Information for children and young people who are looked after
'Children looked after' is a term used to describe children and young people who are looked after by their Local Authority - often described as 'being in care'. Though these terms are very common they are used to refer to a group of children and young people. However, we would always consult with children and young people to ask them how they would want to be referred to as an individual because they are unique.
There are lots of reasons why children and young people become Looked After. Every situation is different, sometimes parents are unable to care for their children, are unwell, or there may be a need for specialist services which cannot be provided in the home.
If a child cannot remain at home living with their parents, they could be cared for by a relative/friend or foster carers or may need specialised services in a residential setting.
There are times when children and young people may only need to be ‘Looked After’ for a short period of time and then return to live their family, but sometimes the arrangement is longer term.
To help decide what the right plan is for the child/young person and their family we will carry out an assessment which will include the views of the child/young person and their parents.
What is a social worker?
Every child or young person Looked After has an allocated worker called a social worker. The social worker will work with the child/young person and their family to make sure they have the support they all need.
- He/she will visit the child/young person regularly and provide their contact details, so they are easily contactable.
- The social worker will listen to the child/young person's views, wishes and feelings.
- The social worker will ensure that the child/young person's needs are being met.
- The social worker will explain the Care and Support Plan to the child/young person and talk about what will happen in the future.
- The social worker will also explain in a way that is suited to the child/young person, why they came into care.
Find out more about what a social worker does in the factsheet and animation below:
What is a Care and Support Plan?
Each child/young person who becomes Looked After will have a Care and Support Plan. We have a duty to draw up a plan in writing. Each plan must be written in consultation with the child/young person, parents and other important people and agencies in the child/young person's life.
The Care and Support Plan explains what we're going to do to support the child/young person's needs in relation to family time, health, education, religion, culture and hobbies. A copy will be provided for the child/young person, parents, foster carers and/or residential carers so everyone is clear what is to happen next.
The Plan is reviewed on a regular basis consulting with the child/young person, their parents and all the professionals involved in their care to ensure that we continue to support the child/young person's needs.