living in care
A child or young person who is living away from their parents and cared for by other people is living in care.

Why might a young person live in care?

A child or young person might live in care for a short time, or until they are 18. You might be living in care because:

  • Your parents or guardians might not be able to look after you. For example, they might be sick
  • Your parents have difficulties with money, or with finding a place to live
  • There may have been abuse, violence or neglect in your home and a court or the adults in charge of your care might have decided it is not safe for you to stay living there
  • You might decide to leave home because you are unhappy

Different types of care placements

Living with family members

Sometimes you might be placed in the care of another family member, such as an aunt or a grandparent.

Foster care

You might be placed in foster care, which might be in an emergency, for a short time, or for a long time. This will depend on your own situation.

Care workers

You might be placed in accommodation where there are care workers to support you.

Feelings about living in care

You might have different feelings about living in care, or about going to live in care. 

  • You might feel scared or sad about the decision, as it might mean you will leave your family and live somewhere else
  • You might feel stressed and anxious about living with people you don't know
  • You might find it hard moving schools, leaving your friends and changing your routine
  • You might feel lonely and isolated moving to a new area
  • You might feel happier, more secure and better supported – especially if you have moved away from abusive parents or carers

My rights in care

  • To know why you might not be allowed to have contact with your parents
  • To enjoy all the same things that other people the same age as you can enjoy
  • To be asked about decisions about your health and your care
  • To be safe and protected from abuse
  • To talk to someone if you are not happy about your care

Support is available

  • Living in care can be stressful for a young person and you might have lots of different feelings about it.
  • However you feel, it is important to know that you are not alone.
  • Is there a trusted adult you can talk to about how you are feeling?
  • Childline is always here to listen to you and support you. You can talk to Childline about anything that is on your mind.

EPIC provides information and support to young people with care experience and works to give people with care experience a voice.

Check these out too:

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