Looked After Children (LAC)

In this essay I will be concentrating on Looked After Children ( LAC ) as my service user group and place relevant Torahs associating to the service user group and so place recent policies which underpin this facet of pattern, and discourse the values which underpin the jurisprudence in this country of pattern and eventually associate these statute law to my arrangement pattern.

Definition of the term ‘looked after ‘ ?

The term ‘looked after ‘ was introduced by the Children Act 1989 and refers to kids who are capable to care orders and those who are voluntarily accommodated. Wherever possible, the local authorization ( LA ) will work in partnership with parents ( Pierson and Thomson, 2002 ) .

Many kids will hold been affected by straitening and detrimental experiences including physical and sexual maltreatment and disregard. Some may be in attention because of the unwellness or decease of a parent. Others may hold disablements and complex demands. The bulk of immature people in attention come from households who experience troubles and are separated from them because their household was unable to supply equal attention. Vulnerable unaccompanied bush leagues seeking refuge in the UK may besides go looked after ( Department of Education and Skills, 2004 ) .

The chief pieces of statute law underpinning societal services for kids and immature people are the Children Act 1989, the Children ( Leaving Care ) Act 2000 and the Adoption and Children Act 2002.

Local governments have specific legal responsibilities in regard of kids under the Children Act 1989 including:

To safeguard and advance the public assistance of kids in their country who are in demand Provided that this is consistent with the kid ‘s safety and public assistance, to advance the upbringing of such kids by their households, by supplying services appropriate to the kid ‘s demands, to do questions if they have sensible cause to surmise that a kid in their country is enduring, or probably to endure important injury, to enable them to make up one’s mind whether they should take any action to safeguard or advance the kid ‘s public assistance ( Brammer, 2007 ) .

Children ( Leaving Care ) Act 2000 topographic points duties on local governments to supply greater support to immature people populating in and go forthing attention. These include:

A responsibility to measure and run into the demands of immature people aged 16 and 17 who qualify for the new agreements, the proviso of a personal advisor and tract program for all immature people aged 16 to 21, or beyond for those who qualify for the new agreements, a responsibility to help those go forthing attention, including with employment, instruction and preparation ( the responsibility to help with instruction and preparation and to supply a personal advisor and tract program continues for every bit long as a immature individual remains in an in agreement programme, even beyond the age of 21 ( Brayne and Carr ( 2005 ) ) .

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Adoption and Children Act 2002

This act aligns acceptance jurisprudence with the Children Act 1989 to do the kid ‘s public assistance the paramount consideration in all determinations to make with acceptance. It includes:

Commissariats to promote more people to follow looked after kids by assisting to guarantee that the support they need is available. A new, clear responsibility on local governments to supply an acceptance support service and a new right for people affected by acceptance to bespeak and have an appraisal of their demands for acceptance support services.Provisions to enable single twosomes to use to follow jointly, thereby widening the pool of possible adoptive parents.Stronger precautions for acceptance by bettering the legal controls on intercountry acceptance, set uping acceptances and advertisement kids for acceptance.A new ‘special care ‘ order to supply security and permanency for kids who can non return to their birth households, but for whom acceptance is non the most suited option and a responsibility on local governments to set up protagonism services for looked after kids and immature people go forthing attention in the context of ailments ( Department of Education and Skills,2004 ) .

The other cardinal facet of the responsibilities of LA ‘s in relation to kids looked after by them is the proviso of instruction. Every Child Matters ( 2000 ) , the Children Act 1989 ( s.22 ) ( 3 ) ( a ) ( and amended by subdivision 52 of the Children Act 2004 ) have stressed and reinforced the importance of the local authorization ‘s responsibility to advance LAC ‘s educational accomplishments.

In order to make so, a attention program needs to be produced, which would include a Personal Education Plan ( PEP ) . The PEP would look at the kid ‘s developmental demands in footings of his/her instruction and, as provinces by Every Child Matters ( 2000 ) , should be reviewed on a regular basis. Here, partnership and inter-professional/agency work is once more reinforced in order to run into the kid ‘s demands. Further, there is a demand for LA ‘s to promote LACs to hold wellness scrutinies, peculiarly regular cheques by GP ‘s, tooth doctors and lens makers. At the same clip to admit that a kid can decline this – holding respect to his/her age and apprehension ( Children Act 1989 ) ( s.38 ) ( 6 ) .

The value of the kid public assistance is incorporated in the every kid affairs ( 2003 ) policy which emphasise that looked after kids must be healthy, stay safe, enjoy and accomplish in life, do a positive part to society and accomplish economic well being ( Department of Education and Skills,2004 ) .

My 2nd arrangement was with an administration who deals with Children and Adolescents who suffer from Mental Health and besides have troubles with their position in UK. The squad specifically worked with ‘looked after kids ‘ ( LAC ) who were enduring from emotional and psychological behavioral jobs.

Whilst on my arrangement, s31 were used most frequently. The societal workers had to do certain that they had all the necessary paperss in topographic point before any action was taken. If a societal worker interfered, without authorized paperss from the tribunals, the birth parents could take tribunal action against the local governments.

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Legislation may at times be helpful or unhelpful for LAC. A positive facet of statute law is that the local authorization has a obligatory duty to do certain a attention program is in topographic point, in conformity with the 1989 Children Acts, s26 ( 2 ) and s31A program, within 10 yearss of the single being placed with the local authorization. This will do certain that the persons ‘ demands, positions and wants are taken into consideration when determinations are made. The kid ‘s parents or whoever holds parental duty, surrogate callings and an independent adviser may besides be present when the attention program is been drawn up. The attention program should include factors such as the person ‘s instruction and wellness demands, how frequently contact should be made with parent/siblings.

During my arrangement, I attended a reappraisal meeting, to discourse child tens who had merely been placed in a surrogate place. The surrogate carer was discoursing the problems she encountered with him, for illustration his disputing behaviour and him losing his siblings. Following the run intoing the societal workers decided to talk to child x, to place grounds for his behavior.

However, there are certain facets of the statute law that may at times be harmful to LAC. The Children Act 1989 s22 ( 3 ) topographic points an importance towards household stableness. This may non ever be in the child/young individual ‘s best involvement. Kinship attention may non ever be suited due to factors such as household kineticss, if the kid was taken off because of maltreatment or disregard or there could still be contact with the birth household. The above could hold a unfavourable consequence on the child/young individual ‘s well being.

Section 22 ( 5 ) of the Children Act 1989 provinces that all local authorization, have a responsibility, to see a kid ‘s cultural and cultural background, when puting them with surrogate carers. However, this may non ever be possible, for service users who are from the black and cultural minorities, due to the deficiency of black and cultural minority Foster carers ( Colton et al, 2001 ) . Harmonizing to Colton et Al ( 2001 ) there are a high proportion of black and cultural minority kids and immature people, particularly double heritage service users, who are looked after.

In today ‘s society, kids who are ‘looked after ‘ are considered to be amongst the most at hazard ( Every kid affair, 2004 ) . Numerous holding experienced adversity may be naive of their entitlements and therefore may non acquire their demands met. The linguistic communication frequently used within societal work is justice to be really complex and confounding for service users, particularly kids and immature people. Therefore Local governments and societal workers need to work in partnership with LAC, their households and bureaus in order to protect and look after service users. Legislation needs to be used appropriately in order to authorise service users. Research has shown when local governments and parents work together the results for the child/young individual, have a higher opportunity of working ( Thoburn et al, 1995 ) .

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Social workers hold a huge sum of authorization when transporting out their work therefore it is critical that they do non misapply this position. Social workers work within the restraints of policy and processs seeking to run into the demands of service users. ( Allen, 1998 ) . Good societal work pattern is working in partnership with all concerned. This may nevertheless do an instability between the service users/family and local authorization. For illustration, if the local authorization has to take a kid due to mistreat, the household may non ever hold. By holding consciousness and working in a brooding mode, with respect to one ‘s ain personal biass, values and attitudes will heighten safe societal work pattern with service users. Legislation at times may know apart either on a personal, cultural or structural degree ( Thompson, 2001 ) . It is the responsibility of all societal workers to be cognizant of this and dispute it, on all degrees. In the Children Act 1989, s22 ( 5 ) , tries to back up anti discriminatory pattern by given ‘due consideration to LAC spiritual and cultural demands, before puting them with surrogate carers ( Allen, 1998 ) .

It is of import that societal workers, who work with LAC and their households hold fast to the Children Act 1989.Understanding of the jurisprudence is highly of import. Besides societal workers need to be watchful and be cognizant of the challenge that they may run into when working within the legal model. It is of extreme importance that societal workers receive regular preparation to be kept informed with statute law and necessary accomplishments, which will assist to better their current pattern. Social workers need to do certain their pattern is anti-discriminatory, as to authorise service users and advance their liberty.


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  • Brammar, A. Socail Work Law,2007 ( 2nd edition ) , Pearson Education Ltd.
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  • Thoburn, J. ; Lewis, A and Shemmings, D. ( 1995 ) Paternalism or Partnership Family Involment in the Child Protection Process, Blackwell.
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