The people who work in (or for) children’s social care
On this page, we’ve tried to include all the key roles of people who may be involved in looking after your needs and welfare while you’re in care. Not all of these may be involved in your case but they’re all working hard for you, or others like you but with different needs.
You will have a social worker who will make a plan with you until you’re grown up. This is to make sure you have a safe and settled future.
Your social worker is there to listen to what you have to say and they will help you be a part of making decisions about where you live. They will explain why, when and how things will happen. They will visit you to make sure you’re doing ok and the plan we put in place is helping you.
A Personal Advisor provides advice and support to you from the age of 15 ½ into adulthood (up to 25 if still in education or 21 if not). Your PA prepares your Pathway Plan (which take over from your Care Plan when you’re 18) and makes sure that your voice is heard and your views are considered at every review. Your PA keeps in regular contact with you and works with you to help you reach your full potential. They’ll help you find appropriate accommodation, employment, education or training and to learn life skills such as cleaning, cooking, shopping and budgeting. Your PA is always on hand to offer advocacy, negotiation and will work with other agencies and colleagues to ensure your needs are met.
This is somebody whose job it is to make sure you’re part of decisions being made for you and that you have a say about what is going on for you. An advocate can help you with meetings, make a complaint for you or just sort out something out that’s important to you. They can also help you make sure your feelings and wishes are heard at meetings; they will listen to you and they will help you talk to people and make sure you feel safe when you do.
This is someone at school who has the job of making sure that children looked after in the school are doing okay and that they are getting on well. If you are looked after and you’re not sure who the designated teacher is at your school then you could ask your form tutor or get in touch with the ‘Virtual School’.
Foster carers are members of the public who choose to look after children who are not their own. They are trained professionals and get paid to do this, and they are self-employed. Foster carers come from all different backgrounds and are different ages with different levels of experience. Social workers try to match children with a carer who they think they’d get along with.
If you don’t see your family very often, then you can have someone called an independent visitor to come and see you. They will be there for you to talk to about things, they might take you out to places and give you help and advice. The Information for children and young people about independent visitors leaflet from NYAS will tell you more.
IRO – Independent Reviewing Officer
Your IRO manages your Care Plan or Pathway Plan and chairs your Reviews. This is the person who checks to see your social worker is doing what he/she said they were going to do, who can ask for changes to be made to your plan and who will try to make sure that you know what is happening. If you do not know who your IRO is, you should ask your key worker, foster carer or social worker.
Every child or young person who lives in a residential unit has a key worker and it’s the key worker’s job to make sure that the care plan is being followed and that you’re happy and settled where you’re living.
The specialist nurses are part of a health team who organise health assessments for children and young people. They can also offer support and advice about your health.