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Looked after child

A baby, child or young person whose care is provided for by the local authority because their family is unable to provide an adequate level of care. The looked after child may stay with a foster carer until the age of 18 if the placement is stable. This may increase to 21 in the near future. After this time, it is hoped that the young person has learned the skills necessary to cope with adulthood on their own.


Ofsted, or the ‘Office for Standards in Education’, inspect all fostering agencies on a regular basis to ensure sure they are providing an effective service.

Pathway plan

When a child is ready to leave the care system, a Pathway plan is drawn up by the professionals involved in their care. It details an action plan for foster carers, social workers as well as for the child themselves to ensure a smooth transition to independent living.

Personal Education Plan (PEP)

The PEP forms part of a child’s care plan and summarises arrangements that should be in place with regards to their education and learning.

Placement plan

Another part of the care plan, the placement plan gives specific guidelines on how a foster carer can meet the needs of a child living with them.

Private fostering

Sometimes private fostering is arranged by the family of a vulnerable child if they are unable to live at home. It must be approved by social workers responsible for the looked after child. In these circumstances, if all parties are agreed, the young person goes to live with someone known to the family who is not a relative, for more than 28 days. Social workers continue to monitor the wellbeing of the child through regular visits.


A relative is someone who is by full blood, half blood, marriage or civil partnership, the parent, grandparent, brother, sister, aunt, uncle or step-parent of a child.

Social worker

Every looked after child has a delegated social worker who is responsible for planning, arranging and supervising their care. They are responsible for ensuring the individual needs of the child are met.

Staying Put Scheme

A scheme to support young people who wish to stay with a foster carer after the age of 18.

Usual Fostering Limit

This is a limit set on the number of looked after children a foster carer can have living with them at any one time. At the moment, the limit is three children, however exceptions may be granted if the children are all siblings.

Fostering Manchester

This is one of a number of articles in the Fostering Manchester  Series. We will also run similar series based on Fostering LiverpoolFostering LancashireFostering Chester, Fostering Cheshire, Fostering Stockport.