Children in care

Who are looked after children?

Looked after children are children under the age of 18 who do not live with their parents or family. The council has legal responsibilities for these children and will become a ‘corporate parent’ to each child.


What does "looked after children" mean?  

Children are ‘looked after’ for a number of reasons; this may be for a short while, or until they reach the age of 18 or beyond. Children and young people can be ‘looked after’ by the Council from when they are a baby anytime up until they are 18.  Sometimes if a child has a disability, they could be looked after up to the age of 19. 

Being looked after is also called being ‘in care’. You may be looked after because your parents have made an agreement with the local authority, or because a children’s court has said you need looking after.

Whichever is the case, your parents will still be responsible for you, but they share this responsibility with the local authority.

Just ask your Social Worker if you do not know why you are looked after and would like to know more.

Being looked after could mean you live with family and friends, foster carers, in a residential children’s home or in secure accommodation.

Where you live depends on what is happening in your life and will be planned with you. Your social worker can tell you more, so do ask them.


What is parental responsibility?

Parental responsibility is about who makes decisions about where a child lives, making sure that they receive health care, what school they go to and other important decisions about their life.


How long will I be looked after?

Sometimes children and young people only need to be looked after for a very short time.  Sometimes this is a few days, a few weeks or a few months.  Some children and young people are looked after for a much longer time until they are 18.  It depends why you are looked after and if it is safe for you to go home.  If you don’t know how long you are going to be looked after you can talk to your Social worker or foster carer/key worker so that you know what is happening.


Contact us

Children Living Away from Home ( CLAFH)
Station Road Centre
Station Road
Essex IG6 1NB

Telephone - 020 8708 7477