If you want contact with someone
As a Looked After Child, your carers and the Local Authority have to listen to your wishes. If you want contact with someone (including via telephone calls) and you are not having it, it is important that you make this very clear. Tell your social worker, your foster carers and your Independent Reviewing Officer that you want contact and why. They may not let you have contact, as they may feel it genuinely would not be good for you. If they do not feel it would be good for you, they are acting correctly by stopping contact because it is their job to look after you. They should explain to you why they think contact would not be good.
Do not be tempted to run away to see the person, as this could be unsafe.
If you are told why contact would not be good for you and you still want contact, or you disagree with your social worker, you should ask for an independent advocate. Your social worker has to make sure that you get one. Don’t be scared – adults can make mistakes and also often disagree about complex things like contact, so you are just asking for some more help. Tell the advocate that you want contact and why. They will then make sure that you are being listened to and that any decisions made are the correct ones.
If you still do not have contact with the person and you still think you should have contact, you have the right to make a complaint. Tell your advocate and your social worker that you want to make a complaint under the ‘2006 Department of Education Guidance’. It is the legal duty of the Local Authority to hear and respond to your complaint. This isn’t as scary as it sounds, as you can ask your advocate to help you make the complaint. They will either help you themselves, or find someone who can.
You should remember that you are the important person and the adults are there to help you, so be clear about what you want.
If someone wants contact with you
If someone wants contact with you and you don’t want contact, or you want less contact, tell your foster carer, your social worker and your Independent Reviewing Officer. You do not have to have contact with anyone you don’t want to and no-one should be putting you under pressure to see them. You have the same rights to an advocate and to make a complaint as above.