In this essay, the researcher will explore what a ‘looked after child’ is and the current system for LAC in the UK. This includes legislation, Policy and, statistics on LAC in the UK. As well as, this essay will include why children looked after by the local authority, why do they end up with the local authority, the impact of child abuse and neglect on children, young people and their families, and lastly other issues/perceptions surrounded around children and young people who are ‘looked after’.
The term ‘looked after children’ is defined to be a child who is accommodated by the local authority, away from their family, either in a residential/foster placement (Cocker, 2008). The term ‘in care’ used to be quite commonly used but LAC is actually the legally correct term. There are a range of placements that LAC may be put in, but this is all depending on what age they are and what current issues they had in their homes which led them to the care system. The types of placements are:
• Foster care
• Residential care
• Kinship care/ family and friends
• Home with parents
• Boarding schools
Foster care has been around in the UK for a long time and is one of the most common placements for LAC. Here are just a few types of foster care is:
• Emergency placements: This is when an emergency happens so a child needs to place with foster carers in short notice, which means not enough information is passed to the foster carers, the child and he child’s family(Cocker, 2008).
• Short term placements: These are not long or permanent but in some cases it may last for a number of years.
• Respite care: This is when children get support whilst living at home with their families. So the child will stay with the foster family or residential setting in a short time period but on a regular basis such as over the weekend or twice a month.
• Long term placements: These children are placed with long term foster carers, until they reach 18 years old. It’s like an alternative for children who don’t want to be adopted and would rather wish to be still be in contact with their relatives (BAAF,2013)
• Private fostering: This when the child’s parent make an arrangement with someone who is not a close friend or relative, which could last up 27 days or more.
Residential care placements tends to be the last resort for a children due to their being investigations of child abuse and neglect in the UK (Cocker, 2008). Children who are placed here tends to be the ones who cannot live with their family. The setting tends to be spacious for play and leisure activities. Kinship care/ family and friends placements are when children are looked after by the local authority although, they stay with someone they know such as a relative or friends. This placement tends to be put into consideration before the other placements but that’s all depending on the child’s circumstances/issues that the child comes with (BAAF, 2013). The ‘Home with parents’ placement is goes under the...