When the local authority gets involved in looking after you, they have to write down what they will do to help you. This is called a care plan. It says what they're going to do to support your health, education, religion, culture and hobbies. The care plan also tells you how they can help you have contact with family and friends and maybe how your parents or guardians will help to look after you.
Your parents or guardians and social worker should be involved in writing your care plan and placement agreement. You will be involved if you are old enough, and can understand what is happening.
A care plan and placement agreement should be written within ten days of you being looked after. Once they are written, you, your parents or guardians and the people who are looking after you will be given copies.
The placement agreement will say what happens day to day where you live. It will include things like your living arrangements, allergies and health issues. It will also explain who you will be able to see or not see, pocket money allowance, times in and out and travel. If you agree with your plan, you will be asked to sign a form. You do not have to agree with the plan.
Having a care order
Some people who are looked after have a care order. Sometimes a care order is made by a court, which gives the local authority responsibility for caring for you. Your parents or guardians can keep their parental responsibility too. This means that your parents or guardians and the local authority share legal responsibility for you for as long as the care order is in place.
If you have a care order
Your parents or guardians cannot take you home unless the local authority agrees. Your parents or guardians have the right to apply to the court to end the care order.
If you do not have a care order
There is no care order when your parents or guardians have arranged for the local authority to look after you. Your parents or guardians may take you home at any time. It is best for this to be planned by talking with your social worker and the people who are looking after you.