Looked After Children Service

The term ‘looked after children and young people’ means children who are ‘looked after’ by the local authority.

The aim of the Looked After Children (LAC) Service is to promote the health and emotional wellbeing of children and young people in care.

Our service will provide support to children and young people across Essex from 0-25 years including care leavers.

We aim to provide a joined up service to make sure that the looked after child or young person receives the healthcare they need.

Our team

Our specialist teams consist of:

  • Named Nurse for Looked after Children
  • Specialist Nurse for Looked after Children
  • Nurse Advisor for Looked after Children

We aim to provide every child or young person with the best care, referring them to the right service at the right time. We aim to make the child or young person to feel empowered and supported to make informed choices about their health.

What happens once a young person enters care?

When a child or young person comes into care they will have an Initial Health Assessment (IHA) – this is a statutory health assessment that is required to be completed within 28 days of coming into care. It is completed by a paediatrician.

A healthcare plan will be developed and shared with the child or young person and their carer, and the professionals around them.

Find out more about the Initial Health Assessment here.

Review Health Assessments (RHAs)

Review Health Assessments (RHA) – are undertaken at intervals not greater than 6 monthly for children aged under 5 years, or at intervals not greater than 12 monthly for children and young people aged 5-17 years.

These are carried out by the lead health professional, either the health visitor, school nurse or a member of the LAC Team depending on complexity of need.

How can we help?

We work in partnership with the children and young people, carers, health professionals and the local authority to assess, implement and identify unmet health needs and to promote healthy lifestyles. We aim to be holistic in our approach to health, encompassing physical, social, emotional and mental health.

To achieve this we:

  • Formulate healthcare plans as part of all health assessments
  • Undertake statutory health assessments for children and young people in our care
  • Oversee that each young person’s health is addressed and promoted to enable them to reach healthy outcomes
  • Quality assure that their health needs are being met
  • Liaise with other professionals involved in the care of children and young people to share information where appropriate and to promote positive outcomes
  • Refer to other agencies in consultation with the child and young person to get the service they deserve
  • Provide evidence-based practice, support and health promotion either directly or by referring/signposting to other services

Our vision is to provide a truly integrated service with a multi-agency team approach to provide individualised care.

We are:

  • A health contact for children and young people, parents, foster carers, residential units, schools and social workers/social care
  • Advocates for children in our care
  • Part of the multi-agency team and attend multi-agency meetings
  • Committed to listening and respecting the ‘voice’ of children and young people and act as an advocate to ensure their voice is heard

Where will the young person be seen?

The Looked after Children’s Service is delivered in the community in the family’s home, school, residential unit or where the young person prefers. We aim to be flexible in our approach.

All children and young people need to be present for their health assessment. Parents and carers will be consulted but young people at the top end of our age range will be offered time to be seen alone.