Living in residential care

Who is residential care for?

Residential care is when you live in a home with other young people, with staff who look after you.

You can’t always live with your family. It might be that your parents have asked for you to be looked after, or that a court has decided that you need to go into care so you can be safe.

What’s it really like living in residential care?

Residential homes look like any other family home and they are in nice areas near to schools and shops. You will have your own room.

Living in a different place with new people can take a while to get used to. But the staff at the home will do all they can to make you feel at home. They will take time to get to know you and the things you like.

There will be a very small number of other children living there with you. They will have had similar experiences to you and will help you feel at home.

When you live in residential care you will carry on going to school. You will also have time to see your friends, do activities and have time out for holidays.

Lucy, who was 16 and lived in residential care for three years, said:

‘Although you don’t live with your family, staff at the homes become like family to you’.

How long will I live there?

It depends on your situation and why you have come into care. You will have regular reviews with the people supporting you to find out if the residential home is still the best place for you to live.

We get together with you, your family and social worker to make a plan about your future. Where possible, the plan is to help you return home.

If this is not possible, your social worker will explain all this to you and answer any questions. They will also listen to your views.

What happens when I leave care?

The residential staff will help you settle into your new place and keep in touch with you and support you. Once you reach 18 years old and you legally become an adult, you will still receive support as a ‘care leaver’. 

See support for care leavers

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