We provide help and support to children and young people whenever it is decided that they need to be looked after by Children's Social Care.
Who can use this service
Children and families in various situations may benefit from social services support. As every child's situation and family circumstances are different, only broad examples are listed below.
- Children who the court deem should no longer live within their own family. This could lead to a plan for permanence outside of the extended family. However, rehabilitation to their parents or a member of the extended family will be actively considered.
- Children whose home situations have broken down and have no alternative carers available within the extended family. This may be, for example, when a parent has died or gone into hospital or prison.
- Children whose behaviour at home has become unmanageable for their parents and this is causing risk to themselves and others.
- Children who have committed a serious offence and the court decides that the child should be looked after by Children's Social Care rather than at home until the court process is concluded.
How do children become looked after
There are two main legal routes through which children become 'looked after':
- Through a court process where the court decides that a child should be remanded into accommodation following an offence; or the court make an interim or full care order where they have found that a child has suffered significant harm.
- Where a parent requests that the local authority look after their child, usually on a short term basis, to cover a family crisis.
Who makes decisions about the care of looked after children?
The main difference between being in care and being provided with accommodation is that when a child is in care, the local authority as well as the parent has parental responsibility for the child. When the child is accommodated the local authority does not have parental responsibility.
This makes a big difference as to who has responsibility for decision making and planning, but in both instances the local authority must work closely with the parents, extended family and the child to plan clearly and take account of everyone's views, wishes and feelings.