Looked After and Adopted Children

The Mental Health Needs of Looked After Children (and those on the edge of care)

Children with some of the most complex mental health presentations are those who have been adopted, are in the care of the Local Authority or are living in families in such crisis that there is a risk of admission of families to care.

Many of the children who are accommodated by the local authority have experienced significant trauma. The care system can present these young people with further challenges including coping with placement breakdown and frequent moves. As many as 97% of children in residential and 57% of those in foster care have a definable mental disorder.

Promoting More Positive Outcomes

We are dedicated to improving the life chances and outcomes for these young people. More specifically we look to:

  • Promote stability within care placements
  • Maximise the potential of young people within their education environment
  • Promote positive relationships - with carers, biological families and peers
  • The achievement of successful negotiation of transition to adult life
  • Minimising the potential for mental health difficulties in later life

Who do we work with?

Children / Young People

  • Children in the Care of the Local Authority
  • Adopted Children
  • Children on the edge of care
    • either at risk of entering into care
    • where there are plans to rehabilitate the young person back to the care of their biological family.

Families / Carers

  • Adoptive families
  • Carers
    • foster carers 
    • residential care workers/ children's home staff
  • Biological families

Professionals who support Looked After and Adopted Children

  • Social workers
  • Fostering support workers
  • Educational staff
  • Residential care workers
  • Health care professionals 

When can we be most helpful?

If at any point within the process of transition through the care system professionals are concerned about the mental health/ emotional well-being of a child or young person, we are happy to offer an assessment and support. There are, however, particular points in the pathway when you may consider our involvement.

  • When families are at risk of breakdown
  • When matching the needs of children with placement/ carers
  • When young people are experiencing emotional/ behavioural difficulties whilst within their adoptive or care placement
  • At times when there is a risk of placement breakdown
  • When considering rehabilitation of children/ young people to the care of their biological family

What do we offer?

1. Specialist assessment and intervention (direct and indirect) in meeting the mental health needs of LAAC and families on the edge of care.

2.   Consultation

Experience tells us that consultation, by a specialist mental health clinician, to the many professionals and carers working with LAAC is helpful in bringing about change for young people This can be:

  • to professionals working with a young person after we have carried out a comprehensive mental health assessment
  • to groups of professionals working with young people. Examples include the multi-professional team around one child, care teams or staff supporting children in residential care.

Such consultation serves to:

  • promote understanding and appropriate management of mental health/ emotional difficulties.
  • provide an objective support to professional teams, facilitating them to work together in meeting the many challenges they may face.

3. Expert Witness Advice to Courts

Specialist advice to the courts can be invaluable in informing all parties to reach 

Please view / print our leaflet: The Mental Health Needs of Looked After and Adopted Children (and those on the edge of care)