Young People's Zone

I am a looked after child


If you are safe and happy where you are living, you should not be moved unless there are really good reasons for this to happen.

If Children’s Services are thinking about moving you, your social worker must talk to you first. They should tell you why they think you need to move and they must listen to what you think about it. They should explain where you will be moving to and how this will affect things like going to school and seeing your family. If you would like to visit the new placement, they should try and make sure this can happen.

Your social worker will also need to talk to other people about the move. They must organise a LAC Review. (The part of the law which says this is “Regulation 14 Care Planning, Placement and Case Review Regulations 2010”).

In this meeting your social worker will have to:

  • Explain their reasons for moving you
  • Show that they have listened to what you think
  • Explain why this new placement will be better for you than where you are now (this is called showing that the move is in your “best interests”)

The Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO) (see The Name Game, Become) needs to agree that the move is a good idea.

If you are in Year 10 or 11, they must also get permission from their Big Boss (normally the Director of Children’s Services) before you can be moved (The part of the law which says this is Regulation 10 Care Planning, Placement and Case Review Regulations 2010).

It is important that moving you doesn’t affect your GCSEs and your social worker will have to explain this before their Big Boss will agree to a move.

There are two situations where it may be hard to stop a move even if you don’t want it to happen:

  1. If your social worker thinks that you are not safe where you are living.

Your social worker ALWAYS has to keep you safe and so if they think you may be harmed, they must move you. If you are unsafe, they are allowed to move you quickly even if you don’t agree. They may not always be able to tell you these reasons but they do have to tell your IRO and other people.

  1. If the person you are living with says that they can’t have you stay with them any longer

This can happen for all sorts of reasons and it can be hard to change people’s minds. Sometimes this can happen quite quickly but normally there should be time to talk to you about it, listen to you and have a LAC Review to plan how the move can be as positive as possible for you.

What can I do?

Be prepared
It is important that you can explain WHY you don’t want to move. Before doing anything else, list the reasons why you don’t want to move.

Think about:

  • How long have you been in your current placement? How do you feel about your carers? How will it make you feel to leave them?
  • How will it affect going to school? Are you doing exams or preparing for GCSEs or A Levels?
  • How will it affect you seeing your family or friends?
  • Any other reasons why moving would be difficult or affect you in a bad way.

Talk to People
Once you are clear about your reasons, the next step is to talk to people. You can talk to:

  • Your Social Worker: They should already have spoken to you about moving, but if they haven’t they must talk to you and explain their reasons. They also have to listen to you. The law says that your views must be given “due consideration” which means they have to take what you say seriously (The part of the law which says this is Section 22 (4) and (5) Children Act 1989”).
  • Your Social Worker’s Manager: If you feel that your social worker isn’t listening to you, you can ask to speak to their manager BUT it is always important that you have spoken (or tried to speak) to your social worker first.
  • Your IRO: They are responsible for making sure that the plans your social worker makes are good for you (“in your best interests”) and that everything is done properly. They can challenge a move if they don’t think it is good for you or that the move hasn’t been planned in the right way. You can always speak to your IRO in your LAC Review meeting but if the move is happening soon you don’t have to wait for the meeting, you can just call and speak to them.

Making a Complaint
If you are still unhappy, you have a right to make a complaint.

If the move is happening soon, you can ask that it is stopped while they listen to what you have to say. This is called “freezing the decision”. It may be helpful to quote what the government says on this one:

“If the complaint is about a proposed change to a care plan, a placement or a service, the decision may need to be deferred (frozen) until the complaint is considered…… Decisions need to be made on a case-by-case basis, but there should generally be a presumption in favour of freezing, unless there is a good reason against it.”
(The part of the law which says this is Paragraph 6.5.1 & 6.5.2 Getting the Best from Complaints, 2006)

Get Some Help
If you still feel that no-one is listening, you can contact your local advocacy service or call the Children’s Commissioner and ask for help to stop the move. To find your local advocacy service, please click here.

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