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Looked after children

Children become looked after when their birth parents are unable to provide ongoing care in either a temporary or permanent capacity.
Children can either be looked after as a result of a voluntary agreement by their parents or as the result of a care order. Children may be placed with family members, friends or foster carers depending on individual circumstances.


Wherever possible, the local authority will work in partnership with parents. Many children and young people who become looked after keep strong links with their families and many eventually return home.

Within this section you will find information on

Reasons why a child may become looked after

There are many reasons why a child may become looked after. Some will have had harmful experiences, including physical and sexual abuse, while others may be in care because of the illness or death of a parent.
The majority of young people in care come from families who experience difficulties. They are separated from their family because it is unable to provide the care needed. Vulnerable unaccompanied children seeking asylum in the UK will also become looked after if they are assessed as being under 18 and have no family members here who can look after them. A small percentage of children and young people are in care because of offences they have committed.
Looked after children are usually cared for by foster carers. Some children live in children's homes and a few live in specialist homes. Sometimes extended family members will look after a child, which is often a preferable arrangement so they are not then placed with strangers.
Our Looked After Children teams provide social work services to children aged 15 and under who are looked after by Essex Children’s Social Care. The service includes regular social worker visits, assessments of needs, placement reviews in line with government guidance, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, health and education support.
There are 14 Looked After Children teams in Essex that cover different areas. To find out which team you need to speak to please contact us.
Tel: 0345 603 7627