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Reasons why children or 

young people go into care


Courtney Lloyd 

In this booklet i am going to look into the reasons why children and young people are placed into care. First i will be looking into detail about The Children Act 1989/2004 and the other legal routes that are taken throughout the process. Secondly i will look into child-related reasons why children or young people may be taken into care and then family-related reasons. Finally i will give my summary of this booklet in my final paragraph.

The legal routes into care are in place in order to keep children and young people safe and protect them from any form of harm. The Children Act 1989/2004 is a piece of legislation which places duties on the local authorities in order for them to consider the welfare of all children and young people within their area. If a child is provided care by the local authorities they are then referred to as a “looked after” child. The Children Act 1989/2004 provides a basis for social services and other professional agencies on how to handle problems related to children or young people. The guidelines were made to ensure that all children and young people were being looked after in the best way possible in the eyes of the law. One of the main sections relating to looked after children is section 20. In the case of section 20 the parents are able to retain their parental responsibilities. Whereas if a parent dies or is incapacitated the local authorities then have a duty of care towards that child or young person to provide them with safe and suitable living accommodation. Children can also be put under this section with the consent of their parent or guardian. Another section relating to looked after children is section 31 this is a care order which is put into place when the parents of the young person or child can't be trusted so the duty of care for the child is taken from their responsibility and the authorities will then take over the duty of care for the child.

Child or young person related reasons to why a child may be taken into care would be if the child has behavioural needs and are a risk to their family and themselves. Some possible causes of changes within a child's or young person's behaviour that could lead to further problems for the child, young person or their families are stress, anxiety, depression, OCD and phobias.  If the individual has learning difficulties this could result them being put into care because the parents cannot provide the individual with the care they require  or are unable to cope with the challenges they face with the young individual this could lead to rejection. It can be helpful if the child is looked after away from the family environment this could be temporary but could also lead to be a permanent measure if the child needs special assistance. Respite care would also give the family and the young person time to relax and ensures the parent is having time to themselves and they are well equipped for when the child returns to the family home. Children and young people with disabilities may be apart of a family where the parents are under a lot of pressure and have a lot of responsibilities from other children or young people within the family for example another one of the family members may have learning difficulties and require assistance. With the demands of the other family members it may be decided for the child to have the best possible care for them could be provided elsewhere from the family home. The child or young person may have been diagnosed with an illness or a condition in which it is difficult for them to live within the family home this results in alternative arrangements being made for the individual for either long or short term care whichever is agreed by the family. For many young individuals who get caught up in trouble and end up with offences and breaking the law it can end up with the young person being remanded or detained. When a young person has been involved within criminal activity this can lead to them being put into long or short term care if the parents are unable to cope with their behaviour.

Family related reasons to why a child maybe taken into care would be if there has been a bereavement or upheaval within the family this can lead to the child or young person being very vulnerable as they have faced a big ordeal. They may have been affected by damaging and traumatic experiences as a result of this they may have learnt to hide their emotions. This can lead to them having great difficulty with their education and often lead to them falling behind the majority of the other individuals within their class. The ability to concentrate will be affected and specific needs may need to be addressed but apart from this in some children's and young persons lives school is the only sense of stability they have and everything else in their day to day life may be in turmoil. Parental illness or incapacity in this case children and young people find themselves being looked after in various different ways. The parents may just be temporarily unwell or are finding it hard to cope in which means the child is able to return to the family home when the parents situation improves this will mean they will spend time with foster carers. The length of time they spend away from home will vary on the circumstances. The circumstances can be anything from family bereavement, parental illness or incapacity, mental health problems and substance abuse. A family unit could breakdown due to violence and the child may require care that could be temporary or even permanent. If a child is being abused professionals would need to remove the child from the situation for their safety and well being. In situations that abuse has taken place child may require sensitive care and therapy later on to help them to come to terms with what has happened. If a child or young person has been a victim of maltreatment it is principal that they are removed from the location in which the maltreatment has taken place this can be with another family member or with foster carers. These procedures may also be taken if there is suspected maltreatment towards a child the safety and well being of the child is the main factor while the allegations are being investigated.

In summary to this booklet circumstances can vary for each child and every case is different and there can be various different reasons why children or young people end up going into long or short term care. I have referred to a piece of legislation which is relevant to this and talked about the legal routes that have to be taken when in a situation like this.