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 help you with any problems with your health and emotional wellbeing. Our service will help you and other young people across Essex from 0-25 years including care leavers.

We aim to provide a service to make sure that you receive the right health care you 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 help you with all areas of health,  we can refer you to the right service at the right time. We aim to make you feel empowered and supported to make informed choices about your health.

How can we help?

We work with you, your carers, health professionals and your Social worker to assess, implement and identify unmet health needs and to promote healthy lifestyles. We aim to help with all areas of health, including physical, social, emotional and mental health.

To achieve this we:

  • Carry out your health assessments.
  • Write care plans as part of your health assessments.
  • Make sure your health is looked at and supported so that you can reach healthy outcomes.
  • Provide you with advice and support with any issues around health.
  • If you are happy, we can talk to other professionals involved in your care, and we can refer you to other services who can offer you extra support.

We are:

  • A health contact for you, your parents, your foster carers, residential units, schools and Social workers/Social care.
  • Available to support and advise you.
  • Part of the multi-agency team and attend multi-agency meetings.
  • Good listeners and we make sure your ‘voice’ is heard.

Being in care

Why am I in care?

You may be in care for different reasons, such as your parents or other adults looking after you were not able to keep you safe or meet your needs. Your Social worker will explain the reason to you.

New words and phrases

In care – Being in care, ‘Looked after’ is when arrangements are made for you to be cared for, possibly in with other members of your family, foster carers or in a residential placement.

Placement – Your placement is where you live when you are in care. This may be:

  • Foster Care – This is where you live with a carer in their home.
  • Residential Home – Where several young people who are also in care live together and are looked after 24/7 by support workers.
  • Support/Semi-Independent Accommodation (SIA) – Where several young people, usually age 16 years and over, live together and are provided with various levels of support by staff in order to prepare them for independence.
  • Family or friends placement – also known as a kinship placement, where you are ‘looked after’ by someone in your family or a family friend.

Looked after Children’s Nurse – Or you may hear the terms LAC (Looked after Children) Nurse or CIC (Children in Care) Nurse. We are responsible for making sure that your physical and emotional health needs are being met. We can also offer health promotion advice and sign post to other services in order to try and support you with your health and wellbeing.

Health Passport – This provides you with a record of your medical and health care history and useful health care contacts. This will be given and discussed with you at your last Review Health Assessment or just prior to your 18th Birthday by your Looked after Children’s Nurse.

Drop in’s –  Your Looked after Children’s Nurse may run sessions called ‘drop in’s’ at various locations near to you in order to give you the opportunity to discuss any worries you have regarding your health and wellbeing.

EWMHS – This stands for the Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health Service. This service offers mental health and emotional support for those up to the age if 18 who are living in Essex.

Strengths and difficulties questionnaire (SDQ) – This is a brief behavioural screening questionnaire which helps identify if any extra support will be helpful to you.

Transition – This means the movement from child to adult services. For example if you see a Paediatrician, they will refer to adult health services around your 16th Birthday and you will be supported with this change.

Care leavers – this is defined as a young person aged 25 or under who has been in the care of a Local Authority and spent time in foster or residential care.

Local Authority – This is the council that are responsible for you, so in this area it is Essex County Council.

Social worker – Your Social worker is responsible for making sure that your needs are being met and that there is a plan for your future.

Personal Advisor – Will provide advice and support and keep in touch with you.

Keyworker – If you live in a Residential placement, you will have at least one allocated key worker who will work with you, your family, Social worker and other professionals to make sure things are as good as they can be for you.

Personal Education Pan (PEP) – This is there to help you with your education. Meetings are held regularly.

Statutory Review Meetings (LAC Review) – This meeting includes you, your Family, Social Worker, Health, Education and other Professionals involved in your life to discuss how things are going for you and to make sure that the care plan meets your needs.

Independent Reviewing Officer – Or IROs are responsible for making sure that you are ‘looked after’ in the best way possible. They work for the Council but are independent of your Social worker. They chair your Statutory Review meetings and make sure that your care plan meets your needs. You will have your first meeting when you first come into care, then 3 months following this and then they usually take place every 6 months.

Independent Visitor – This is a volunteer who supports young people in care. They can visit you regularly and help with various activities.

Advocate – These are Independent people who ensure that the rights of children and young people are respected and your wishes and views are heard and acted upon. Advocacy is about speaking up for you and helping you to take part in decisions that affect their lives.


Children and Young People in care have the right to confidentiality. Your Doctor or Nurse will discuss this with you and information will only be shared in the care plan with your consent. We would only pass on information in order to protect you or someone else from serious harm and when possible, we would discuss this with you first.