For young people in care, turning eighteen can be a huge step. It can be really exciting but quite scary at the same time.
In this post, some of the Guardian’s Youth Advisors answer questions and share their experiences about what it was like to turn eighteen and leave care.
What was helpful to you?
- Having a strong relationship with my social worker was the key – it was comforting to know that there was someone there I could trust to answer my questions, to help with my fears and to teach me new things.
- My support network was great. I used to catch up with one of my teachers each week to discuss any problems and this helped to balance my new found independence and home life with my schooling.
- Living on my own for the very first time was really daunting. It was helpful to keep my friends close, inviting them home and keeping busy.
- Being able to learn from my friends’ experiences helped as many of them already had houses of their own.
- Accepting help from my friends and their families. Sometimes it can be hard, but it is important to know that it is okay to ask for help.
- Getting out and meeting new people which helped to build my confidence.
What do you wish you had known?
- I wish I had been more prepared … what it actually meant and what opportunities were available in my local community.
- I wish I had taken moving out more seriously … taking more time to learn how to cook and how to manage a budget
- That it’s okay to ask others for help – no one has to do everything on their own.
Looking back, what would you have done differently?
- Asked lots more questions before leaving care.
- Reached out for help sooner, rather than later.
- Focused on getting involved in things that would help build my self esteem and reduce my social isolation.
- Learn how to manage money and a budget.
- Gained employment before moving out…I didn’t know then how expensive everything is!!
What things did you learn?
- I learnt a lot about myself, as well as how to budget, cook, manage my time … The good thing is that no one is there to judge you, so just take your time.
- How to make my own decisions, no matter how scary they seemed.
- That I had the potential to make it on my own, with the help of my support network.
- It was okay to be afraid and to reach out for help whenever I needed it – and that didn’t make me a failure.