The law and in care

"The Law has a lot to say about how we look after you. It is important that you understand what the law says about children and young people in care so that you can understand how we make decisions and how the law affects you"


Different ways of being in care

Being "in care" means living away from home and being cared for by the Council. You can be in care in two ways. You can be:

  • ‘provided with accommodation’
  •  or ‘in care’

You need to know which you are because it affects the way that decisions are made.

Provided with accommodation

You are ‘provided with accommodation’ when the Council and your parents agree that it is in your best interests to live away from home for a while.

  • We provide somewhere for you to live away from home as a way of helping you and your family through difficult times
  • It is a voluntary arrangement between us and your parents. This means that your parents still make decisions about your life. The law says that your parents have ‘parental responsibility’ for you
  • We and your parents must decide together how you are looked after
  • You can be accommodated for any length of time and at any age, for a few days, for weeks, months or if necessary until you become 18. We will try to make this as short a time as possible by helping your family so you can return home
In Care
  • We help families to make sure children and young people are properly cared for. Sometimes, it might not be safe for a young person to stay at home.
  • If we cannot work out with your parents how to make sure you are safe, we may decide to go to court for an Order. We will only do this if there is no other way of keeping you safe, and we have a plan which will be better for you than staying with your family.
  • If the court decides that it would be better for you not to live at home, it can make a "Care Order"If a Care Order is made, then you are "in care".
  • When you are in care, we share responsibility for decisions about your life with your parents. This means that sometimes we may make decisions that your parents disagree with.
  • The Care Order will last until you are 18. But we, or your parents, can ask a court to end the ‘Care Order’ earlier than this. The court will only agree to do this if it decides that you would be safe without the Care Order.


 Short breaks

Some children and young people are ‘provided with accommodation’ by spending most of their time living at home with their family, but also regularly living with a carer or at a childrens home for a short time. For example, they may live away from home every other weekend. This is called having a ‘short break’.  Children and young people who have ‘short breaks’ have the same rights as other children in care.

Adoption, click here 


 If you would like to know more about the law and how it affects you - ask your carer or social worker

Or click here