Young People's Zone

I am a looked after child

HOW MUCH MONEY SHOULD I GET FOR THINGS LIKE CLOTHING, MY BIRTHDAY AND CHRISTMAS?

The exact amount of money that you will get for your birthday and Christmas will depend on policy (this just means the rules) that your Children’s Services has and also on the rules for your foster carers or in your children’s home. It will often depend on your age. It is really difficult to say exactly how much you will get as it varies so much from place to place.

Normally your carers will be responsible for getting your clothes and so the money to cover this will be paid to them. Some Children’s Services will specify a set amount that should be spent on you but sometimes this is left to your carers to decide.

What is clear is that you should always have:

  • Enough clothes and these should be in a good state of repair (so not full of rips and holes)
  • Clothes that are suitable for the time of year (for example, a thick coat for the winter)
  • School uniform.

If you have just come in to care and have very few clothes, your carers can ask Children’s Services for some extra money to get you thing things that you need.

What can I do?

Be Prepared
If you think you are not getting what you are entitled to, it may be a good idea to see what your Children’s Services policy states. You can usually find this on the Children’s Services website or you can ask your social worker for a copy of it.

If you are living in a children’s home, you can ask about their policy on birthdays, Christmas and clothing money.

Talk to People
There are several people you can talk to about what money you get for birthdays, Christmas and clothing:

  • Your carers: they should be able to explain what the rules are and how things work at Christmas, on your birthday and when you need clothes. Even if there are set amounts, your carers have some choice about how this is spent and so it is important to talk to them.
  • Your Social Worker: they can tell you what the Children’s Services policy says and they can also talk to your carers to check that you are getting the right amount spent on you. They can also help you talk to your carers if you are unhappy with anything.
    If you think that you need extra clothing or other important items, you can always ask your social worker about this. They probably won’t be able to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ straight away as they will need to ask their manager, but they should get back to you with an answer as soon as possible.
  • Your Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO) (see The Name Game, Become): If your carers or social worker don’t explain things to you or you think you are not getting the right amount of money spent on you, you can always speak to your IRO.  Your IRO should know the policy and should be able to check whether you are being treated fairly. You can raise the matter at your LAC Review or talk to your IRO outside the meeting.

Making a Complaint
If after speaking to people you still think that you are not getting what you are entitled to, you can make a complaint about it. To find out more about making a complaint, please click here. It is important that you have checked out what the Children’s Services policy says before you consider doing this. You can find your local complaints team here.

Get Some Help
If you still feel that no-one is listening, you can contact your local advocacy service to help you get this resolved. You can find your local advocacy service by clicking here.

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