Review decision:

This guideline was refreshed in May 2015. The refresh consisted of changes in recommendations 3, 5, 12, 36 and 38 to reflect changes to government policy since this guideline was published in October 2010. The evidence for the recommendations was not reviewed as part of this refresh, and the recommendations have not been changed.

Next review date: TBC

This joint guidance from NICE and the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) is for all those who have a role in promoting the quality of life (that is, the physical health, and social, educational and emotional wellbeing) of looked-after children and young people. This includes directors of children’s services, directors of public health, people who commission and provide health and social care services, social workers, carers (including foster carers), healthcare workers, staff in independent and voluntary agencies, schools, colleges and universities, and organisations that train professionals and inspect services.

The guidance may also be of interest to looked-after children and young people, their families, prospective adopters and other members of the public.

The focus of the guidance is on how organisations, professionals and carers can work together to help looked-after children and young people reach their full potential and enjoy the same opportunities in life as their peers.

The recommendations cover local strategy and commissioning, multi-agency working, care planning and placements, and timely access to appropriate health and mental health services. In particular, they aim to:

  • promote stable placements and nurturing relationships
  • support the full range of placements, including with family and friends
  • encourage educational achievement
  • support the transition to independent living
  • meet the particular needs of looked-after children and young people, including those from black and minority ethnic backgrounds, unaccompanied asylum seekers, and those who have disabilities
  • places looked-after children and young people at the heart of decision making.

November 2010: the footnote to recommendation 46 has been updated with details of new Department for Education guidance on transition to adulthood and leaving care.

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