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This is your chance to have a say about what happens to you...

The plans being made for you must be discussed at regular meetings. These are called reviews. The law says that your views must be heard at your review. Because it's your review the most important person is YOU.

What is a review?

A review is a chance for you to be part of a discussion about the plans made about how you are looked after now and in the future.

You help put plans together in a form called a Care Plan.

You should have a review of your Care Plan at least every six months but sometimes more often.

If you are not happy with something in your Care Plan then you can ask for a review at any time.

This is because the law says that these things need to be talked about regularly and that you must have the chance to have your views heard.

Should I bother to go?

In a survey by the Children's Rights Director, most of the young people who replied said that they do go to their review meetings and enjoyed them.

Those children and young people who said they didn't go to their reviews said that it was because:

● they thought their views wouldn't get across

● they thought their reviews might be boring

● they were worried about the number of people there

● it might be hard to talk about personal things in front of a lot of adults.

What's talked about at a review?

Your legal status: Is the current order appropriate to meet your needs and keep you safe

Your placement: Discussion about where you are living and whether there are any time limits on the availability of the placement. The stability of your placement will also be considered, along with whether there is a need for any additional support for you or your carers, including respite care. Depending on your age there may be a need to start making plans for where & when you will move on to independence.

Your health: Discussion about any medical appointments and assessments you have had and whether any follow-up treatment is required. Details of immunisations, mental health, sexual health and concerns about substance misuse.

Emotional & behavioural development: This will consider your relationship with your carers and other young people in the placement, how well you are able to manage your feelings and emotions and how good your independence skills are.

Education, Training & Employment: We will talk about how you spend your day. This includes how you are doing at school or college and whether there is any extra help you might benefit from. If you are 16 or over we will check that you have your National Insurance Number.

Culture & identity: This is all about you as an individual. Helping you to understand who you are and what you know about your family. It is important that your needs are met in terms of personal care, clothing and dietary needs. We will also discuss any needs you have in relation to race, disability, sexuality or sexual orientation.

Family & social relationships (including contact): There will be a discussion about who you can see and speak to, how often this happens and where this takes place. It is important that you are able to have contact with family members and friends and that this happens in a safe way. Decisions will be made about who is going to organise this for you.

Any other issues: If there is anything else that needs to be considered it can be discussed here. Things such as leaving care arrangements, any involvement with Youth Offending Service, Leisure activities and special interests such as any involvement with the Children in Care Council or participation groups.

The IRO who chairs the meeting will check if there is anything else that needs to be done to make sure that your experience of being looked after is a positive one.

What happens before the review?

What your Social Worker should do

Your Social Worker is responsible for arranging your review meeting.

He or she should make sure that the meeting happens at a time and in a place that suits you and that you know when and where your review will be.

About 20 days before your review, your Social Worker should also talk to you about the following things:

● the purpose of the review

● who will be there, who has to be there and who you would like to invite

● what will be talked about. (Everyone who goes to the review should know what will be talked about before your review happens so there are no surprises)

● how you will put your views across. (If you need help to say something, your social worker should make time to give you this help)

● if you would like an advocate, your Social Worker should make sure you know how to get one and that you can spend time with them

Before the meeting

● anything that needs to be written down or completed before your review. (Your Social Worker should explain to you what this is for and help you to fill your view in before the meeting)

What you can do

● talk to your Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO) beforehand to plan your review and understand what will be talked about before your review happens.

● keep a diary, memory book or scrapbook to help you remember things you want to talk about at your next review.

● write down things as they happen in your life so you have lots to talk about and tell us at your review.

What happens at the review?

Your IRO must make sure that the meeting understands your views and takes them into account.

Your IRO should also do the following:

1 Help you speak out at the meeting if you want to

2 Help make sure that you understand what is being talked about at the meeting and explain things to you

3 Let you know about your right to make a complaint if there are things you are unhappy about that aren't being sorted out

Planning your review

Your views have to be listened to when your review is being planned.

Here are some ideas to help you to plan for the review.

When?

The law says that reviews must happen regularly, whether you attend them or not.

● after you come into care you must have a review within 4 weeks

● your 2nd review must happen no more than 3 months later

● after that you must have a review at least every 6 monthsWhat time?

● after school / college

● at a time so you don't miss after school clubs or activities that you usually do

● what is the best day of the week for you

● if something important comes up you can talk to your Social Worker about changing the day or the time.

Where?

What sort of place would you like to have your review at?

Here are some ideas:

● choose a place where you feel comfortable: your home, a youth club, somewhere you can play or relax.

● you could have your review where you live, like in your foster family's house or your care home.

● you could set up the room yourself and decide where everyone sits.

Who?

Who do you want to come to your review and for how long?

Not everyone who comes has to stay all the way through and you can ask for people to leave for parts of it.

Some people have to come to your review, they are:

● you, your Social Worker, your Carer and your IRO

● your mum or dad will usually come, but sometimes this is not possible (e.g. if you would not be safe)

● some other people might need to be invited such as your teacher, LAC Specialist Nurse.

Here are some ideas about inviting people to your review:

● someone to talk for you or to help you talk – an advocate.

● you can tell some things just to your IRO rather than to everyone.

● you can tell someone else who you are comfortable with about private things so they only tell the people who need to know.

● you might only want a few people to come to the review

● give a list of people you want at the review to your social worker

How?

How do you want to take part?

Think about how you can tell people what you think, your feelings and your wishes. The law says that before your review your Social Worker and IRO must listen to your views and it's your IRO's job to make sure that they are taken into account at the review.

Here are some ideas that might help you think about what to say.

● Decide what is most important to talk about. You can tell your IRO before the review.

● Have a list of things that you want to be discussed and take paper and a pen so that you can take your own notes.

● Ask for an advocate to help you.

If you are going to the review but you're not sure if

you want to talk, this list might help:

● Write your thoughts down for someone else to read out

● Tell your IRO what you think

● Send an email

● Make a video diary to be played at the meeting

● Make a photo album to take to the review

● Make a scrapbook or a memory book

What happens after your review?

It is important that you understand what decisions are made after your review meeting and how these will affect your life.

It is up to your social worker to make sure you get this information.

This could be by getting a:

● written report of what was talked about at the review

● list of "action points" of what people need to do after your review

● letter from your IRO

If you don't understand what has been agreed, make sure that you talk to your social worker or IRO and ask him or her to explain it to you.

If people don't do what has been decided, the IRO should follow this up. They could speak to the manager involved and may put their concerns in writing.

Your rights... what the law says

● You have a right to an advocate to help you in the review.

● You have a right to complain if you are unhappy or have a worry or a problem that you don't feel is being sorted out.

● You can apply to the court for some legal orders and if you are on a care order you can ask the court to end this.

You can talk to your IRO about how to get advice / help to do the things that we have mentioned here.

Remember, if you don't understand something or are worried then just ask