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?
- When you come into care Hackney promises to be honest with you about the reasons for being looked-after by the local authority and tell you about decisions that are being made. Hackney promises to share as much information with you as they can about your future carers.
- They promise to listen to you about where and who you would like to live with. If they can’t provide exactly what you have asked for they will explain why this is.
- They promise that, wherever possible, you will know about and be ready for any changes that are coming. They promise that they will talk to you and discuss if and how you can be supported to stay in touch with your family and friends.
- Hackney promises to listen, respect and support you in working out your dreams and ambitions and in helping you achieve them, including through making sure that you get good education opportunities that match your needs.
- Hackney promises to do it’s best to help you to get better when you are unwell and to help you to stay well and learn to look after yourself as you get older.
- Hackney promises to make sure that your needs, thoughts and ideas are taken seriously, that you are at the centre of all meetings about you (even if you are not able to attend) that you are supported to take part in a way that you feel happy with.
- Hackney promises that at every stage in your life, you will know what options are available to you to be able to make the right choices. That you will be helped to find someone who you can speak to if you are unhappy about anything, including anything that Hackney are doing or have done.
- As you get older we will prepare you to become an adult and support you to make the decisions that are right for you and that you will always have someone to talk to.
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