We support you to develop good relationships with people who are important to you, whether that’s family members, foster carers or teachers.
As a care leaver in North Yorkshire we would really like to get to know you as a person, and we want to support you to have strong and positive relationships with the people who matter to you. That’s why we will help you maintain these relationships by providing you with support to reintroduce or maintain contact with family or other people who are important to you, as long as we feel this is in your best interests.
We’d like to know who already supports you and what extra things we can help you with. One of the things we offer is a 'support network' get together where we try to get people who are, or have been, important to you together to see who helps you and how they do it.
It is called a 'Family Group Conference', but it is not always about getting family together. It can be anyone that has been involved in your life who you would like to be part of your plan. This may be any appropriate person who is willing to provide support, such as teachers who have made a real effort to help you as a child, previous foster carers who you have lost touch with, or family members you would like to be back in touch with. We will contact the people you identify on your behalf and see if they are willing to be part of a support plan for you. We call these processes 'Lifelong Links' and 'Family Group Conferencing'.
How does it work?
We’d really like to get to know you better and so everybody who comes into our service is offered a meeting. Although it’s called a meeting, it’s nothing like a looked-after-child review or a conference that you may have attended in the past. It’s more like a really relaxed get together.
The meetings are run by a specialist facilitator who will visit you and talk with you about all of the people who are important to you. Most importantly it is you who decides who you would like to attend your meeting. The facilitator then visits or calls those people and arranges the meeting. Where possible you can pick the place for the meeting to be held and the time will be to suit everyone that needs to be there, so sometimes they are on an evening or a weekend.
The day of the meeting
On the day of the meeting everyone will come together. This will include the facilitator and your leaving care case worker, but they will leave during the time you are making your plan, as this is your private time. They will only come back in when you are ready to share your plan. The only people who will be at the meeting will be the people you invite.
'What’s in it for me?'
- It will give you a chance to take control of your life, what you want and who you want to be part of this.
- It will help you reach your goals and aspirations.
- It will help you re-connect you with people who are, or have been, important to you.
- If you feel unable to speak up at the meeting we can talk about you having a support person or 'advocate'. This can be someone you already know, or someone the facilitator finds for you.