Why we look after a child or young person

When families seek support, we’ll assess them. Sometimes the outcome is that the child is ‘looked after’ by us. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll leave the family home, and in fact, we’ll do everything we can to keep them there or with extended family.

We’ll step in when we’ve assessed the situation and have found a significant safeguarding issue – so it’s unsafe for a child to continue living as they are.

Sometimes the parents agree. In those cases, parents can change their minds and take their children back out of care after talking to us (under section 20 of the Children Act 1989). 

If the parents don’t agree, we might apply for a court order giving us shared parental responsibility (under section 31 of the Children Act 1989).

What happens when we look after a child or young person

Every situation is different. But we’ll always put the young person first, and listen to them, their parents and other key people to help us do what’s right for them.

We’ll also:

  • try to keep them as close to Bexley as possible
  • keep them in contact with the family whenever that’s in their best interest
  • make sure they meet with their social worker within a week of coming into care, and at least monthly after that – with regular telephone contact in between
  • put a care plan together that describes how we’ll help them and how often we’ll review their plan
  • hold a review in the first month of care, chaired by an Independent Reviewing Officer to look at the plan. The child or young person, their parents and any other people relevant to the case should all be there

Bexley's strategy for looked after children

Our plan to set out what we are striving for, what we are doing to get there, how we will continue to improve and new ideas we are considering.

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