Healthy relationships - support for Care Leavers

There are lots of different types of relationships that can break down into 3 categories - family, friends and romantic. For more information on how we can support Care Leavers have healthy romantic relationships please see our sex and sexuality page.

What does a healthy relationships with your family look like?

At Swindon Borough Council (SBC) we appreciate that there are lots of different types of families. As a Care Leaver you may have a foster family, a birth family and possibly even be thinking about starting your own family. Other Care Leavers may feel like their friends are more their family. Families are important because they can act as a constant source of comfort, guidance, and strength that you can draw on whenever you need them.

For more information, here is a link to the Henry support group for healthy families HENRY Healthy Families - YouTube.

Healthy family relationships tend to have 6 main qualities that help family members feel supported and loved. These are:

  • Appreciation and/or affection- Family members should feel like their contributions are appreciated. You should feel comfortable to give and receive different types of affection like a hug or a pat on the back.
  • Trust - Family members should feel able to trust each other and feel trusted
  • Communication - Family members should feel able to both talk to and listen to each other. Communication should also be encouraging and supportive.
  • Enjoy each other’s company - As a Care Leaver, you may be feeling like you want to be more independent, which is completely OK, but it is important to still want to enjoy your family’s company. Independence can be hard and spending time with your family can help you through the hard times.
  • Resilience - Speaking of hard times, challenges and crises happen to everyone. Healthy families take these challenges on together and help each other through crises. Sometimes these hard times can bring families even closer together!
  • Respect - Even if family members don’t always agree, there should always be a feeling of respect of others’ opinions within a family unit.

If you or someone in your family is not feeling or seeing any of these qualities, and you feel like there are several advice lines you can reach out to like:

What does a healthy relationships with your friends look like?

As you move on to becoming a Care Leaver, you’ll find that your friendships may change. Some people who had lots of friends through school may only have a few friends now, and others may find that they are gaining more and more friends as they go on through adulthood.

Your friends may feel like a family to you, so all the qualities listed in the family section should be things you feel and experience. However, unlike families, friendships can come and go far more easily.

It’s important you keep hold of the really good friends and cut any friendships that could be seen as harmful to you or toxic. Here is a video explaining 4 differences between good friends and toxic friends: 4 Differences Between Good Friends and Toxic Friends - YouTube

Good friends Toxic Friends
Protect you when you’re vulnerable and will support you through hard times Put you down all the time, only take and are only out for themselves. They can guilt trip you when they do help you because they’re always looking for what they can gain from you.
Trustworthy and accept you for who you are Often two-faced, will talk behind your back and won’t keep your secrets safe.
Mature and responsible They won’t take responsibility for their actions and they won’t help you be responsible either. Will often encourage negative thoughts or feelings within you
Compassionate with you and others, will celebrate your achievements with you and be understanding if you are sad or healing Will often rush you to recover, won’t have time for you if you are upset, will accuse you of being ‘braggy’ when you have achievements, or will be horrible to other people for being different to themselves

If you have any questions or concerns, you can always talk to your Pathway Advisor (PA) or any of us at the Positive Futures Team. You can also reach out to:

Getting in touch

For more information or advice, please contact the Positive Futures Team on 01793 466715 or email pfduty@swindon.gov.uk