Our children in care
Children in care (sometimes called ‘looked after children’) are youngsters who are placed in the care of Barnsley Council because their families can no longer look after them.
There are three ways children can come into our care:
- through a voluntary arrangement, where their parents or those with parental responsibility agree to them being placed in our care
- under an interim care order made by a court to place them in care for a period of eight weeks
- under a care order made by court placing the child in our care
Who looks after children in care
When children come into care, we become their corporate parents.
This means that we consider their needs just as if they were our own children and look after them accordingly.
When children can’t continue to live at home, we have to find them alternative accommodation.
Depending on the child's age and individual needs, we either place them in foster care, in residential care, or short-term respite care.
Placing children outside Barnsley
Where possible, we find placements for children and young people in Barnsley.
We only place children outside the borough if they have extremely complex needs that require very specialist support, which isn’t available locally.
Being in care
When you first come into care, you've probably got loads of questions you want to ask about what it's like being in care and what will happen to you.
With the help of the Care4Us council, we've created the web pages below to give you information about being in care, your health and education, your rights while you're in care, and how to have your say about the care and support you need.
If you're still not sure about anything when you've read the information, talk to your social worker.
When you come into our care, we try to make sure your life will be as normal as possible and that you can still do the things you used to do at home, like going to school, seeing your friends and family, and having fun. You should have exactly the same opportunities as others your age.
Every child in care has a plan which explains how we'll look after your health, support your education, help you keep in touch with your family and friends, and make sure you can still keep up with any hobbies and interests you might have. It often says how your parents will be involved in looking after you.
As well as a care plan, we'll also draw up a personal education plan (PEP) and a health plan. Having these plans makes sure that you can stay healthy and do the best you can at school to give you better opportunities when you grow up. You'll be involved in writing your plans.
Although we're responsible for making decisions for you in care, we want to involve you as much as we can in making these decisions so that you're happy. We explain in this section about the different ways you can have your say and get involved in shaping your life in care.
We understand that leaving home and coming into care can be scary and unsettling, especially when you don’t have the support of your family and friends. It's our job to make sure that you get all the support you need and you know where to get it.
You can leave the council’s care once you reach 18. In the time leading up to this, we’ll make sure you’re prepared for independent living. Once you leave, we'll still provide support until you're 21, or 24 if you're still in full-time education.
Our pledge to you
Our role as your corporate parents is very important to us. To show how serious we are about caring for you, we’ve made a special pledge to all our children in care.
We developed the pledge working with our Children in Care Council - a group of children and young people in care who meet regularly with councillors and managers from the council to talk about making things better for children in care.
You'll get a copy of the pledge when you first come into care so that you know what we're doing and whether we're keeping our promises. Tell your social worker if you think we're not.