The best place for most children to be is with their families. However, some children in Cambridgeshire come into care and are 'Looked After' by the Council because they cannot be supported by their own families. Some children and young people just need to be looked after for a short period before returning to their family; others need to be looked after for much longer. When they become Looked After, wherever possible, we try to keep children in the same family together.
Children may be Looked After under a voluntary agreement with their parents (sometimes called Section 20 accommodation), or sometimes we ask for agreement through the Courts. We will always look to other family members to provide alternative care in the first instance. Where this is not possible, the majority of Looked after Children are placed with foster carers and for a few children a residential placement in a children's home is more appropriate. Some young people aged 16 and 17 may be supported in a more independent arrangement such as supported lodgings or supported accommodation.
We encourage contact with children's families and try to find ways and means by which they can return home where it is safe to do so. All looked after children will have an allocated social worker who visits them regularly and talks to them and their family about what help they need, and what the plans are for the short term and longer term.