Local authority social services support families and safeguard children who may be at risk of harm, whether from family members or others. Levels of support can vary within each local authority but they provide support to families who are in need of additional help and support which is unavailable from schools, GPs, other health services, or community-based services.
What are social services?
Social services have a statutory obligation to safeguard and promote the welfare of vulnerable children and can provide a wide range of services to children and their parents, usually within the own home environment and co-ordinated by a social worker. Families often feel anxious...
What is fostering?
Fostering is a way of providing a family life for children who cannot live with their own parents.
It is often used to provide temporary care while parents get help sorting out problems, take a break, or to help children or young people through a difficult period in their lives.
Often children will return home once the problems that caused them to come into foster care have been resolved and that it is clear that their parents are able to look after them safely.
Others may stay in long-term foster care, some may be adopted, and others will move on to live independently.Are there different types of fostering?Types of foster care include:...
What is adoption?
Adoption is a way of providing a new family for children who cannot be brought up by their own parents.
It's a legal procedure in which all the parental responsibility is transferred to the adopters.
Once an adoption order has been granted it can't be reversed except in extremely rare circumstances.
An adopted child loses all legal ties with their first mother and father (the "birth parents") and becomes a full member of the new family, usually taking the family's name.
What is the difference between adoption and fostering?
Foster carers share the responsibility for the child with a local authority and the child's parents.
Fostering is usually a temporary arrangement, though sometimes...
Definition of a residence order
A residence order is a court order ‘settling the arrangements ... as to the person with whom a child is to live.’ An order made in your favour will mean that your grandchild will live, or continue to live, with you. It will also give you parental responsibility for your grandchild as long as the order continues.
This means that you can take most of the decisions that a parent can take about a child’s care and upbringing. However, no one who has a residence order may take the child abroad for more than a month or change the child’s surname unless everyone with parental responsibility agrees in writing or the court gives permission.
The residence order will not affect your grandchild’s legal relationship with his...
A special guardianship order is an order appointing one or more individuals to be a child's 'special guardian'. It is a private law order made under the Children Act 1989 and is intended for those children who cannot live with their birth parents and who would benefit from a legally secure placement.
It is a more secure order than a residence order because a parent cannot apply to discharge it unless they have the permission of the court to do so, however it is less secure than an adoption order because it does not end the legal relationship between the child and his/her birth parents.
Who can apply for Special guardianship orders?
The following people may apply to be special guardians:
- Any guardian of the child.
- Any individual who has a...
Adopted children identify with their adopted family but also have their own identity as an adopted child. Some children may need to ask questions to understand what has happened in their life, especially if their adoption brings them into a new culture or environment. This can be the same whether the child is adopted at birth or as an older child. As adoptive parents you can positively influence how your child feels about their identity. Find out as much as you can about your child's background, or culture, and encourage them to talk openly about this part of who they are. Confusion or questions about who we are come up for most of us at some time in our lives. Appreciating your child's identity and positively tackling issues as they come up will help your child understand that they...
Adoptive parents often worry about how to tell their child they are adopted. At some point all children will question their parents about where they come from to try to understand who they are. Telling your child they are adopted can cause anxiety and be a stressful time.
Remember that this is an important moment in your child's life and you don't want to get it wrong. There isn't a right time to tell your child that they are adopted but its best to tell them as early as possible. This is to avoid them learning about their adoption from anyone else, or feeling that their adoption is a bad thing. Adopted children should be made to feel very positive about their adoption and reassured that they are accepted and loved by their parents and family.
For some children being told...
- Tell your child that they are adopted when they are young, don't risk the chance of them finding out from a family member or a friend.
- Be very positive about why your child came to live with you and could not stay with their birth parents. Keep the story about their background very simple to help your child understand it.
- Explain to them that being adopted does not mean they are loved any less than a child who is with their birth parents.
- Let them know how excited you were when they came to live with you and how special they are to you and the family.
- Find simple ways such as role playing, storytelling, or using a scrapbook with their early pictures to explain what adoption means to your child.
- Be very positive to your child...
Our personal identities shape who we are and how we see ourselves. Many of us take knowing our personal, cultural and family history for granted and have common experiences that we share with other people. This gives us confidence about who we are, where we belong and the values that are important in our lives. A child’s identify is an important part of their understanding of the world around them.
They often start asking questions about their identity from an early age and everything that they are told forms the basis of how they see and understand themselves.
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Social Services, Adoption and Fostering
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