What happens when children and young people need to live away from their families?

Children and young people have to live away from their own families for all sorts of reasons. For example:

  • their parents are unwell
  • they have problems with their family and need to spend some time away from home, eg behaviour problems or educational difficulties
  • they’ve come into care voluntarily with the consent of their parents (Section 20 accommodation)
  • they may have a disability and need a break from living with their families
  • they’re in the care of Birmingham Children's Trust, or subject to a Court Order or Interim Care Order.

Generally, when children and young people need to live away from their families they’ll stay with foster carers. When this happens we do everything we can to make sure they feel safe and happy. We also try to make sure that they’re close to school, family, friends and other networks – unless a Court has agreed this isn’t in the child’s best interests.  It’s only when foster care isn’t possible or isn’t what the young person would choose that children will live in a residential care (a children’s home).

In each case we make sure we’ve considered all the alternatives before making any recommendations. We also make sure children in our care have regular reviews.

All young people leave care when they turn 18 years old, but can stay with their foster carers after this as part of the ‘Staying Put’ scheme. This is if both the young person and their carers agree.

Where young people are in care for at least 13 weeks after they turn 16 years old, they’re entitled to leaving care support. This is until the age of 21 or 25 if they’re still in full time education. The leaving care support helps them with accommodation, further education and entering employment.