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Making sure you're listened to in your review

We know it can be weird and scary to go into care. You might feel like there are suddenly lots of new grown ups in your life who are making choices for you. It's really important that you remember these two things.

Everyone has to do what's best for you - it's their job

All the grown ups who work for us (the council) know a lot about helping children and young people. This means people like your social worker and your Independent Reviewing Officer ('IRO').

They have special training to make sure they know how to do what's best for you. So when they put things in your care plan, and choose things like where you'll live, they're doing it so you're safe and cared for.

They also have to keep records of what they're doing for you. And they have to be able to explain the records to people like their boss, or your family.

People like the judge at court who says that you should go into care, and your teachers, all have to do what they think is best for you too. They're not allowed to do things (or not do things) which might lead to you being harmed.

If you don't understand why something is the best thing for you, it's okay to ask your social worker to explain.

Everyone has to listen to what you want

Just because you're not a grown up yet, it doesn't mean you can't have a say in what happens to you.

Everyone who's involved in your care has to listen to what you say, especially your social worker and IRO. No one is allowed to run off and make a decision about your life without telling anyone, because it's your life.

Sometimes we can't say yes to what you want, because it would be bad for you. That might feel unfair or make you sad or angry, but someone will always explain why we had to say no. If it's something really important to you, we'll try and find a compromise (something similar which we're all happy with). Or we can plan to talk about it again in a few months.

If you're worried about speaking to grown ups at your review or in meetings, you might be able to get an advocate to help you. An advocate is someone who will tell people what you want to say if you don't want to speak or go to a meeting. An advocate will talk to you before the meeting so they know exactly how you feel and what you want the grown ups to know.

The National Youth Advocacy Service (NYAS) can tell you about getting an advocate. You can talk to them by emailing help@nyas.net or calling them on 0808 808 1001.