The Important Information: Facts And Terminology

Make Sense of the Language: Some Terminology You May Hear

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The world of Children Looked After has its own vocabulary, which may be difficult for individuals who are new to the profession to grasp. We've defined some of the most often-used words for you.

Children Looked After (CLA)

Looked after children and young people are those for whom the Local Authority (LA) has full or shared parental responsibility. In most situations, this means they are removed from their parents' care, placed in a different housing, and supported by LA agencies, charities, or independent organizations. Children will only be cared for until they reach the age of 18, and not after that.

Children in Care (CIC)

Children and young people cared after, as well as youngsters in care, are phrases used to describe children under the care of the LA. Some will be subject to legal orders, such as a Care Order, which delegates parental care to the LA. Others will be cared for with their parents' permission. In the absence of a judicial order, parents maintain parental responsibility under the law.


There are situations when children are accommodated rather than obtaining a care order. Previously, they were accommodated under Section 20 of the Children Act 1989. Because of the new law enacted in response to the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act is now known as Section 76. (2014). When a kid is accommodated, it is not a result of a judicial procedure but rather a consequence of the child's request or agreement with the parents. In this instance, the parent retains primary parenting responsibility for their kid, while the Local Authority retains corporate parental obligations.

Care Instructions

A care order is a legal requirement for a child to be placed in the care of a LA. It establishes who has parental responsibility for the child. Interim Care Orders are sometimes granted to children because the court needs more information before making a judgment. A court can issue a care order only if it is inevitable that:

Plans for Care And Support

A Care and Support Plan will be developed for each CLA, bringing together the child, their family, and specialists to plan for their care and support. This will be checked regularly. It includes information regarding the child's well-being outcomes, care and developmental needs, and a long-term strategy for the child's raising and education. A fundamental motivation in the strategy is achieving permanency in all elements of the child's life. Reviews will track progress toward both long-term and short-term goals. This will also include the PEP (see below) and a health plan.

'Corporate Parenting'

Local governments have a 'corporate parent' obligation to the children and young people they care for, ensuring them receive the best education possible. Therefore, all must be proactive and effective champions, ensuring that the young people in their care can access and benefit from the available opportunities. In addition, they must collaborate with other organizations that play a role in providing CLA education.

Valuing and supporting children's education in public care is regarded as one of the most important contributions a corporate parent can make to their lives because it involves investing in and caring for their future and acknowledging that education may be their passport to better opportunities in life.

According to the Welsh Government (2015b),

"A good corporate parent wants the same outcomes for children in their care and care leavers that any decent parent would desire for their own children by doing all in their power to give them the greatest possible start in life."

CLA Designated Teacher

This person's position will be discussed in further depth later in this resource. This is a teacher who must be appointed by the governing body of every maintained school to boost the educational attainment of looked-after children (CLA).


This is a word frequently used to characterize children and young people that social care practitioners believe are at high risk of entering care (for example, because of maltreatment, parental mental health problems, or parental substance misuse). It covers individuals who are presently living with their birth parents or original family (such as step-parents) and those who have been adopted but are at high risk of returning to care. The Social Services And Well-Being Act (Wales 2014) replaces Section 17, "Children in Need" with the idea of a "Child with Care and Support Needs."

Foster Care

When children enter LA care, they are often placed in foster care. This will take place in the private family home of foster caregivers, who may or may not be connected to the child or young person. The kid may stay with them for a short time as an emergency placement or a long-term or short-term placement. In many situations, CLA will stay in one placement for a long time. Still, for a variety of reasons, other children may experience a lot of various places, which research shows can exacerbate a young person's challenges. Foster caregivers will have gone through a rigorous evaluation procedure, including approval by a fostering panel, before being recognized as foster carers. Their standing is subsequently evaluated on a yearly basis. Foster caregivers may work for the local government or for an independent fostering organization.

Foster caregivers will have their own Social Worker who will supervise them.

There may be times when CLA are not placed with foster parents and must reside in a care home instead. This is often for those in secondary school and requires living in a home with other young people and adults who are trained and competent in fulfilling the needs of vulnerable young people. As with foster caregivers, there are independently run homes and those run by local authorities.

Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO)

Every CLA must have a designated IRO, who is an officer nominated by the LA to chair CLA reviews and supervise the LA's performance regarding a child's case. The IRO operates independently of the LA.

Key Adult (KA)

This is an adult with whom the CLA can form an attachment-like bond. The KA works hard to establish a pleasant and secure relationship with the CLA so that they may be trusted and feel unique.

Kinship Support

When people who have a kinship or connection to the child or young person, such as grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, godparents, or step-grandparents, offer care. Kinship caregivers are evaluated, approved, registered, and reviewed similarly to foster caregivers.

CLA Evaluations

A CLA Review is a meeting in which a Care and Support Plan is reviewed. Schools should send a representative to this meeting with an updated PEP that includes a full progress summary. When someone from the school is unable to attend the meeting, a detailed report should be presented at the very least. Reviews are conducted 28 days after the first plan is created and then every three months after that. Following that, they are 6 monthly unless there is a need for more frequent evaluations.

Leaving Child Care

Care orders and care arrangements terminate when the kid reaches the age of 18 and may end sooner if the child's care order is dismissed or they are adopted. If more assistance is necessary, Adult Social Service teams assume responsibilities. This, however, is not automatic and occurs only if the young person has qualified care and support requirements. After a young person leaves care, they should always have the choice of continuing or returning to school. CLA are also eligible for personal adviser assistance with their schooling. Careers Wales and the local authority's Leaving Care Team (16+ for RCT) will collaborate to deliver this.

Parental Responsibility (PR)

This is defined as follows:

"All the legal rights, obligations, powers, responsibilities, and authority that a parent of a kid has over the child and his property."

Schools must understand who has PR for all of their pupils. For example, some CLA may be 'delegated obligations' for social workers and foster carers so that they may offer approval for things like school excursions and pictures. If you are unclear about the correct picture of PR and allocated tasks, consult with the child's social worker.

Placement Strategies

LAs are obliged to create a CLA placement strategy. This will explain how the placement will satisfy the requirements of the kid. It is a component of the broader Care and Support strategy.

Special Guardianship Order

Some children will be placed in situations where a special guardianship order is in effect. This is a legally secure arrangement for children and adolescents who are unable to live with their biological parents, and parental obligations have been legally assigned to the special guardian. In such instances, the child or adolescent is no longer considered to be looked after.

Unaccompanied Minors Seeking Asylum

Local governments are also in charge of providing assistance to unaccompanied asylum seekers' children. They are responsible for protecting and promoting the welfare of children in their region who are in need by providing help tailored to their specific requirements. This may include financial assistance and accommodations such as hostels or sponsored lodgings. Article 22 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child states that refugees have the same rights as children born in the country from which they seek asylum.

Acronym Glossary

ALN stands for Additional Learning Needs
ALNCo stands for Additional Learning Needs Coordinator
CiC stands for Children in Care
CLA stands for Children Looked After
DT for CLA stands for Designated Teacher for CLA
FC stands for Foster Carer
EP stands for Educational Psychologist
IRO stands for Independent Reviewing Officer
KA stands for Key Adult
LA stands for Local Authority
LAC stands for Looked After Children
LACE Coordinator stands for LACE Education Coordinator
LACE Team stands for LAC Education Team
PEP stands for Personal Education Plan
PR stand for Parental Responsibility
SEN stands for Special Educational Needs
SGO stands for Special Guardianship Order
TA/LSA stands for Teaching Assistant / Learning Support Assistant
SW stands for Social Worker

Coordinator of Lac Education (lace Coordinator)

Every local authority in Wales must have a specialist practitioner (the LAC Education Coordinator) whose major responsibility is to advocate for CLA and promote awareness to alter culture and engrained attitudes. The LACE Coordinator plays an important leadership position within the local government, and a collaborative approach is required. Their tasks are many, but they include the following:

The Personal Educational Plan (PEP)

All CLA are required to have an individual plan known as a PEP. This is an individual plan that outlines their educational requirements, as well as objectives for improved achievement and overall educational success. For example, young children may have a preschool PEP that identifies appropriate educational possibilities, such as access to a nursery or other high-quality early childhood care. This is not universal, however, and is decided by the LA in which the CLA is located. This might be a post-16 PEP for older young people to help with transition and support as they continue their education and lifetime learning.
The PEP supplements Care Plans but with a particular emphasis on encouraging and prioritizing education. The PEP planning process debate has proven to be critical to its success. Several contributors to the PEP are responsible for supplying and analyzing the information included within it and being solution-focused in encouraging education, thereby establishing high expectations of progress and prompt solutions to recognized needs. The PEP serves as a record of progress toward identified developmental and educational needs (both short and long-term) and serves as some kind of accountability. In part titled "The Whole School CLA Friendly Approach," we will go over PEPs and how to make them effective and valuable papers.

Certain Facts And Figures


Wales had 5615 children in care at the end of March 2015, with significantly more males (3020) than girls (2595). The majority of the children were between the ages of 10 and 15.
The great majority (91.1%) were white, with the rest being mixed race, Asian or British Asian, Black or Black British, or members of other ethnic groups. A disproportionate percentage of these children had recognized extra or special educational requirements. In 2011, 21% of LAC in Wales had SEN statements, compared to 3% of all children.

CLA Achievement in Wales

Over time, the trend implies that the difference between LAC and those not in the care system expands across students' educational paths. As in England, overall outcomes have improved, but non-LAC results have also improved, implying that the achievement gap has not closed and has expanded at several Key Stages:

193 of the 427 care leavers who turned 19 for the year ending 31 March 2014 were Not in Education, Employment, or Training (NEET), accounting for 45% of this group. 2015a Welsh Government.
Mannay et al. found that 29% of young people leaving care had no credentials at all, compared to 1% of the non-CLA population (2015).

It Is Not as Simple as Just Care

As previously stated, CLA have poorer results than those who are not in the care system: a fact that is consistent both worldwide and domestically. At the same time, it has been obvious that this is not true for all CLAs. Two recently completed key studies have helped us better understand which characteristics have the greatest detrimental influence on outcomes. The most intriguing conclusion of the study is that we now know that the longer a kid is in care, the better the prognosis. Mannay et al. found that 33.4% of young people in care for more than 6 years received 5 A*-C GCSEs, while 20.5% of CLA in care for less than 18 months had 5 A*-C GCSEs (2015). So the issue is not being in care per se, but rather some of the related circumstances.

Why do CLA do worse than their peers? The following elements, according to the research, can have a negative influence on CLA outcomes:

Throughout this resource, we will look at some of these in greater depth to ensure that those elements under our control as educators are handled to the greatest extent feasible.

The Role of Everyone Involved With CLA

We must have extremely high expectations of all education experts who will come into contact with our CLA: