About being in care

All children and young people in care, including unaccompanied asylum seeking children, have a right to feel safe, supported and be treated with dignity.

In this section


Our promise to you

When you come into care, we (the council) become your 'corporate parent' and have a responsibility to care for you. We do this by working with you and your family to make decisions about what is best for you now and in the future. 

It is our job to help you feel safe, be healthy, have lots of opportunities to do things in the community and have a good education. 

We will:

  • always try and involve you in decisions we make for you, and talk to you about the reasons why we make those decisions
  • make sure you know about your foster placement and the area you live in
  • make sure you get your injections and have regular appointments with a dentist and optician
  • offer you a health assessment with a doctor or nurse, where you can ask any health questions you have
  • provide you with a discount leisure card for facilities in the borough
  • help you get help from school, teachers and Personal Education Plans (PEP)
  • support you to learn to drive

When you leave school, you will be offered more education and training or help getting a job and a careers advisor.

Independent reviewing officers

Everyone in care has an independent reviewing officer (IRO), whose job it is to make sure your care plan is meeting your needs and all is being done to look after you. 

IROs are independent of your social worker and have the power to challenge things, in your best interest, to ensure all is being done to look after you.

Your IRO will be present at your LAC reviews and will usually lead the meetings.

LAC reviews

Looked after children's (LAC) reviews are regular meetings that look at how you are being looked after and make sure everything is okay.

You will be invited and encouraged to attend, along with your IRO, social worker, foster carer or residential worker and education and/or health professionals, where appropriate.

Our Children in Care Councils have helped to create a form for you to complete before your review - this will help us to know what you think about the care you receive. Your carer, social worker or IRO can help you fill this in.

Our children in care councils have also helped to design the  Choices Pick n' Mix [405KB] , which will give you ideas about how you can get involved in your LAC review. If you have other ideas of how you would like to be involved in your review, let your carer or social worker know. 

Virtual School

Hillingdon's Virtual School helps children in care get the best possible education, so they can achieve their potential. 

The team will help you:

  • with any educational needs, including helping you to find a school and ensure you are receiving the right support
  • communicate with your teachers, social worker, carer or any other professional in the network of support around you
  • prepare for tests and exams
  • stay in school if you are having a difficult time or get back into school if you have been out of education for some time
  • with any school move
  • receive the right information, guidance and advice about university, college and careers​​​
  • get involved in appropriate opportunities, including residential trips, literacy and numeracy activities and creative arts workshops

Our Virtual School team is made up of a variety of education professionals, including qualified teachers, teaching assistants, education welfare officers and professionals with experience of virtual schools in other local authorities.

You will be allocated a virtual school officer in the same way you are assigned a social worker. They will be your main point of contact for anything related to your education.

Our Virtual School can also provide advice and guidance to care leavers and post looked after children. 

If you'd like to contact our Virtual School, email virtualschooladmin@hillingdon.gov.uk.

Personal Education Plan

Your Personal Education Plan (PEP) is a personalised learning plan that identifies your individual learning needs and puts a plan in place to meet those needs, so that your own expectations - and those of others - are raised and your chances enhanced. 

This plan is reviewed once a term at a meeting, which you will attend, along with your allocated virtual school officer, social worker, school and carer/key worker.

Health assessments

The health assessment is an opportunity for you to see a doctor or nurse and ask any health questions that are important to you. Our looked after children's health team will talk with you about subjects such as healthy eating, exercise, smoking, relationships, mental health and sexual health. You can have your weight and height checked, and receive information about health issues. The health assessment will take place 4 weeks after you become 'looked after', then every 6 months for those under 5 and once a year for those aged 5 to 18.

You can contact our looked after children's health team by emailing cnw-tr.lookedafterchildren@nhs.net or calling 01895 488860.

Pathway plan

Every young person aged 16 to 21 (or up to 25 if in full-time education) will have a pathway plan. The pathway plan is a document that is completed together with you and other professionals who are directly involved with you. It will include information on the best way to support your independence and adulthood, your hopes for the future, your views, wishes and needs. Your plan will be reviewed every 6 months to ensure that it is up to date and records your current needs. You should be given a copy of your pathway plan. If you don't have one, ask your personal advisor.

When you leave care

When you turn 18 or are no longer in care, you will be allocated a personal adviser, who will offer advice, support and help you find somewhere to live, prepare to live independently, manage your money and find a job or go to university.

Read more about support for care leavers

If you are unhappy with the support or care you recieve, talk with your social worker or personal advisor, or email the children's rights team at childrensrights@hillingdon.gov.uk

Page last updated: 19 May 2020