It might seem having experience of the care system makes you feel that you have no one important to turn to. Or that those who have been in your life looking after or supporting you as you have been growing up are only there because it is their job. You may also feel that as you are now moving on from, or have recently left, care you should be able to fend for yourself and that those trusted adults in your life may no longer want to help or be there to support you, and you may feel that you can’t or shouldn’t approach them for help now you are an ‘adult’ and need to do things by yourself. These feelings are common and understandable, but that does not mean they are always justified. They might be influenced by previous experiences you had, or specific people in your life. Everyone should have people to trust and sometimes we need a little push or take a leap of faith to reach out to someone. There are many people who will be in your life who know you, care about you and will be more than happy to help, or at least point you in the right direction for who best to speak to or contact.
The majority of professionals, including key workers and carers, care deeply and are doing the role because they believe they can make a difference and want the best for every child or young person that they support. Them caring for you doesn’t stop just because you have moved on. Sometimes the hardest part is approaching them or asking them to help or to continue being in your life as you may not be sure how to go about that or have a fear of being rejected. There is support out there to help you do this.
There will be people in your life you can speak to, but sometimes it can be hard to know who to speak to You might ask yourself how or when to approach them or if they are the right person for what you want to talk about or get help with. The most important thing is that you are comfortable with them. Even if they might not be an expert in the topic, they will help you find the right information. This can also be a worker who you might not have spoken to in a while, they will be happy to hear from you. Support can be provided from many different people, across many different professions and networks – these could include social worker, key worker, foster carer, residential worker, teacher, doctor. You may also have friends, family, neighbours or someone within the community you could turn to. There is no right or wrong. Who one person will turn to may be different for someone else depending on what relationships you have, or have had, in your life. This may also vary for you depending on where you are in your life and what you need, and that’s also ok. You need to think who in your life you can speak to and who you feel comfortable with. The important thing is to know that you can speak to most of the people listed here, and there will be others too, who can help support you or point you in the right direction.
Speak to someone you trust. It can sometimes be harder to speak to the person who you feel closest to, so the most important thing is to speak to someone – perhaps a social worker, teacher, or other trusted adult who can help to get the ball rolling and support you to know who best to turn to, how and when. You should also be aware of your rights, there is a guide to that in the Rights section. Here you can see how children and young people’s rights are being adopted across the globe and the people you can turn to should be able to support you to ensure you are experiencing all of these.
We all experience relationships in all parts of our life, and this includes both our social and support network. Good relationships are essential and bring with them a lot of benefits, including improving our emotional, mental, and physical wellbeing.