What is care?

If you are looked after or in care, it means Wirral Council has been given the job of making sure you are safe and properly cared for.

The Children Act (1989) said that when a court is deciding whether a child should go into care or stay at home, the most important thing is what is best for you.

Why do some children and young people live in care?

There are lots of reasons why someone might come into care:

  • their parents may be unable to look after them due to illness or family problems, which could include abuse or neglect
  • the courts may feel that their home is not a safe place to live
  • they may be placing themselves or others in significant danger.

What types of care are there?

There are different types of care:

  • foster care; most children in care will be placed in foster care. You are cared for by a person or people who are not members of your own birth family. There are different types of foster care.
  • some young people are placed in children’s residential homes
  • adoption is when you legally become part of a new family and they take responsibility for looking after you forever
  • connected persons or family and friends care is where you are cared for by other family members such as grandparents, aunts or uncles
  • residential care; Children’s Homes are often houses in the community which have residential workers who support you to live there. The number of children living in the same place as you can vary during the time you stay there

What does the law say?

To help decide what is best for you, the court have to think about:

  • how you feel and what you want to happen
  • what you need to feel happy and grow up well
  • how old you are, what your personality is like and how you would be affected by going into care
  • how well your parents or someone else who cares for you can look after you
  • whether you have been hurt or not looked after well enough and how likely it is that this could happen again.

How would I get placed in care?

  • an agreement between your family and Children’s Services means you can be ‘accommodated’
  • sometimes we need to go to court and ask for a care order if we can’t agree about the plan for you
  • the courts only make care orders for children or young people when they feel that the child or young person’s health, safety and welfare has to be protected
  • this means Children’s Services then share responsibility for your care with your parents
  • a care order can last until you are aged 18 years old

What else can the courts decide?

  • if a child can be adopted
  • if a young person can be brought up in a different religion to the one they would have had if they’d stayed with their family
  • if a child can live outside the UK for more than 28 days