Staying in touch and going home
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The law says that local authorities have a duty to allow ‘reasonable’ contact between a looked after child and their parents. However, sometimes people don’t agree on what is a ‘reasonable’ amount of contact. When this happens, the court can be asked to make rules about how and when contact should occur.
Contact (being in touch) with your family will happen:
- If you want it to happen.
- If your family want it to happen.
- If it is safe.
If it is safe for you to meet with family members, a social worker will arrange regular meetings with them. These can take place in a family centre, maybe an office or sometimes at home. There will sometimes be a worker from children’s services present during contact (this is called ‘supervised contact’.)
You can also stay in touch with your family by telephone or through email, internet chat (like MSN), social networking sites (like Facebook and Twitter) via computer.
Your social worker and carers must help you to keep in regular contact with brothers and sisters who are also looked after but living in a different place from you, as long as it’s safe for you.
Plans should be made for contacting these people, but you should also be able to contact your family members without the knowledge of your carer, as long as it doesn’t go against what your care plan or care order says. Phone calls, letters and emails are private and should not be overheard or looked at by foster carers or residential workers unless you ask them to.
Your carers must never cancel planned visits or contact with your family as a punishment.