Looked after by the local authority

​If a child is looked after by a local authority, it can mean different things. It could be that the local authority is providing somewhere for the child to live (with a family member, foster carer or in a residential unit), the child may need supervision by a social worker, there could be a child protection or assessment order, or the child may have been removed from their parents' care and placed somewhere safe.

The information below will be useful for parents and carers looking after a child in this situation.

How can I help?

  • Be consistent and set clear rules and boundaries.
  • Ensure life is predictable and plan for any changes in advance.
  • Use appropriate rewards and consequences.
  • Make the child/young person feel safe and secure.
  • Take an interest in their friends and hobbies.
  • Encourage the child / young person to continue with interests and hobbies.
  • Listen to what they say - any worries, concerns or achievements they want to share.
  • Spend time together playing and talking.
  • Take time to understand their background and beliefs.
  • Involve the child / young person in decisions and plans where appropriate.

Where can I find further advice?

  • The Government regulations define what is meant by the term 'looked after child' and set out the duties of a local authority towards any looked after child.
  • Scottish Government information for foster carers and anyone who is thinking of becoming a foster carer.
  • The Fostering Network provides information about legislation, becoming a foster carer and other matters. You can also speak to (or email) a Fosterline Scotland adviser.
  • Who Cares? Scotland is a voluntary organisation that works directly with children and young people in Scotland who have experience of being in care. They listen to what children and young people say, support them and speak out on their behalf.
  • Kinship Care offers help and information for Kinship Carers in Scotland.