live in a care home, with foster carers or with other members of your family. You might be in care for a short amount of time but if you are in care for longer that might mean staying until your 16th birthday or older.

If you have a longer term care arrangement you’ll usually leave between the ages of 16 and 18. You don’t have to leave when you’re 16 and you can stay in care until you’re 18 or ask to stay until you’re older than 18 if you’re in foster care.

You will get support when you’re leaving care but when that happens and exactly what support you get depends on your circumstances. It can be difficult to know what your rights are but you can speak to your social worker about what to expect. Coram Voice can give you information and advice about what to do if you don’t agree with decisions being made about your future.

Wherever you are living, Children’s services should continue to support you when you reach 16 and help you prepare to leave care when you’re ready. You should have a personal adviser and a pathway plan which will set out the support you can get. This includes contact with family and friends, skills to live on your own and support with housing, education and employment. The local authority must support you until you are aged 25 as a care leaver and you should receive the support of a personal adviser until then as well.

It’s natural to want to be near family and sometimes being in care might mean needing to move away or to move placements which can be difficult when you have a lot of changes all at one time. It can help to remember that decisions about where you live are made to keep you as safe as possible. Even though you might be away from people you care about, you should always be supported to keep in contact as long as that doesn’t put you in danger.

Thank you for your letter and remember that you can talk to a counsellor at Childline about anything that’s worrying you.

Take care,

Sam

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