What should you do if you are not happy with your care? First try talking to your carers. If you don’t feel confident or you are worried this might make things worse consider contacting your social worker or an independent organisation such as Who Cares? Scotland.
If you are still unhappy then you can contact the Care Inspectorate. They will take your concerns seriously and will investigate. Raising your concerns with an authority, or making a complaint could improve the quality of care for you, and for other young people living in care.
Is your concern covered by one of our Q&As?
Frequently Asked Questions
Most young people living in care report that they enjoy the feeling of safety, security, support and knowing that they are being looked after. From the simple things like food on the table to trips out and holidays, these are among the many basic things that some say are good about being in care. We know living in care is different but staff within the care system are there to recognise individuals and their needs and to provide them with the support they need to overcome obstacles in their life and to be strong and independent youngsters.
Yes where possible you should be involved in the planning of a placement and this is true for the majority of moves. Sometimes however, circumstances leading to a placement move may require quick decisions involving your safety and so your involvement may be less than you would ideally like.
Whether you can stay together will be a decision for everyone involved in your life. People need to consider whether it’s safe for all of you if you stay together. This can sometimes be a really difficult decision to make as everyone’s views have to be taken into account – you might want everyone to stay together but one of your siblings doesn’t. You have the right for your views to be considered and those involved in the decision should be telling you why you can’t stay together if this is the decision that’s been made. If for some reason you are separated then you can ask for contact with your siblings and again those involved in your life will try and set this up as quickly as possible if it’s right and safe for you all to see each other.
How long you stay in care will be dependant on your care plan. Lots of people will be involved in that decision and you should have the opportunity to tell people what you think too. You’ll need somewhere to move on to, so this will have to be in place before you’re able to leave the place you’re staying in just now. It can be frustrating sometimes when things are taking longer to sort out than you’d hoped but there will always be a reason for this and there will be lots of people working away in the background trying to get things ready for you. If you do think things are taking longer than you expected it’s best to talk to someone about it rather than keeping it all to yourself.
You should be allowed to bring your friends to the unit however it is a group living environment and it’s not just yourself that has to be considered when decisions like this are made – the person making this decision will have to consider the impact on everyone in the house. It’s definitely something that’s worth talking over with your keyworker or the unit manager and they can go over their decision with you. Again it will probably be based on things like your age and yours and others safety.
Not all staff have this experience but many staff will have been in care themselves. There will also be some staff that haven’t been in care but might’ve had difficult childhoods themselves and can understand some of the things children in care go through even though they weren’t taken into care themselves.
Lots of young people do have their own computers and it’s great to be able to use them for homework without having to wait for a shared one to be free. However whether this is allowed for you or not will be dependant on things like your age, what you’re going to use the computer for and most importantly whether you’ll be safe if you have a computer in your own room as opposed to an area where there’s staff around.
This will be a decision based on not only you but the pet you want to have and also the other children or young people living with you. If it’s a pet that you can keep in your room and look after well yourself (such as a fish or a hamster) then staff in the unit may allow this, however if you want to have a dog that will become someone else’s responsibility when you’re away out or there’s a young person who lives in the house that has asthma or is allergic to dogs then it’s unlikely this will be allowed. However you should be told the reasons why you can’t have the pet you’ve asked for and maybe you can negotiate for something more suitable for you and others in the house.
This will depend on things like your age, where you’re going and how safe the place is that you’re going to. It can be frustrating being told you’re not allowed to go somewhere but those looking after you have to make sure you’re safe when you go out in the community. If you are told “no” it should be explained to you why you’re not allowed to go there so you can understand and appreciate the reasons, even if you still don’t agree with the decision.
Staff will do lots of training while they’re working with you. They will most likely have at least an HNC and SVQ III in Social Care. Some people might have a degree in social work, psychology, community education or social pedagogy. However understanding how someone else feels is not necessarily something you can learn out a book – this is called empathy or being empathetic and it’s a quality that managers will be looking for when they employ people in their teams. There will be lots of workers within the social care sector who have been in care themselves and will understand the difficulties young people are facing. If someone is working with you however and you don’t feel they understand you or you don’t ‘click’ with them, it’s best to tell someone rather than go on feeling this way. It’s natural in life to get on better with some people rather than others and it’s ok to say this and explain how you’re feeling.
Your bedtime will probably be based on your age and might consider other things like what time you have to get up in the morning, whether you need lots of sleep to be able to get up ok for school or college. Your bedtime might be different from during the week to the weekend when you’re allowed to stay up a bit later. You might also be able to negotiate a later bed time if you’re doing something special or finishing off watching a tv programme or movie but again all this will be based on how easy it is to get you up the next morning, if you’ve got to be somewhere early.
Yes, all young people in care are entitled to pocket money, how much you get will be dependant on your age. Whether you have to work for it will be dependant on the place you live however there’s lots of people who do chores for their pocket money. Getting pocket money might be the outcome of you helping around the house or keeping your own room clean and tidy but remember it’s nice to help out generally and makes you feel good when you’ve done something that benefits not only you but others too. At times your pocket money might be restricted if you’re spending it on things that are making you unsafe or you could be paying back breakages in the house but this is about people looking out for your safety and you being responsible for your actions. However these restrictions should be fair and your views on the issue should be taken into account.
Of course you can ask a question. Complete the email form below and your question will be passed to Who Cares? Scotland. Include either a private email address or telephone number. Your question will NOT appear on the website.
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How to Complain
Some people worry that things will get worse if they make a complaint, don’t worry, because you can complain anonymously. For help and advice on how to complain download the Care Inspectorate’s ‘Unhappy about a care service’ leaflet. You can also visit www.careinspectorate.com or call 0345 600 9527.
Other organisations that can help
You can also get advice from Who Cares? Scotland, ChildLine and Scotland’s Commissioner for Children and Young People (SCCYP).
Simply click on one of the logos below to visit their website!