Looked-After Children

Approximately 60,000 children and young people are looked after by local authorities in England (sometimes called ’in care’). There are around 200 looked-after children in Reading.

We will do everything we can to prevent a child becoming looked after but sometimes this is unavoidable. Where it is not possible for parents to meet the needs of a child we sometimes have to arrange for children and young people to live away from home. This may be for short periods of time or for longer.

To help us decide what is appropriate we will carry out an assessment, which will include parents’ views and those of the child or children involved if they are able to understand.

A child may become looked after as a result of:

  • A voluntary arrangement between the parents and the local authority, known as being ’accommodated’;
  • Coming into police protection because the child is in immediate danger;
  • Being subject to a court order, such as an Emergency Protection Order or a Care Order due to family crisis or child abuse (see Court Orders page below for further information);
  • Being remanded in criminal proceedings.

Children can be looked after:

  • by friends or relatives (kinship care) arranged by Reading Council or with our agreement;
  • by one of Readings foster carers;
  • in a children’s home, although this is rare;
  • in a boarding school (though not all children in boarding school are looked after by us);
  • on occasion a child can be living at home while on care orders made by the courts.

Short Breaks
We sometimes provide children with a series of short breaks away from their homes (also known as respite). This does not mean your child is looked after unless there are particular circumstances that mean they are, and this would always be discussed and agreed as appropriate.