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To Sam

Moving out

Im 16 and im on a child protection plan because my parents are alcoholics. I want to move out as i am sick of having to look after my parents ive got mental health issues and they are getting worse. My social workers say i need to move in with my mum but i wont cause she abusied me when i was younger. Will the council help me find a safe place?
Ask Sam


Hi there,

Thanks for your letter. No matter what else might be happening in your life, the most important thing is your wellbeing and safety. You’ve got the right to feel safe at home.

Being a young carer for your parents can bring up lots of different feelings. Sometimes it can make you feel isolated. Sometimes it can even make you angry at your parents for not being able to support themselves.

When you’re aged 16 to 18, you have the right to move out of home as long as you can move somewhere safe and supported. On a practical level, unfortunately it isn’t always possible for a young person to move out when they want to. It might be hard to do this because they can’t afford to or they haven’t got somewhere that they can go.

Social services will often put someone on a Child Protection Plan to help keep you safe and keep the family together. They’ll only ever want to take you out of your home if you’re not safe there.

Sometimes when there’s been so much history with your family it can feel like it’s impossible to ever be safe there. Social services are the main people who will help you move out if it’s not safe. It’s important to remember that what you want is a really important part of deciding what’s best for the future.

Something to bear in mind is that you don’t have to be on the streets to be considered as homeless. If you are at risk of being homeless because of something like not wanting to live with someone who abused you in the past, then you may be able to get extra help. Shelter would be a good place to start when looking into what’s available for you. You can also read more about homelessness and running away here.

One of the hardest parts of dealing with social services is that sometimes it can feel like they’re not listening to you. It can make it hard to even want to talk to them about things and mean that you don’t get to have a say at all. When you’re not feeling heard by social services it can help to speak to an advocate.

An advocate is someone completely outside of social services who is there to help make sure you’re being heard. They’re there to support you with what you want to happen. An organisation called NYAS (National Youth Advocacy Service) has more information on what an advocate is and how they can help you.

It’s important to remember that even when you’re getting support that change can take time. You deserve to feel supported even while you’re waiting for that change though. ChildLine is a safe space that you can talk about absolutely anything.

Whenever things are getting too much at home ChildLine can give you a place to let that out and to think of ways of keeping yourself safe.

Take care,


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