Children in Care, also known as Looked after Children (the term defined in law under the Children Act 1989) are children and young people who are under the care of the local authority for a continuous period of more than 24 hours, are subject to a care order, or are subject to a placement order. Some young people who meet certain criteria before they leave care are known as Care Leavers.
Over recent years there has been a significant rise in the number of looked after children across the UK. The number of looked after children has however increased steadily each year and is now higher than at any point since 1985. The majority of children and young people are in care as a result of abuse or neglect, although there is an increasing number of unaccompanied asylum seekers and children who have been trafficked from abroad. Looked after children and young people have greater mental health problems, as well as developmental and physical health issues than those that are not in care or experienced being in care. They are more likely to be involved in risk taking behaviour, the youth justice system and have poorer educational attainment.
Health professionals must also be mindful of the increased needs of care experienced children and young people which can be during childhood but also after 18 years old. The Designated Nurse and Designated Doctor for Children in Care provide expert knowledge, guidance and oversight to those providing or planning the care of the health of children and young people in care for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, but also for those children and young people placed in our area by other local authorities. We have a specialist Children in Care Health Team in both Cambridgeshire and Peterborough who carry out statutory health assessments of all children and young people who are looked after by the Local Authority. They offer consultation, advice, and support to promote the health and well-being of looked after children and young people. The teams are made up of consultant paediatricians, specialist nurses and administrators. Should you need more information about the teams or require their contact details, please use the links below: