Children come into the care of the Local Authority for a variety of reasons, but mainly it is due to parents being unable to provide them with a safe and nurturing home. Sometimes this is due to circumstances out of their control.
Other reasons include:
- The parent is unable to adequately provide the type of care the child needs
- The parent may have an illness or another temporary problem within the family
- The parent may have died
- The parent has decided to have the child adopted
- The parent has asked the Local Authority to ‘accommodate’ their child (they have voluntarily placed their child in care)
- The child has voluntarily placed itself in care (young people who are 16+ years may ask for this)
- Recently arrived unaccompanied minors who have no adults in the UK who can care for them
- Young mothers and their babies may also require additional support from the Local Authority
Some children enter the care system after being known to Social Services for many years. This means that their family situation had been previously recognised by Social Services as being of concern and needing support and close monitoring. Other children come into care suddenly and very little is known about them or their past life experiences.
Every child that comes into care has suffered loss and often this is coupled with trauma and abuse. Some children may have witnessed domestic violence or a parent’s struggle with mental health or drug and alcohol abuse. Some have witnessed the brutalities of war and lost all other family members.
Not all children who enter the care system remain in care. Some children return home after family assessments have been completed and deemed positive.
All children are entitled to feel safe and free from harm, giving them the opportunity to thrive in the best possible way. When children and young people are not able to live with their birth parents or other family members, fostering provides them with the chance to experience a safe and supportive family enviroinment.