warning icon
Essential maintenance to Newham website and My Newham from 28 - 29 February Newham Website and My Newham will be unavailable between 5pm Friday 28 Feb and 2pm Saturday 29 Feb while we carry out essential maintenance work. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.​

Customers can still make payments, but online account balances will not be available

Where you will live

On this page you can find out about the different places you might live if you can’t live with your parents.
You can also find out what will happen if you have to go to court to decide where you will live, what the court can do and what the legal words mean.

How we decide where you will live

When you are first taken into care

You might hear the word ‘placement’ when you are first taken into care. This means the place where we have arranged for you to live. Lots of things are taken into account when looking for the right place for you to stay.

What we look at when we decide where you will live

When we are deciding where you should live, we look at things like where you go to school and the contact you should have with your family.
We will always try to place you with a family who are like you, this means who look like you, have the same religion and eat the same food as you are used to.

Foster care

Most children and young people who are taken into care will live with a foster carer. Foster carers are people who have been specially approved and trained to look after young people like you.
They will treat you as part of their own family and help you to settle into your new home. We visit foster carers regularly to make sure they are caring for you properly.

House rules

Living with a foster family can sometimes be difficult because they may do some things differently from your own family. Although they want you to feel at home, it is important that you get on with them and respect the way they do things in their home.
Your social worker and foster carer will explain the house rules when you first go to stay with your carer. These include things like how late you can stay out and when you can invite your friends over.

Residential care

Children’s homes, or residential homes as they are sometimes called, are a place to stay when foster care is not suitable for you and what you need.
In a children’s home you will be living with other young people and staff who are there to look after you. The lounge, kitchen and bathrooms are usually shared, but you will have your own bedroom.
A team of social workers and support workers are there to care and supervise you throughout the day and night.

Going back to live with your parent(s)

Although you have come into care, it doesn’t always mean that this will be forever. We will continue to work with you and your family. Wherever possible and if it is the right thing to do, we will make plans to return you to them.
If you go back to live with your parent(s), you will no longer be looked after by us but you will still see a social worker at least every six weeks. This is so that we can make sure you are happy and cared for.

If a court has to decide where you will live

Sometimes, a court will have to decide where you will live. If you have to go to court, you will have people to speak for you.

Children’s guardian

If decisions about your future involve a court, you will be given an independent person, called a ‘children’s guardian’ (the court sometimes calls this person a ‘guardian ad litem’). It is his or her job to find out what you think and make sure the court knows about your feelings and wishes.
Children’s guardians also have to find out other information about you and your family, and then write a report for the court about what they think is in your best interests.
Sometimes, your guardian’s suggestions may be different to your social worker’s plans, but the court will listen to all the suggestions before making a final decision about your future.


You will also have a solicitor to represent you. He or she will be experienced in care proceedings.

Court orders – what they mean

Care Order

A Care Order is a court order that puts you in our care. We must then give you a safe place to live where you are properly cared for. We will also make most of the important decisions about your upbringing, such as where you will go to school.
The court will make a Care Order if you have been:
  • suffering, or would be likely to suffer significant harm if you stayed with your parents
  • caused harm by your parents
  • caused harm because your parents were not caring for you properly
or if you are likely to suffer harm because your parents cannot control you.
A Care Order lasts until you are 18.

Special guardianship order

Your foster carer(s) can ask the court for a Special Guardianship Order when they have been looking after you for at least a year.
A Special Guardianship Order is not the same as being adopted or fostered. Being looked after under a Special Guardianship Order means that you are no longer in care.
Your carer will have legal responsibility for you and can make important decisions about your upbringing. A Special Guardianship Order lasts until you are 18 years old.

Adoption Order

An Adoption Order gives full parental responsibility to your adoptive parents. We and your birth parents will not make decisions about your life any more. Your new parents will be your permanent, lifelong family from the date of the Adoption Order.

Placement Order

Before you are adopted, you may hear about a Placement Order. The court lets us find adoptive parents for you and lets you live with them until the Adoption Order is made.

Residence Order

A Residence Order will set out where you will live and who you will live with. Your carer and your parents will share responsibility for your upbringing.
A Residence Order will mean that you are not looked after by us any more and we will not take part in making decisions about you and your future. This order lasts until you are 18 years old.


Being ‘accommodated’ (sometimes called Section 20) is when your parent(s) ask us to look after you because they can’t.
They are still responsible for you and make all the decisions about your life. They can take you home whenever they feel they are able to look after you again. This doesn’t involve a court.

If you are unhappy or worried about your living arrangements

If you are unhappy with:
  • where you live now
  • how you are being cared for
  • the plans for where you will live in the future
or if you are worried about:
  • being able to stay where you live now
  • where you might live in the future
you can talk to your social worker. He or she will know your situation and what is likely to happen in the future. If you can’t find his or her phone number you can you can phone our main switchboard number, 020 8430 2000, or you can email him or her. Their email address will be
You can also talk to our Children’s Rights Service. You can phone them on 0800 0152 443 or email them.

Back to top

Contact us