Local Authorities provide a range of services for children, young people and their families. We have a legal duty under The Children Act 1989 to help and protect children in need

Local Authority Care

Every local authority has a general duty to promote the welfare of children in need in their area and to enable children to be brought up by their families by providing a range of support services to the child and the family. This includes such services as advice, counselling, placement in family centres, day care provision, provision of holidays and recreational activities, and in exceptional circumstances, cash help.

There is some considerable variation of the definition of a ‘child in need’ between one local authority and the next in terms of the practical assistance, which is offered to families.

Full details of the services available can be found at CitizensAdvice.

More information on Social Services help for families with children can be found at nhs.co.uk.

Care Orders

A care order is a court order that places a child under the care of a local authority. The local authority then shares parental responsibility for the child with the parents, and will make most of the important decisions about the child's upbringing, such as where they live and how they are educated.

A care order can only be made for children under the age of seventeen (or under sixteen if the child is married). The order ceases to have effect at age eighteen unless brought to an end earlier.

Full details of what it means if your child is taken into care can be found at GOV.UK.

Further details of Care Orders and what it means to you and your child can be found at CitizensAdvice.

For information about leaving local authority care visit GOV.UK.

The following charitable organisations offer advice and support:

Family Rights Group can advise you if you are a parent, friend or relative and social workers are involved in your child’s life, or you need extra support from Children’s Services

Become aims to help children and young people who are in the care system or looked after by the local authority to manage their lives more constructively in the absence of family support.

Coram Voice provides advocacy services for children and young people in care, needing care or leaving care. Their contact details are Voice provides advocacy services for children and young people in care, needing care or leaving care.

SOS Children's Villages is a global authority on nurturing and supporting families  providing direct care for orphans and abandoned children, and work with local communities to keep fragmenting families together.

The Adolescent and Children’s Trust (TACT) campaign on behalf of children in care and on the edge of care by influencing politicians and the media to do everything possible to ensure that looked after children achieve their aspirations.

Contact a Family is the only national charity that exists to support the families of disabled children whatever their condition or disability. 

Chailey Heritage Foundation provides education, care, residential accommodation and a transition service for children and young people with complex physical disabilities, communication, sensory and learning difficulties and health needs.

Hope and Homes for Children is an international charity working to ensure that all children grow up in the love of a family. We are leading experts in closing orphanages and ensuring families are at the centre of children’s welfare.

Lumos is a charity which is working to transform the lives of disadvantaged children by facilitating the end of institutional care for good.

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