Children in Care
It is important to take into consideration the reasons why a child might be taken into care and also what can be done to return a child to their family home if they have been taken into care.
Care OrdersA care order is issued when there is reason for a child or children to be taken into care and looked after under the umbrella of the local authority. In essence, a care order is a legally binding order that gives the local authority temporary guardianship over the child or children, and enables the authority to make whatever decisions are necessary as to the child's wellbeing.
Where Do Children in Care Live?This is something that the local authority will decide upon once they have been awarded temporary Guardianship. For the most part the choice of how to house a child taken into care is one of three.
- Foster Homes
- Children's Homes
- Living with a Relative
Foster HomesA foster home is normal home children go to for a temporary period when they can't stay with their own parents. Foster couples who can be married, cohabiting or same sex partners, and will be vetted by the Local Authority to ensure suitability and also to judge what strengths and weaknesses they have as temporary guardians.
Children's HomesChildren's homes can be run directly by the Local Authority or can be maintained by charitable or private organisations with assistance from the Local Authority.
There is a common misconception that living in a children's home can be almost like living under a regime, but the truth of the matter is that children's homes attempt to maintain as much a semblance of normality for the children living in them as possible. The children attend local schools as they would normally, and are encouraged where possible to continue to integrate into the community.
Living with a RelativeWhere possible, the Local Authority will try to place a child with a family member who can provide them with stability and a sense of continuity. This family member may be an aunt, a sister or even a grandmother, but again the Local Authority will make the decision based upon the information given to them and also based upon the wishes of the child or children involved.
If, however, there is an issue regarding parental interference, then the Local Authority may well decline an application by a family member and opt for the placement of the children in either a foster home or a children's home.
It is important to remember that although the taking of children into care is something that no parent wishes to contemplate, it can sometimes be the only way of ensuring the safety of a child or children.
And also it is important to consider that the removal of children from their family home is a very last resort. All other avenues of securing the children's safety will be explored to the fullest before such a decision is reached.
For more information, contact your local Social Services department or Local Authority.