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About Looked After Children and Young People

Under the provisions of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995, 'Looked After Children' are defined as those in the care of their local authority. The majority will come into one of these categories:

Looked After at home

Where the child (or young person) has been through the Children's Hearings system and is subject to a Supervision Requirement (regular contact with social services) with no condition of residence. The child then continues to live in their regular place of residence (ie, the family home).
Find out about the recent Children Looked After at home summit

Looked After away from home

Where the child (or young person) has either: been through the Children’s Hearings system and is subject to a Supervision Requirement with a condition of residence; is subject to an order made or authorisation or warrant granted by virtue of Chapter 2, 3 or 4 of Part II of the 95 Act; is being provided with accommodation under Section 25 (a voluntary agreement); or is placed by a local authority which has made a permanence order under Section 80 of the Adoption and Children Act 2007. In these cases the child is cared for away from their normal place of residence, by foster or kinship carers, prospective adopters, in residential care homes, residential schools or secure units.

Why do some children become looked after?

The vast majority of looked after children have become 'looked after' for care and protection reasons. Some will have experienced neglect or mental, physical or emotional abuse. Some parents are unable to look after their children because of their own substance misuse or poor parenting skills.

Children and young people with complex disabilities sometimes need to be looked after in specialist residential schools. Similarly, vulnerable unaccompanied minors seeking asylum and young people who have been illegally trafficked into the UK may also become looked after to ensure their well being. A small minority become looked after following involvement in the youth justice system.

More about Looked After Children

  • Legislation

    An overview of the relevant acts and regulations

  • Statistics

    What data do we collect on looked after children?