How a child is taken into care by the Royal Borough

Children are usually best cared for in their own families and we do everything we can to help parents and families look after their children.

However, there are times when children aren't able to live with their families. In these situations, the children may be cared for by the Royal Borough of Greenwich. This is called being taken into care or looked after.

Why children may be in care or looked after

There are a variety of reasons why children and young people have to live away from their families from time to time. This can happen when there is no one else to look after them because:

  • parents or carers are unwell
  • the family is having difficulties
  • children have a disability and their family requires short or longer-term respite care
  • children are in the care of the local authority due to a court order.

Before a child becomes looked after, social workers look very carefully at the child's situation. Everybody must be certain that alternative care is the best option.

Parents, carers and children are involved as much as possible. It is very important that the child's feelings and wishes are heard.

All options for children who need care will be considered. We will consider whether it is possible for the child to be looked after by other family members, or close friends.

We will consider if the child could be fostered for a while, or if residential services would be in the child's best interests.

If a child is to become looked after without a court order, the person who has parental responsibility needs to agree.

They will be asked to sign an agreement and give consent for medical treatment in an emergency.

Wherever possible, plans are made to work with the family and the child with the aim of returning the child safely to the care of their family, with support if necessary.

Further information

Please contact Children's Services if you would like to know more.

Guide for looked-after children and young people

Download the looked-after children placement sufficiency and commissioning strategy