Tailored resource for corporate parents and providers on health and wellbeing of looked-after children and young people

This resource is aimed specifically at corporate parents and includes key messages from each of the quality statements, key resources, further information and practical tools all of which are relevant to this audience. The resource also contains links to relevant OFSTED judgements. The resource has been co-produced by the NICE Collaborating Centre for Social Care and key people in the social care sector


At the end of March 2013 there were 68,110 looked-after children and young people in England, the majority of whom were placed for reasons of abuse or neglect (62%). Three quarters of looked after children and young people were in a foster placement, while 9% were cared for in residential accommodation (secure units, children's homes and hostels). [1] 

The majority of looked-after children and young people[2] are aged between 10 and 15 years (36%) with around 20% in each of the age groups 1–4 years, 5–9 years and 16 years and over. Around 6% are under 1 year old. Because of the diversity of age and their unique histories, looked-after children and young people have individual and specific needs.[3]

In recent years there has been a renewed focus on improving outcomes for looked-after children and young people, including the publication of revised regulations and guidance from the Department for Education[4]  and a new Ofsted framework for the inspection of services for children in need of help and protection, looked-after children and care leavers.[5]   At the same time, the Health and Social Care Act (2012) set out a new responsibility for the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to develop quality standards in health and social care. One of the first standards to be published was to promote the health and wellbeing of looked-after children and young people (Quality Standard 31)[6].

The Children Act 1989, The Care Standards Act 2000 and accompanying regulations and guidance provide the legal framework for providing services to looked-after children and young people. This tailored resource uses this framework, together with the Ofsted framework for inspection, research evidence and practice examples, to draw together key messages relating to each of the NICE quality statements in this quality standard.

It is targeted at practitioners who have responsibility across services and local authorities to safeguard and promote the life chances of looked-after children and young people. It describes priority areas for quality improvement and suggests ways of assessing progress towards meeting the standard. It also provides some examples of good practice and links to further information and resources. In line with the Ofsted inspection framework, it also gives prominence to the voice of the child.

This document takes each of the eight statements in turn, and shows what they mean for those who act as corporate parents to looked-after children and young people and how this relates to the Ofsted inspection framework.


[1] Department for Education (2013) Children looked after in England (including adoption and care leavers) year ending 31 March 2013. Statistical First Release. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/children-looked-after-in-england-including-adoption

[2] The term looked after children and young people includes all looked after children and young people, as well as care leavers.

[3] Department for Education (2013) Data Pack. Improving permanence for looked after children. http://www.education.gov.uk/a00227754/looked-after-children-data-pack

[4] http://www.education.gov.uk/childrenandyoungpeople/families/childrenincare/regs

[5] http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/resources/framework-and-evaluation-schedule-for-inspection-of-services-for-children-need-of-help-and-protectio

[6] http://guidance.nice.org.uk/QS31