Looked after child
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A looked after child is a child who is being cared for by children’s services because they are:
- In care, subject to a court order. They may be subject to a care order or emergency placement order. Typically in this case the child will be placed out of their parents’ care. They may be living with kinship foster carers, or unrelated foster carers.
- Living away from home under a voluntary arrangement with children’s services.
- Children who are on remand because they are awaiting trial in the youth court. These children will usually be held in a secure children’s home, a secure training centre or a youth offender’s institution.
There is a list of priorities children’s services must follow when deciding who a looked after child should live with:
- The first choice is a parent (or anyone else with parental responsibility) who is assessed by children’s services as suitable to care for the child.
- The second choice is for the child to live with a relative or a family friend, if they are assessed as suitable (i.e. kinship care).
- If there is no one within the family and friends network who can care for the child, then they will be placed with unrelated foster carers or in residential care.
Parents should be consulted about all decisions when their child is looked after. All looked after children must have a care plan. Regular planning and looked after child review meetings will be held to make sure the placement remains suitable, and the care plan is meeting all the child’s needs.