When your child is looked after by the Local Authority - Information, steps and useful contacts

Children become looked after when:

The child is at risk of harm and it is in their best interests to be cared for away from their family.

How does this happen:

The court may grant a court order which means that the local authority shares parental responsibility with you.

The local authority can decide where your child will live for the period of the court order until the court makes a final decision about the long-term arrangement.

Sometimes parents and carers agree that it would be in their child’s best interests for them to be cared for away from the family for a period of time.

The police may use their powers of police protection. This means the police can remove children from the care of their parents/carers if they believe that the child or children are at risk or suffering significant harm.

This is only used in exceptional circumstances and the police by law can only do this for up to 72 hours. The social worker will be talking to the parents during this time.

Next steps:

If it is decided that it is in your child’s best interests to be ‘looked after’ it means that arrangements will be made for your child to stay somewhere else. This may be with a foster carer, family and friends, or living in a residential unit or special school.

Your child will have a social worker who will work with you and your child. The social worker will always listen to the views of you and your child and consider them in all decisions.

A meeting will take place either before or after your child becomes looked after.

During the meeting you will be able to talk about what has happened and discuss the further arrangements for your child in terms of:

  • where they live
  • their health
  • education
  • contact with you and other important people in their life

Review meetings take place on a regular basis. The meetings will be chaired by an independent reviewing officer. They have an important role in making sure that decisions made for children and young people are the right ones. It is important that you attend these meetings so you can be fully involved in the decision making.

What if you do not agree with the decisions being made?

If you are unhappy about any of the decisions made, then please talk to your child’s social worker.

We would always want to try and work with you to resolve any issues you may have. If you are still unhappy you can contact the comments, compliments and complaints team.

Helpful contacts

Citizens Advice Bureau: Details can be found on the Citizens Advice Bureau website.

Our comments, compliments and complaints team: Tel: 01609 534193 or freephone number: 0808 168 2785.

National Youth Advocacy Service (Advocacy for children and young people): Visit the National Youth Advocacy Service website or telephone 0800 616101.

North Yorkshire Council: Contact us.