Article 12 of the UNCRC states that Children have a right to say what they think should happen, when adults are making decisions that affect them, and to have their opinions taken into account.
This is the stuff about your rights and the law. It might seem a lot to take in, but this information is really important and you can refer back to it if you ever need it.
- Participation is a right – see ‘Article 12’ above.
- Participation is not a privilege, and it does not have to be earned – it values children and young people in their own right. Any adult that works with you is required to take seriously your wishes and feelings. Wakefield Council, who looks after you, will involve you meaningfully in individual decision making and planning.
- When you first go into care, your first review should take place within 28 days.
- The next review should be within the next 3 months.
- Then you should have a review every 6 months.
- You can request a review anytime if you feel changes need to be made to your care plan.
This is called delegated authority
1. It means your carers can be more involved in making day to day decisions with you that are about your care.
2. Your carers are given these powers to make decisions because it makes children in care feel like they are part of a 'normal' family and are not singled out for being in care. It should speed up the amount of time it takes to make a decision about your care.
3. Your carers will be able to support decisions about you by saying 'yes' or 'no' to things such as sleep overs, school trips, haircuts-without waiting for a decision from the social worker.
4. As part of your Placement Plan your social worker will complete a checklist to agree who has delegated authority (the right to make decisions) for each area of your care (such as school, health, contact, hobbies, etc.). If you are unsure about who can/should make a decision about your care, you can always double check with your social worker.
5. Whoever has the authority to make decisions for you- it's important they involve you in those decisions too-that's part of the Councils promise to you while you're in care.
- You have the right to be looked after well and have all the usual support and help a child or young person living at home would usually get.
- You have the right to get involved in every decision that affects your life in care.
- You have the right to information and to see what is written about you. This information should be given to you in an open and honest way and in a way you can understand.
- You have the right to have contact with your family (including brothers and sisters) unless it is dangerous for you to do so.
- You have the right to follow your own religion and be supported to do so.
- You have the right to make private phone calls to your social worker and advocate.
- You have the right to have your race, culture and language respected and supported.
- You have the right to meet with your social worker without your carers and keyworker being there.
- You have the right to be safe and protected from those who may harm you.
- You have the right to make a complaint if you are not happy about the service you are getting from Family Services, and you also have the right to have help and information from an independent advocate if you want to make a complaint.
What do the words professionals use actually mean?
This is another word for being Looked After by social services.
An Advocate is a person who can support what you have to say, e.g. If you want an adult to be with you when you make a complaint and talk on your behalf.
This is the money you are allowed. You should get pocket money every week, plus a certain amount on your birthday and at Christmas.
This is to look into your needs within a certain area. For example Medical, Social services, Education
This is a plan that is decided with you about how best to care for you, and to make sure you have a good quality of care whilst you are looked after by social services.
This is an order made by the court. This means that social services can make decisions together with your parents about things such as where you live and how often you have contact with your family. If however, your parents and social services dont agree then social services will decide.
In some Court Proceedings relating to children a Childrens Guardian is Appointed by the Court. The Childrens Guardian will look after your best interest's in Court and will also appoint a solicitor who will represent you in court.
You have what are called "Rights". For a child in care this means "Having the right to have your voice heard and to be listened to" and
"Having your opinions taken into account when decisions are made about you". If these rights arent being respected you also have
"The right to complain".
A Complaints Officer works for the Complaints Department at Social Services. They are the people who will contact you if you make a complaint to social services.
This is the word used to describe when and how you see your family and relatives.
This is when you are looked after within a family situation by foster carers.
This is when you are cared for by social services (see Looked After)
Independant Reviewing Officer (IRO)
IRO's will visit you before your review at least every six months and help you have a say in your care plan and help you share your views. They will look after your best interests and advocate on your behalf. They can help you independantly of your Social Worker
All the rights listed here are in laws and rules about how Wakefield Council should care for you. They are all things you are entitled to.
The Children's Commissioner for England promotes and protects children's rights in England. She does this by listening to what children and young people say about what matters to them and making sure adults in charge take their views and interests into account.
For advice and help for children in care or living away from home, visit www.childrenscommissioner.gov.uk/help-at-hand/ or call 0800 528 0731