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Looked after children or children who are in care

What do we mean when we say a child or young person is looked after? 

The term 'looked-after' was introduced by the Children Act 1989 as a way of refering to children and young people who are:

  • under the age of 18
  • live away from their parents or family
  • are supervised by a social worker from the local council children’s services department.

A looked-after child may either be accommodated or subject to a Care Order made by the Family Courts. Accommodated means the council is looking after a child or young person with the agreement, at the request or in the absence of their parents. 

A child or young person who is looked after can be subject to different legal rules, either:

  • the parent retains full parental responsibility, or
  • if a child is subject to a Care Order, parental responsibility is shared between the council and the child's parents.

What is Hackney’s pledge to looked after children and young people?

How does Hackney understand what looked-after children and young people need? 

Hackney Gets Heard is the local Children in Care Council that represents the views of children and young people in care. Their role is to make sure the promises in Hackney's pledge to Looked-after Children are kept.

The Children in Care Council is responsible for working with looked-after children's services, ensuring that all children and young people in care receive a quality service.

If you want to know more you can contact the Participation Manager on: 07772 227 319

What is a Children’s Rights Officer? 

The Children’s Rights Officer is a trained advocate who works with Hackney's social workers. An advocate is someone who helps make it possible for you to speak up and be heard. They can support you to make your views clear in meetings or when decisions are being made. 

The role of the Children’s Rights Officer is to support children and young people in care, to make sure their rights are defended and safeguarded; to provide information and help young people detangle and interpret what is happening to them.

What can the Children’s Rights Officer help with?

The Children’s Rights Officer will be able to give you advice, help to get things fixed and explain your rights to you. They can also come to meetings with you if you need an advocate or help you tell your social worker or other workers anything you need to say.

If you are unhappy with the service you receive, they can help you make a complaint to Hackney Children’s Social Care.

Why does Hackney have a Children’s Right Officer?

Hackney wants young people to have a positive experience of Hackney. Young peoples opinion is important to us and we want you to have a say in decisions that affect you.

Anything you tell the Children’s Rights Officer will be confidential (unless you tell them something they think will place you or other people at risk). You get to decide what information is shared with others.

How do I contact the Children’s Rights Officer?

The Children’s Rights Officer works Monday to Friday, so you should usually be able to reach them quite easily. If they can’t answer your call or email straightaway, they will get back to you in 2 working days.

Phone: 0208 356 2444


Page last modified: 19.02.21

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