Whilst in care, there are different places you might live, dependent on your situation, and which will be right for you, these might include living in a residential home or with foster carers or a bit of both. After you leave care there is support for housing and a training flat to learn how to live on your own. Below we have also included information on what happens if you decided to stay in Foster Care after you turn 18.
Foster care is when you go to stay with another family because there are problems at home and other family members cannot help at that time. Foster carers are adults who have been specially checked out to make sure they can offer you a safe and comfortable place to live. All children and young people need a grown-up to look after them and a happy and safe place to live! There are many types of foster carer: some foster carers live by themselves; some live in a big household with lots of children. Read more here.
Most children in care will go to foster homes - it's the closest thing to ordinary family life. However some young people (usually if you are older than 14 years old) will go to live in a residential home (sometimes called a children's home). If you live in a residential care you will live in a house where there are other children and young people both boys and girls who are also in care. Usually the number of young people in a children's home will be small - typically less than 10. There will be workers in the house 24 hours a day and they will be there to look after you. The workers sleep over at the house and they are there for you to talk to when you feel unhappy and there is a weekly meeting for you to have your say about how the house should be run.
You will have a key worker from the house who will meet with you on your own every week to make sure you are OK. They will be there to help you with your homework, and to keep you safe. Some of these residential homes are specialist, which means that you will have some extra support from the workers. If you have a disability or extra needs, these homes will be able to give you the time you need.
We have two Housing Officers who are based on the Next Steps team and support young people leaving care to move on to suitable housing once they turn 18. They will make contact with you and carers/current support workers, discuss your future plans and needs and help you to fin somewhere safe and suitable to live, in the build up to turning 18.
A Housing Officer is also available for advice and guidance before and after you turn 18, if there are any issues with your accommodation.
All care leavers have the opportunity to spend up to three weeks in our ‘Training Flat’ either before you leave care or after you turn 18, depending on your circumstances. This is a typical council flat and gives you the chance to experience the realities of living on your own, including taking responsibility for preparing, buying and cooking your own food and paying bills including gas and electricity.
If you are in foster care and you and your carers would like you to stay there after the age of 18, you can be supported under a Staying Put arrangement, up to the age of 21. We pay your former carers £100 per week while you live there and help you to claim any benefits that you may be entitled to and agree an amount that you will contribute towards the arrangements.