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A child who is being cared for by Social Services at the request of a person with parental responsibility.

Accommodated child

Glossary (750)


The total transfer of parental responsibility from the child’s birth parent(s) to adoptive parent(s).







A statement in writing and an oath sworn before a person who has the authority to administer it (e.g. a solicitor).

Care order (CO)

An order made by the court placing a child in the care of the local authority designated in the order. It is effective until the child’s 18th birthday unless revoked by the court.

Care plan

Document drawn up by Social Services setting out the needs of an individual child, stating what actions will be taken and the services to be provided to meet them.


A person who looks after one or more children under the age of eight for reward for more than two hours in any one day.

Child protection plan

Document produced when a child’s name is placed on the Child Protection Register. It sets out the reasons why the child is considered to be in need of protection and what actions will be taken by Social Services, other professionals and the child’s family to keep the child safe.

Contact order

An order under section 8 of the Children Act requiring the person with whom a child lives, or is to live, to allow the child to visit or stay with the person named in the order or for that person and the child otherwise to have contact with them.

Court welfare officer

An officer appointed to provide a report for the court about the child’s family situation and background. The court may request either the local authority or the court welfare officer to prepare a report.

Education psychologist

A psychology graduate who has had teaching experience and additional vocational training. Educational psychologists perform a range of functions including assessing children’s educational, psychological and emotional needs and therapy.

Education supervising order

An order which puts the child under the supervision of a designated Local Education Authority.

Education welfare officer (EWO)

Provides social work support to children in the context of their schooling. The main focus of the EWO used to be enforcement of school attendance. However, today they perform a wide range of services, including seeking to ensure that children receive adequate and appropriate education and that any special needs are met.

Family assistance order

An order requiring either a probation officer or a social worker to advise or befriend a named person for a period of six months or less. The person can be the child’s parents, guardian, those with whom the child lived or who had contact with the child and the child him/herself. Usually made in connection with divorce proceedings.

Family support workers

The primary role of the family support worker is to support carers and children in a practical and supportive manner and they provide a range of services depending on the needs of the placement.

Foster care agreement

Document required by the The Fostering Services (Wales) Regulations 2003 to be drawn up and signed on registration of a foster carer, it sets out the terms of approval of the carer(s).

Foster panel

Decision making group set up to consider and decide matters relating to the approval and work of foster carers.

Foster parent/carer

Person who provides substitute family care for children. Usually refers to a person who has been approved and registered by a local authority or registered fostering agency to care for ‘looked after’ children.

Foster placement agreement

Person who provides substitute family care for children. Usually refers to a person who has been approved and registered by a local authority or registered fostering agency to care for ‘looked after’ children.


A person appointed by the court in care or adoption proceedings to investigate a child’s circumstances and to report to the court. The guardian does not represent the child but seeks to present a non-partisan view of the child’s welfare and the proposed care plan. The guardian can appoint a solicitor for the child.

In care

Refers to a child being ‘looked after’ by the local authority by virtue of a care order or an interim care order.


An order made by the court prohibiting an act, or requiring its cessation, which can be used in situations of domestic violence.

Judicial review

An order made by the court prohibiting an act, or requiring its cessation, which can be used in situations of domestic violence.

Key worker

An order made by the court prohibiting an act, or requiring its cessation, which can be used in situations of domestic violence.

Local Safeguarding Children Boards

Local safeguarding children boards [LSCBs] co-ordinate and ensure the effectiveness of their member agencies in safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children. The core membership of LSCBs is set out in the Children Act 2004, and includes local authorities, health bodies, the police and others.

A document produced by the Local Authority which summarises the educational needs of a child and what extra or special assistance or facilities they may need. It is usually produced following referral to and assessment by an Educational Psychologists, when a child is experiencing difficulties in school.

Statement of educational need

Supervision order

An order placing a child under the supervision of the local authority. The parents must allow a social worker to visit the child regularly to advise, help and befriend him/her. It is made in similar circumstances to a care order, i.e. the child is suffering significant harm, but it would not be in the child’s interests to be taken away from the parents or for social services to be given parental responsibility.

Personal education plans

A document setting out the educational goals for a child being ‘looked after’ and summarising any special educational needs and requirements for support the child has and how these are going to be provided for.

Police protection

In an emergency, where there are reasonable grounds to believe that a child is (or is likely to be) in immediate danger, a police officer has the power to remove the child, take them somewhere safe and keep them in a safe place for up to 72 hours. The power could also be used to keep a child in a safe place e.g. a hospital or childminder's home.

Preliminary hearing

In legal proceedings, a court hearing is arranged to clarify matters in dispute in the case, agree evidence and to give directions as to the timetable of the case and the disclosure of evidence.

Recovery order

A court order requiring any person able to produce, or disclose the whereabouts of a child subject to a care order or emergency protection order, to do so when requested.


Process of working with children who are being ‘looked after’ by providing resources and support to enable the problems leading to the child becoming ‘looked after’ to be overcome, so that the child can return to live with his/her family.


A short period of time determined by the court where a person is waiting for further evidence/reports to be obtained prior to sentence.

Reporting officer

A person appointed by the court in uncontested adoption proceedings to report to the court on the child’s circumstances and check that parental consent to the adoption has been freely given.

Residence order

An order stating with whom the child must live. It usually lasts until the young person is 16. It can be changed by the court at any time following an application by an interested party.

Residential social worker

A person who provides day to day care, support and counselling to children living in residential settings such as a children’s home.

Respite care

A service giving family members or other carers (including foster carers) short breaks from their caring responsibilities. It is intended to support the care of children or dependent adults in the community and avoid the need for alternative (usually residential full-time) care.


In childcare this usually refers to a formal meeting at regular intervals to discuss the child’s care plan, or a particular service being provided as part of the care plan. The purpose is to decide whether any changes to the plan are needed or whether services being provided are effective and should continue.

Statutory child care review/LAC review

A meeting held to review the arrangements (care plan) for the care of a child ‘looked after’ by a local authority. These reviews are required by regulations and the minimum frequency is laid down in the regulations.

Child protection review conference

A multi-agency meeting in which the situation of a child who is on the child protection register is discussed to decide whether the child continues to be at risk and to review the effectiveness of the child protection plan.

Section 47 investigation

Enquiries made by social services under section 47 of the Children Act to decide what action should be taken when there is reasonable cause to suspect that a child is suffering or is likely to suffer significant harm.

Section 8 order

Orders which can be made in private law proceedings to regulate the exercise of parental responsibility.

Secure accommodation

Accommodation which is provided for the purpose of restricting the liberty of the child. Such a placement can only be made with a court order in exceptional and emergency circumstances.

Significant harm

A child is considered to be suffering significant harm when there is evidence that his/her health or development compares unfavorably with that expected of another similar child.

A child is ‘looked after’ when he/she is being provided with accommodation by the local authority.

Looked after

Parental responsibility

The rights and power to make decisions concerning a child. A mother automatically has parental responsibility, as does a father married to the child’s mother. An unmarried father can obtain parental responsibility by agreement with the mother or through a court order. A local authority acquires parental responsibility when a care order is made.

Ward of court

A child who is under the protection of the High Court. No important decision can be taken regarding the child while he/she is a ward of court without the consent of the court.


The legal process whereby control is exercised over the child in order to protect the child and safeguard his/her welfare.

Welfare checklist

Refers to the checklist contained in Section 1 (3) of the Children Act. This enumerates the issues which the court must consider when making a decision about a child as a result of contested proceedings under Part II of the Act for Section 8 orders; and all proceedings under Part IV of the Act (Care Proceedings).

Welfare report

A report concerning any matter in respect of a child, which can be requested by the court during any proceedings under the Children Act 1989. The request can be made to a probation officer or the local authority.



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