When a child leaves your home
In almost all cases, from the day a child is placed with you, there is an expectation that they will return to their parents, family or community when the situation is safe for them. There are many reasons why a child might leave your home:
- The child may be returning home because the case plan goals have been achieved – this should be planned well in advance and will involve you, the child, their family and the Case Manager.
- You may have asked for the child to be moved – sometimes having a particular child in your home becomes just too difficult. If this is the case, it helps if you can let the department know as soon as possible, so that another suitable place can be found for the child. Talking to your Care Team about any difficulties can make the whole process more positive.
- The child may have asked to be moved to another home, or may have run away from your home – if this happens the child’s Case Manager will discuss the situation with you and the child before deciding what will be done.
- The department may decide to move the child – this can happen for a number of reasons.
- The Court may make a direction or order - the Family Law Court may order a child to be returned home or placed in the custody of another person.
Whatever the reason, the department will support you when a child leaves your care.
Saying goodbye - easing the transition for the child
You may have a range of emotions when a child leaves your care, from strong relief to profound loss – or somewhere in between. You may regret having become emotionally involved with the child, or feel guilty that you ‘didn’t do enough’ for them as you can. These feelings are natural, but remember that it is the caring feelings you have for the child that can make it a positive experience for them. As a carer, you will always have children moving on from your home.
A big part of caring is learning to be able to let go of the child and to do this in a way that makes it as painless as possible for them. When a child is leaving your home, try to make the transition as easy for them as you can. You can do this by helping the child prepare their belongings for the move, supporting the Case Manager, reassuring the child about the move and telling them you will be there if there are any problems.