Children in Care

A child who is being looked after by their Local Authority is known as a Child in Care (CiC).

What a child in care is

A child who is being looked after by their Local Authority is known as a Child in Care (CiC). They may be living:

  • With foster carers
  • At home with their parents under supervision of social care
  • In residential homes
  • Other residential settings like schools or secure units

They might have been placed in care voluntarily by parents struggling to cope. Or, children’s services may have intervened because a child was at significant risk of harm.

Looked after children and the law

In UK law Children in Care are referred to as ‘looked after children’ (LAC). A child is ‘looked after’ if they are in the care of the local authority for more than 24 hours. Legally, this could be when they are:

  • Living in accommodation provided by the local authority with the parents agreement
  • The subject of an interim full care order
  • The subject of an emergency legal order to remove them from immediate danger
  • In a secure children’s home, secure training centre or young offender institution
  • Unaccompanied  asylum seeking children

- NSPCC August 2017

Designated Key Person

It is important for all children to feel safe and secure in their early years provision. For children in care they need to feel secure in order to build attachments with their key person. The key person will respond to the child’s needs and help them to settle into a new environment.

The designated key person is a contact point for the child’s guardians or carers. As an advocate for children in care, they help to ensure children can share their views and have their voices heard. They encourage children’s ongoing learning and development, enabling them to achieve their full potential.