Looked-after children in care

Information on when children and young people come into care, what happens, why they have come into care, how long they will be in care, do they get a social worker, where they will live, the difference between their real and foster parents, who to talk to, support when children leave care and where to get further information.

Why do children and young people come into care?

The council has a legal obligation to safeguard and promote the welfare of children who are in need. All councils have the legal obligation to identify the extent to which children in their area are in need, and to safeguard and promote their welfare. On some occasions, despite our best efforts, it is impossible to maintain the health, wellbeing, and safety of a child in their own home or family environment.

In this case, either for a short time or a longer time if the difficulties cannot be sorted out, a child or young person may need to be separated or removed from the family home. If it is necessary for a child or young person to leave their home, we will always see if they can stay with a relative or family friend as a first choice rather than place them with people they do not know.

The following PDF documents outline the promise made by the council to all young children in care or leaving care:

Pledge for Children in Care leaflet (pdf 2.9mb)

East Riding of Yorkshire Council is committed to ensuring the needs of looked-after children are met the looked-after children's strategy below reviewed the Council's pledge to looked-after children by consulting with children and young people themselves:

Looked-After Children's Strategy (pdf 4mb)

What happens if I have to go into care?

It can be quite an upsetting and confusing time when you have to live away from home in strange surroundings, with new people and new rules. No matter what the reason may be for you coming into care, East Riding of Yorkshire Council will try its utmost to help make your stay comfortable, and your environment safe for you to live in.

The length of time you will be looked-after in care will depend on a lot of things; it maybe a few weeks or it may be much longer. The people looking after and caring for you, for example, your carers and your social worker, will help you and talk to you about what is happening.

When you are in care we will consider how best to help you in the following areas of your life:


It is important that the people caring for you make sure you are healthy and well and understand any special health needs you have.


It is important now that we try to make sure that your schooling is not interrupted when you are being looked after. A school is not just for learning but it is where you meet friends and learn how to do new things, e.g. hobbies. We want you to be able to achieve as well as you can while you are in care, not just at school but in out of school activities too:

Annual Report of the Virtual Headteacher (pdf 1mb)


This area is all about you, who you are and how you think about yourself. We want to help you to feel positive about yourself despite what may have happened to you.

Family and social relationships

This section looks at your family and friends and how best to keep in touch with them.

Social presentation

This is about how you look and sound and behave, also to see how other people see you.

Emotional and behavioural development

How you are thinking and feeling, whether you are happy or sad can affect how you behave and how you get on with people. You may need some extra help if you have been through a difficult time and we will try to help with this.

Self-care skills

This is about how you are able to look after yourself, something you begin to learn very young. We want to help you to be able to look after yourself well and to feel confident about yourself.

Why have I come into care?

The reason why you have come into care will be unique to you. However, there are two different ways in which you can go into care.

Firstly, your parents may have asked for you to be looked-after. If we agree that this is the best thing for you at the moment, we will agree to this. The legal wording for this is 'being accommodated'.

The second way is if you have been harmed at home or someone has a good reason to believe that you are in danger of being harmed, we will undertake an investigation and may ‘look after’ you until such time as we believe that it is safe for you to go home. If it is not safe for you to go home, we may ask the court to make a care order. If the court agrees, children's social care (social services) then has responsibility for looking after you and making sure you are safe.

Children’s social care will continue to work with your parents and ensure that you see your parents regularly if you want this and it is safe for you to do so.

How long will I be in care?

This will depend on your circumstances and the reasons why you have come into care. We always plan that children go home as soon as possible if this is safe and in their best interests. The important consideration is what is best for you. While you are in care, you will have a care plan which is based on an assessment of your needs and what needs to happen to help and support you.

This care plan is reviewed regularly in a meeting with you. People involved in your care are also invited and your views and wishes are taken into account. All children and young people in care have a social worker who has a special responsibility for working with you and your family and is one of the people you can talk to if you have a problem.

Why do I have a social worker?

Your social worker's job is to make sure children's social care (social services) are looking after you in the best possible way and to make plans with yourself and your family about how you will be cared for in the future.

Who will look after me and where will I live when I am in care?

There are several places where you might live.

If you live in a children's home you will live in a home with other young people and be cared for by care workers who do not live in the home. They work there during the day and some of them stay through the night.

If you are fostered you will be living with your foster carer in their home. There may be other children in the home as well as you. These children may be the foster carers’ own children or other children in care.

Further information can be found on the residential care page.

What are the differences between my real parents and my foster parents?

Your foster parents will look after you on a day-to-day basis, however, your parents will be consulted about decisions that are important to you and them.

Who do I talk to if I have other questions about being in care?

There are probably many more questions which you will want to ask, and it is important you do ask all these questions! A special pack will be given to you when you come into care, which gives answers to the questions which we are usually asked and which children in care have said are important things for you to know about. You will be able to talk to your carer and your social worker about any things you are not sure about or are worried about.

The children's participation and rights team provide a range of children's rights, advocacy and participation activities for targeted groups such as children in care, children who have involvement with social services, or children with a disability. Further information can be found on the children's participation and rights team page.

Who will support me when I leave care?

You will be supported by the pathway team which provides the East Riding of Yorkshire's leaving care services. Further information can be found on the leaving care services page.

I have a general query, so where do I go for further information?

For all initial contacts and new referrals into children's social care please contact us on (01482) 395500 between 8am and 6pm.

Alternatively, you can email us: safeguardingchildrenshub@eastriding.gov.uk

Details of the contact will be passed on to the relevant children’s social care team to respond. Referrals will be acknowledged by the receiving team.

Further information is available on the Department for Education website.

Department for Education - children in care (external website)

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