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Reviews for looked-after children: A guide for parents

Information about looked-after children reviews, including what happens at the meetings, where they take place and who can attend.

What is a looked-after child review?

A looked-after child (LAC) review is a regular meeting that brings together those people who are closely concerned with the care of your child. It is an opportunity to:
  • review your child’s care plan – the document which sets out how your child will be cared for while they are looked after
  • discuss your child’s progress
  • make plans for the future.

How often review meetings happen

The first review must be held four weeks after your child becomes a looked after child. If your child remains looked after, there must be a second review no more than three months after that. 

Further reviews must be held at least every six months.

Who will be at the review meeting

The review will be attended by:
  • your child, if they are old enough and understand what is going on
  • yourself and anyone else with parental responsibility (unless there is a specific reason why you can’t attend)
  • your child’s social worker
  • your child’s foster carer or residential worker.
Other people who know your child well may also be there, however we try to limit the number of people at the meeting so that everyone, especially your child feels able to listen and contribute.

In exceptional cases, parents and supporters of the child will not be allowed to attend the meeting. The IRO and your child’s social worker will make this decision together and explain the reasons why.

The meeting will be chaired by the Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO) who is an experienced social worker and independent of Children’s Services.

Where the review meetings are held

The reviews are usually held in the place where your child is living, but are sometimes held at the Children and Young People’s Service locality office in Canning Town.

What happens at the review meeting

Before the meeting your child’s social worker and the Independent Reviewing Officer will discuss your child’s care plan and progress with you. The social worker will produce a report and bring it to the meeting.

At the meeting the main focus of discussion will be:
  • the current day to day arrangements for the care of your child, including their health, education, emotional well being
  • the plan for their long term care.
We will make sure the meeting is as child friendly and relaxed as possible so your child feels comfortable and safe enough to contribute.

The Independent Reviewing Officer will complete a written report of the review meeting, recording the decisions that are made. You will receive copies of the IRO’s report and the social worker’s report.

At the end of the meeting, a date for the next review will be agreed.

What happens if you can't attend your child's review

If you are unable to attend, your child’s social worker and the Independent Reviewing Officer will ask for your views. To make your views clear you should write them down in a consultation document. You can ask your child’s social worker or the Independent Reviewing Officer for a copy of the consultation document.

After the meeting your child’s social worker will tell you what happened at the meeting. You will also receive copies of the social worker’s report and the IRO’s written record of the meeting.

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