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Reasons why children and young people go into care or need to be supported in their life.

By Shelby Elizabeth Williams


In this booklet I am going to explain and give reasons to why some children and young people have to be supported in life and why some have to go into care.

There are many different reasons to why children and young people have to go into care. However, this isn’t always necessarily due to the child’s behaviour. 

      Firstly, the Children Act 1989/2004 the local authorities holds policies to consider the welfare of children in their area. They look at why some children need extra support and care. Both mentally and physically. 

If a child needs to cared for and supported by the local authority then they are known as “looked after”

The children act is a law in which they look at children’s life and how they’re treated to refine the law concerning children and their needs.  

There is two different ways in which children can get put into care and these are section 20 and 31.

Section 20

Section 20 is when a child has to go into care due to the loss of their parents or if their parent is incapacitated and is longer capable of looking after their children. This can be due to bereavement or upheavel or parental illness . The local authority has a duty of care to provide that child with suitable living arrangements. 

A child can also be placed under this sector if their parents have asked for them to be “looked after” due to their behaviour and if they feel they need to be supported into becoming more behaved. If they do this the parents do still remain to have parental responsibility.

Basically,  section 20 of the Children Act 1989  is about the LA’s duty to provide a child with somewhere to live because the child doesn’t currently have a home, or a safe home:

  • there isn’t anyone who has parental responsibility for him (for e.g. an asylum seeking child who has come to the UK on his own);
  • the child has been lost or abandoned;
  • the person who has been caring for the child can’t provide him with a suitable home, whatever the reason for this and regardless of whether this is short term or long term problem.

Section 31

Section 31 is when the local authority believe that a child is not receiving a good quality of care from their parents and if they believe that a child’s welfare is at risk they may decide to remove the child from their home. This is usually if they feel the child is getting abused or neglected or their parents are incapable of looking after their children. This could be due to drug use or alcohol. 

If the parent opposes to this or in circumstances when they authority that they should no longer have responsibility over their child they have to go through the section 31 care order.

If this does happen and the local authority do take the child away from their parents under section 31 the parents lose all responsibility over their child and then they have to inform Social Services of their concerns. 

      Local autority should provide accomidation for any child in their area that they believe appears to be abandoned or has no one to take responsibility of them. The court can only make a care order if they child has likely suffered from significant harm.

However, there are a variety of reasons why some children and young people behaves in the way they do. Many reasons for this can be from family. These reasons could be loss of a close family member, family problems like divorce or family secrets. Illness in the family or suspected or actual abuse or neglect. This can push the child to breaking point causing the child or young person to lose focus on their school work or college work ect and behave in a bad way. Sometimes called going “off track” they may start reacting differently to situations and they may suffer with depression and not see any positivity in anything they do. Meaning they may give up and start to mix with the wrong group of people and committing crimes ect. The young person could already have learning disabilities such as ADHD so they may find it hard to stay calm, concentrate and not stay focussed on anything.


My main points of this booklet was to explain why there are different reasons that children and young people go into care or have support and show what they are.

so, to do this I explained what section 20 and section 31 is. 

My overall aim was to give out more knowledge and information on why children and young people go into care so that people understand the reasons more clearly and to explain what the local authorities do in order to help children and young people.