3.7 Looked After Children and Other Children Living Away From Home

A child is ‘looked after’ (in care) if they are in the care of the local authority for more than 24 hours. Children can be in care by agreement with parents or by order of a court. Under the Children Act 1989, a child is legally defined as ‘looked after’ by a local authority if he or she:

  • gets accommodation from the local authority for a continuous period of more than 24 hours
  • is subject to a care order (to put the child into the care of the local authority)
  • is subject to a placement order (to put the child up for adoption).

Children who are looked after may be living:

  • with foster parents;
  • at home with their parents under the supervision of Children’s Social Care;
  • in a residential children’s home;
  • with extended family members (known as kinship placements);
  • with friends of the family (also known as non-relative placement); or
  • other residential settings like boarding schools, hospitals, prisons, young offender institutions, secure training centres, secure units and army bases

Therefore, even though the child is looked after, they may not be living in what may be traditionally seen as a “care” environment.  For more details please see the HIPS procedure. This is also relevant in relation to private fostering and foreign exchange visits.

Please see the following national guidance:

Foster care and private fostering

Children’s homes and residential schools

Children in hospital

Children in Custody

This page is correct as printed on Sunday 14th of July 2024 04:59:26 PM please refer back to this website (http://hipsprocedures.org.uk) for updates.