Looked After Children

Looked After Children

 

Looked After Children & Care Leavers

What is a Looked After Child?

In UK law, a Looked After Child (LAC) is a child who is accommodated by the Local Authority for more than 24 hours. Legally, this could be when they are subject to planned or emergency Care Orders, in a secure children’s home or youth offender institution, unaccompanied asylum seeking children or Looked After with their parents’ agreement.  A child will stop being “Looked After” when they are adopted, return home or reach the age of 18 years. Presently the Local Authority continues to support children leaving care until the age of 21. Social care responsibilities for Care Leavers (CL) over the age of 21 are due to change under the recently published Children and Social Work Act (2017), which enables care leavers to request support up to the age of 25, regardless of whether or not they are in education.

 

Local Landscape

East and North Hertfordshire and Herts Valley CCGs are the responsible commissioners of health services for Looked After Children, regardless of whether the placement is in or out of the county.

The number of Looked After Children in Hertfordshire has continued to decrease significantly since June 2016, opposing the national trend. Age ranges for those children in care in the county may be seen in the table below.

Year

(Q4)

Under 1 year

Ages 1-4

Ages 5-9

Ages 10-15

Ages 16-18

Total

2014

60

169

184

359

265

1037

2015

50

159

183

352

297

1041

2016

56

139

200

303

306

1004

2017

35

92

142

391

258

918

 

Children placed out of county represent 33% of the total Looked After Children population, lower than the national average of 38% (DfE, 2016).

Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children

 

The number of unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children in Hertfordshire has increased due to the National re-dispersal programme. To date, there are 77 unaccompanied children under the age of 18, representing 8% of the total Looked After population which is higher than the national average of 6%.

Care Leavers

 

There are currently 538 care leavers aged 18 years and over under the care of Hertfordshire Children Services. 11% are over the age of 21 (supported whilst still in education). This number is expected to increase substantially, reflecting the recent change in legislation (Children and Social Work Bill, 2017).

Last modified: 

04 Apr 2018