A child may be taken into care for numerous reasons, such as due to abuse or neglect in the household, parental incarceration, a death of a parent, abandonment or substance abuse. However, often people are unsure of what happens when the child actually is taken into care – and what the next steps are in this process.
Initially, the child will be taken into care by social services or the local authority. This may be premeditated, such as if the parents are unwell or if they are aware that they’re facing incarceration – however, it may be that social services have been advised to intervene due to a concern for the child’s welfare in the home.
This concern could have come from the child themselves, depending on their age and capabilities, but it could also have stemmed from a neighbour, a friend, a family member or a teacher. At this point, it is social services’ duty to step in and examine the situation. If the local authority are worried about the child, they can begin ‘care proceedings’ – and then apply for a ‘care order’, meaning that the local authority will have parental responsibility for the child. Learn more about care proceedings and care orders from GOV.UK.
Once a child is taken into care, the local authority will then become involved in sharing the responsibility for making most of the important decisions regarding the child’s welfare and upbringing. These decisions include:
The local authority will then also be responsible for:
It’s at this point that arrangements would be made for the child in order to provide a secure, safe environment for them – which could come in the form of staying with another family member, living in a children’s home, or being placed in the care of a foster parent.
Thinking of becoming a foster carer? As a foster parent, you are helping young people and children improve their standard of living, providing a loving, nurturing home for those in need.
There are certain fostering requirements that you’ll need to meet in order to be a foster carer – such as being older than 21 years of age, having a spare bedroom in your home, and being physically healthy. However, as long as you meet these initial criteria, your religion, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and marital status will not be a deciding factor on your eligibility of becoming a foster carer.