What happens when a child is taken into care?


Placing a child in care is never a decision that is taken lightly. However, it is the responsibility of parents, guardians and local authorities to ensure that every child has access to a happy home life. Sometimes, this is only possible by placing a child into care.

Why might a child be placed into care?

There are a number of reasons a child might be placed into care, but all of them revolve around the welfare, safety and wellbeing of the child.

A child may be placed into care if any of the following issues to the child’s welfare are identified:

  • Abuse - emotional, verbal, physical or sexual abuse.
  • Neglect - not taking care of the basic needs of a child or not seeking medical attention for them.
  • Parental illness or death - if a parent is very ill, or passes away, and there is no suitable relative or friend who could care for the child, it may be deemed best to place them in care.
  • Imprisonment - if a parent is sentenced to prison and no suitable carer can be found within the family, children are often placed in care.
  • Abandonment - if a parent abandons their child (or children) and they cannot be traced, nor can a suitable relative be found to care for the child, they will be taken into care.

Find out more about the reasons why children are taken into care.

What happens when a child is taken into care?

Before a child is taken into care, social workers and local authorities will have worked with the family as much as possible to try and ensure the child can stay with them. This may be over a period as long as a year in order to assess and work on measures to improve the child’s home life and welfare.

The local authority who have been working with the family and the child affected will make an assessment to determine the level of care needed to suit the child’s situation. Very young children will have different needs to teenagers and it’s important that a suitable home is found.

The local authority will then also be responsible for:

  • Ensuring that only suitable people are approved to look after the child
  • Ensuring that an appropriate standard of care is provided
  • Supplying proper training and support to staff and foster carers
  • Making sure the child has someone independent to talk to
  • Ensuring that the child knows how to raise concerns if necessary
  • Listening to the child’s and the parent’s views about care arrangements – as well as taking their religion, race, culture and background into account

We understand that for children of any age this can be a distressing time, so we work to provide a safe, calm home for them while long-term care plans are decided. At this time, we try to avoid disruption to the child’s life, including helping them attend the same school and encouraging visits with friends and family where possible or suitable.

Foster care services like Excel Fostering provide short term or temporary fostering placements in these kinds of circumstances to help change a young person’s life. We work to match foster families with children to ensure a calm transition for the child as much as possible, and we want to reunite families wherever it is safe and beneficial to do so.

If you’d like to find out more about how to become a foster carer and start changing the lives of children, please contact a member of the Excel Fostering team.

Thinking of fostering?

If you’ve got any questions or would like to find out more about fostering with Capstone, fill out the form below.
An experienced fostering advisor from your local area will then be in touch.

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