A child or young person who is being cared for by their local authority is known as a ‘looked-after’ child. They might be living in a children’s home, or with foster parents, or in some other family arrangement.
Although the term used is ‘looked-after child’, this refers to any young person up to the age of 18. The child or young person may have been taken into care for a variety of reasons – for example, some children or young people may be in care because their parents cannot cope, perhaps because of illness or disability, or because of family breakdown.
The most common reason for a child to be taken into care is to protect them from abuse or neglect.
Evidence suggests that experiencing abuse or neglect (also known as maltreatment) increases the risk of a child or young person experiencing symptoms of trauma. Maltreatment is considered a major adverse childhood event (ACE) with long-term damaging effects on children and young people’s physical and mental health.