What it means to be looked after or in care

Being in care or ‘looked after’ means a child is being looked after by the Local Authority because they cannot remain at home
Two young men sit on a bench

Being in care or ‘looked after’ happens when it is not safe for a child to stay at home, or because your parents cannot look after you.

When this happens, Oxfordshire County Council takes on some of the parental responsibility for you. 

Take action: Children and young people have their say in how they are looked after. Find out more on the Children in Care Council page.

Care plan

The county council agrees a care plan with you and your parents/ carers. This says:

  • where you go to school/college
  • when you see your family
  • what you want now
  • what you want to do in the future

Other people who will be involved with your care plan include foster carers and other people concerned with your care, like teachers.

Crucial: Your care plan may change over time so we review it regularly to make sure that your changing needs are met.

Your family

It’s very important that you are able to keep in touch with your family while you are looked after, if it is safe for you to do so. You can do this by:

  • writing letters (and drawing pictures, if you like!)
  • picking up the phone to say hello
  • visiting your family and maybe staying for the night.

If you are unhappy about seeing your parents or any other person, let your social worker know why. You really don't have to have contact with someone if you don't want to.

Your friends

Friends are a great support. You will be supported to carry on your life with as little disruption as possible. This means your carer or social worker should support you to keep in touch with friends. 

Help and support

Help and support is available from your carer, social worker, and other services.

But sometimes you might feel you need more support. 

Advocacy is a way of helping children and adults to have their voice heard about important things.

Advocacy can help people of all ages to

  • have their voices heard on issues that are important to them
  • safeguard and defend their rights
  • gain personal skills which can also be used elsewhere

Find out more about how to get advocacy for children in care in Oxfordshire.

Find out more

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