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A large mural created by young people of York in care.

The legal definition of being in care

Being in care can include:

  • staying with foster carers
  • living in a children’s home or residential school
  • living with an adult you or your parents already know

Being in care means that your local authority, City of York Council, is responsible for your care needs, including making sure you have a safe place to live and that you are happy and healthy.

A Care Order is made by court. If there is a Care Order, the court has decided that living away from home would be best for you.

If the court decides to make a Care Order, children’s social care has to provide you with somewhere to live and make sure you are cared for.

Your parents and children's social care are jointly responsible for you as long as the Care Order is in place. The Care Order stays in place until you leave care when you're 18 to live independently, or if your parents go back to court and the court decides that you can return home.

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When your parents and children's social care have agreed that it would be in your best interests for you to be in care for a while, then you are being accommodated under section 20 of the Children Act 1989.

You are still a young person in care, but there is no legal order that the courts have put in place. Instead, your parents and children’s social care sign an agreement.

Your family can ask for you to go home at any time but it is best if this is planned and agreed by your social worker. Your views should always be listened to in any decisions made.

If you are aged 16 or 17, there are circumstances where you could sign the section 20 agreement with children’s social care if being at home isn’t safe for you.

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Being in care means that adults who work for children's social care at City of York Council are responsible for making sure you are cared for. They will help you with:

  • your immigration application
  • finding you a safe home
  • getting you to a doctor if you need one
  • finding you a school or college where you can learn English
  • providing you with other things you may need to make sure you’re well cared for

The main adults you will see regularly are your social worker and your foster carer, or key worker if you live in a semi-independent home.

Your social worker will be able to talk to you about where you live and why this decision was made. Sometimes young people will live outside of York. If this happens, York's children's social care is still responsible for you and your care.

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