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1.1.7 Looked After Children Policy

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This document aims to provide guidance to children, young persons, their families and employee's on what provision a child and their families should expect when the child becomes cared for by Lincolnshire County Council, whether under voluntary arrangements under Section 20 or on a compulsory basis under Section 31/38 Care Orders. Types of placements could include Placement with Connected Person, Foster Placements and Residential Placements within Lincolnshire or outside Lincolnshire's boundaries. This policy does not attempt to address the circumstances when a child or young person is admitted to care via police protection or by an emergency protection order or is remanded to local authority accommodation nor arrangements for providing a child or young person with respite care.

AMENDMENT

This chapter was slightly updated in September 2011 in regard to the terms, Connected Person and changing Children in Public Care to Looked After Children.


Contents

  1. Purpose
  2. Legal Reference
  3. Policy Aims
  4. Policy Outcomes


1. Purpose

The purpose of the Looked After Children (LAC) Policy is to provide guidance to children, young people, their families and employee's who are involved in the process of looking after children or young persons who are in the care of Lincolnshire County Council. This policy document should be read in conjunction with departmental policy on kinship care and the joint protocol for assessing the needs of children or young persons who request assistance with accommodation.

In addition please refer to the Children's Services Policy, Values and Principle document which contains the overall policy and strategy for the provision of services to children, young people and families and provides the context for all policy and procedures within Children's Services.


2. Legal Reference

The Children Act 1989 and associated regulation and guidance
Children's Act 2004
Care Matters 2006


3. Policy Aims

The local authority will provide a range of services to support families to retain the care of their children, so long as this is consistent with the child's welfare.

The local authority should only look after a child or young person when there is no other equally satisfactory way of promoting their welfare or protecting them from harm. The decision to look after a child or young person or to refuse a request for a child or young person to be looked after should be based on a full assessment of the child or young person's needs and circumstances. This decision will be mindful of the child or young persons race, culture, religion, age, disability, gender or sexual orientation.

Options for the child or young person to live with a relative, friend or Connected Person on a private basis should be rigorously explored before consideration is given to admitting a child or young person to public care. In some circumstances, the department may make payments to support a child or young persons' placement with relatives, friends or Connected Person for a time-limited period.

If a child or young person has to live apart from their family of origin, the child (taking into consideration their age and understanding) and their carers/family should be helped to consider alternatives and contribute to the making of an informed choice about the most appropriate form of care. When the placement is identified Lincolnshire will be mindful of meeting the child or young persons need in relation to their race, culture, gender, age, sexual orientation and language through the matching process.

Where ever possible, siblings should not be separated when in care or when being looked after under voluntary arrangements, unless this is part of a carefully considered care plan based on the assessment of each individual child's needs.


4. Policy Outcomes

Children looked after by the local authority should be in safe, well managed placements where their carers have access to support and training designed to assist them in meeting the needs of the children in their care. This will include supporting them through making their decisions and enabling them to learn from the outcomes. Each child or young person's journey through their placement will be regularly reviewed and monitored.

When a child or young person is provided with accommodation by the local authority the expectations of the care they receive should be based around the outcomes reflected within the Lincolnshire's Children and Young People's Plan.

Children and young persons should not remain in local authority accommodation any longer than is necessary for the promotion of their welfare. If a child or young person is looked after, arrangements should be made to effect his/her discharge from public care at the earliest opportunity, so long as this is consistent with her/his welfare.

Children Services produce an Annual Report for LAC in Lincolnshire to inform the Public, Elected Members, partners and employees of the profile, services and outcomes for children looked after during the year.

End