Looked after children

Children and young people come in to care for lots of different reasons, either because their parents can't look after them or it's not safe for them to live at home. When they come in to care they're looked after by Plymouth City Council.

When parents ask for help

If a parent asks for our help because their child can't stay at home, we'll make sure they're found somewhere to live where they'll be safe and cared for. Parental responsibility stays with the parent or guardian.

When the child is at risk of harm

If a child is at risk of being harmed, we can apply to a court for a care order. When a care order is made we'll share parental responsibility for the child with the parent or guardian. This includes making most of the important decisions about the child's upbringing, including:

  • who looks after them
  • where they live
  • how they're educated

Care order

A care order is given by a court and allows us to take a child into care. The court decides if the child can be taken into care. Care orders last until:

  • the child's 18th birthday
  • an order is made giving parental responsibility to another person, such as through adoption
  • the court lifts the order (this is called 'discharging' the order)

Looking after children in care

When a child comes in to care they may be placed with either:

  • another relative
  • a foster carer
  • a children's home

We're responsible for:

  • making sure that an appropriate standard of care is provided
  • making sure only suitable people are employed to look after the child
  • providing proper training and support to staff and foster carers
  • listening to the parent and child's views about care arrangements and taking their religion, race, culture and background into account
  • making sure the child has someone independent to talk to and knows how to complain if necessary