Things to know about children in care

The child protection system has been the focus of much media attention in recent years, and usually for the wrong reasons with high profile errors. The care system is a crucial part of that, and for most children, it is a positive experience. The questions arise when things don’t go well and authorities look to ensure that all children in their care system are kept safe and healthy.

The experiences children have in their early life have a very real and significant impact on their future. By the very nature of the system, and the reasons why children are taken into care, it follows that children in care, or those that have been, are at a higher risk of developmental impact, or difficulties with their mental health.

Where can a child be cared for?

Children who are considered to be “in care” might be living with foster parents, but they might also be living with their parents and have supervision from social services. They might also have residential care in a children’s home or a secure unit or residential school.

A child might have been placed into the system by their family if they are struggling with looking after the child for whatever reason, or there might have been official intervention. All individuals working with children in this sort of capacity must have a CRB check, which can be obtained from agencies like Care Check http://carecheck.co.uk/.

Who can provide care?

The main intention of the care system is to protect the children that need it most and to provide a safe, secure and caring environment. By providing as stable an environment as possible, children are given the best chance in what must already be challenging circumstances.

The best people to provide that care, the social workers and other key professionals, are able to gain trust and build relationships to provide a stable environment. They must undergo rigorous training that is regularly updated and refreshed. There is also support available for parents who might need additional help, and for those providing foster care.

For more information about children being looked after in care, visit the Citizens Advice service.

Above all, each child is an individual, with his or her own personality, and each will have very different experiences in the care system.

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