Looked after children
Sometimes we arrange for children to live away from their families, either as part of a voluntary arrangement or as the result of a care order. It can be for a short break or sometimes for a longer period of time.
The length of time will depend upon the child’s needs and the family circumstances. Parents continue to have responsibility for their children while they are away from home but this responsibility is shared with Children's Social Care if the child is subject to a Care Order.
Why are children looked after?
Children can be looked after for all sorts of reasons:
- a parent may be unable to continue caring for them
- they may be at risk of harm and need to move to a safer place
- a parent may be ill or may need to go into hospital and there is no other family members or friends available to look after them
When is a child placed in residential care?
We always try to place children with foster carers where possible. However, residential care is more suitable for some young people.
Education of looked after children
We give extra support to the education of young people in our care for the following reasons:
- we are their 'corporate parents'. This is the term given to the Local Authority as a whole. Corporate parents are expected to prioritise education for children in their care and advocate for them as most parents will for their children
- national research has shown a high proportion of young people in care do not do as well as their peers in education
- a good education provides a sound basis for transition to a fulfilling and successful adult life
- school provides stability, continuity and normality for children in public care
What do we do to improve the educational experiences and attainments of young people in care in Bracknell Forest?
We provide the following support:
- training, advice and support for foster carers and adoptive parents, social workers, school staff including governors
- ensure that all looked after children have the right practical support such as access to the internet
- promote the availability of relevant books
- fund personal tutors at appropriate times
- encourage participation in out of school activities
- monitor attendance and address specific issues
- work pro-actively with individuals and interested parties to minimise exclusions
- monitor the academic progress of all our LAC, to highlight areas of difficulty requiring extra support
- liaise with designated teachers to ensure that all LAC have a current and meaningful personal education plan in place
- identify any schools requiring additional support or resources to promote the education of LAC at their school
- develop systems to celebrate achievements of LAC including an annual award ceremony
- identify any mental or physical health problems which may affect the education of a LAC
- support the education of LAC post 16 and pre-school
- liaise closely with schools and educational institutions outside Bracknell Forest
- a message to care leavers leaflet (PDF, 10961kb)
- independent visitors for looked after children (PDF, 1951kb)
- a children's guide to being in care (PDF, 573kb)
- young person's guide to being looked after (PDF, 2157kb)
- advocacy leaflet for young people (PDF, 263kb)
- being an advocate leaflet (PDF, 291kb)
- family and friends policy (PDF, 516kb)
- SiLSiP leaflet (PDF, 387kb)
- IRO annual report 2015 to 2016 (PDF, 330kb)
- commissioning strategy for looked after children (PDF, 721kb)
- services available to looked after children placed in BF by other local authorities (PDF, 154kb)
SiLSiP (Say it Loud, Say it Proud)
SiLSiP (Say it Loud Say it Proud) is Bracknell Forest Children in Care Council. There is a regular membership of young people who come together to talk about issues they would like to see changed. All Bracknell Forest looked after children are members of SiLSiP and receive a copy of the newsletter and have the right to suggest agenda items at meetings. At Bracknell Big Ballot 2015 young people voted on 'Being bullied for being in care' as their top issue for SiLSiP to work on. In April 2016 a group of looked after young people worked on a stop motion animation project at South Hill Park exploring the themes around being a child in care and bullying. This film is intended to raise awareness and stimulate discussion about the issues.
View 'Just the same' animation .
To find out more please see our SiLSiP leaflet (PDF, 387kb).
The Pledge (PDF, 2253kb) is Bracknell Forest Council's promise to children and young people who are looked after and to care leavers.