There are lots of different words and terms being used by adults when you are looked after. It may be difficult to understand everything. You can now use this page to help find out what people are talking about.
If there is still something you do not understand and you can’t find it on this page, please email LookedAfterChildrenReviewingTeam@rctcbc.gov.uk.
This means that your parents have agreed to you being looked after away from home.
ACM – Assessor Care Manager
ACMs work for Rhondda Cynon Taf Council. They have lots of experience working with families they are not Social Workers but work alongside them.
This is a legal process to change a child's parents. When a child is placed for adoption it means that a new family is needed to take care of the child, until they are adults themselves. These new parents will have to go through lots of assessments and interviews and the court will make a decision about whether they can become the new parents. If the adoption is agreed then the new parents of the child are now responsible for the child and can make all the decisions on their behalf.
An advocate is an independent person who can help you to make sure your voice is heard so people know what you want. Your advocate can help you with lots of different things such as; your review, Child Protection Conferences or help you make a complaint if you feel you have been treated unfairly. An advocate should not have an opinion about what you should do; they will always support you with what you want.
An assessment is when workers will gather information from lots of people to help decide your future plans.
Blue Print Forum
The Forum is for looked after young people and care leavers aged 14 to 25 living in Rhondda Cynon Taf to have an active say about things that affect their lives. The members meet every month to discuss different topics. If you are interested are interested in becoming a member of the Blue Print Forum, you can visit: www.vfcc.org.uk or speak to your social worker.
CAFCASS – Child and Family Court Advisory Support Service
CAFCASS works with the family courts. They give judges advice and information about a child in care’s future. The Children's Guardian works for CAFCASS
CAMHS – Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services
CAMHS provide specialist mental health services to children and young people. They offer support for young people with emotional, behavioural and developmental difficulties.
The Care2Work programme offers support and encouragement for all looked after children in Rhondda Cynon Taf over the age of 16 to make sure they are work ready and able to provide for themselves. The programme offers a range of training or employment opportunities tailored to meet your needs. For more information on the Care2Work Programme, visit the ‘Employment’ section of this website.
Care leavers are young people who are in the process of leaving care or who have already left care. You officially leave care when you are 18 and become an adult but care leavers are considered from the age of 16-21 (24 in some cases for example if you are in college or university).
A care order is granted by a judge in Court if they believe a child’s health or safety is at risk. The care order gives Rhondda Cynon Taf Council parental responsibility. This means that Rhondda Cynon Taf will decide how you are looked after.
Care and support Plan
Every looked after child will have a Care and Support Plan. It explains what your needs are and what support you will have to meet these needs. Your Care and Support Plan says who is responsible for meeting your needs, and will include information on your placement, health, education and long term plans. Your Care and Support Plan should be discussed in your review meetings, and it is in these meetings that it can be changes if it needs to be.
If someone says they are the ‘chair’, it means they are the person who is running the meeting. The chair is responsible for making sure that everyone gets a say and keeping the meeting organised. In your review meetings the chair will be the Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO).
Child Protection Register
The Child Protection Register is for children who are considered to be 'at risk of harm' and have a Child Protection Plan. If you are on the register it doesn't necessarily mean that you will be taken into care; it is possible to come off the register and go back on.
Children Act (1989)
This an important piece of law brought in by Government to England and Wales in 1989. It covers many aspects of law about children and families.
This is a person who acts as the voice for children in the family courts. They work to make sure that your views and best interests are put forward to the judge when there is a court case and you are involved.
These are homes for children who are not living with their parents or with a foster family. You can learn more about the different Children’s Homes in Rhondda Cynon Taf by visiting the 'Where I live' section of this website. They are sometimes called 'Residential Homes'.
Children’s Services part of Rhondda Cynon Taf Council. It provides services including social workers and is designed to support children, young people and families.
Confidentiality basically means that 'only people who need to know, should know'. Information about you and your life is confidential UNLESS you say something which makes someone think that you, or another person are at risk of harm or if a crime has been committed.
Consultation is where people are asked their opinion and views in a formal way. You should be consulted on any decision that affects you.
See ‘Review Consultation Booklet’
Contact means seeing or keeping in touch with people you are related or that are important to you. Contact is a very important for most looked after children. Contact is very important for most looked after children. Contact might involve meeting family and friends in person, telephone contact or perhaps using other technology such as laptops and tablets. Contact can be supervised - which means that a professional may go with you, or that the contact takes place in a centre where there are staff around. Contact may also be unsupervised which means that you will be dropped off and picked up at a set time.
When you become looked after, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council becomes your 'corporate parent' and they are expected to look after you and keep you safe.
CRB - Criminal Records Bureau
CRB stands for Criminal Records Bureau. It is now called Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). See below.
DBS – Disclosure and Barring Service
DBS stands for Disclosure and Barring Services. It checks all adults working with children and vulnerable adults are allowed to work with them.
Every school within Rhondda Cynon Taf has a designated teacher for looked after children. They are there to make sure you get the support you need. Your designated teacher should make sure your Personal Education Plan is up to date and meeting your needs.
The Equality Act 2010 says that a disabled person is someone who has a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long term affect on his or her ability to carry out normal day to day tasks.
DLA - Disability Living Allowance
DLA is a payment given to person under the age of 65 who is classed as disabled and needs help with their day to day life. The amount of money can vary depending on the disability.
EDT - Emergency Duty Team
Most social workers work between 8.30am and 5pm but there are a small group of social workers that are on call in case things happen outside these times. If there is a problem late at night then you might need to contact the Emergency Duty Team. Their contact number is 01443 743665.
Educational Psychologists are expert people who give advice to schools and Head teachers on how to improve a young person's achievements whilst they are in school. Educational Psychologists may get involved if you need extra help at school.
EMA - Education Maintenance Allowance
EMA is an income-assessed weekly allowance of up to £30 to help students who stay in education past the age of 16.
Fostering is where an adult looks after a child in their home that is not their own. It is not the same as adoption because foster carers aren't the legal parent of the child.
This is the money that a foster carer is paid for looking after a child. The amount varies from placement to placement and depends on many different factors.
Foster carers are members of the general public who look after children that are not their own. Foster carers come from all different backgrounds, are all different ages and have different levels of experience. Foster carers must be approved and registered to do this. Your social worker will try to match you with a carer that they think you would get along with.
Foster placement (Emergency)
An emergency foster placement is where social workers may need to take children to somewhere safe at short notice. The placement will probably only last a few days whilst people try and sort whatever problem caused the emergency.
Foster placement (Short Term)
This is where a foster carer may look after you for a few weeks or months but that plan is always for you to move on to somewhere else. You can have a short term foster placement for lots of different reasons; you may be coming into care and returning home, or that you are waiting for a long term carer to be found for you, or maybe that you are going to be adopted.
Foster placement (Long Term)
This is where you can stay at your foster placement until you are eighteen years old, or whenever you are ready to move out as long as you, your social worker and foster carer are happy.
Further education is any education that takes place past the age of 16 whether that is academic (school/college) or vocational (in a work place).
Health Assessments are checks done on young people by a looked after children's nurse or doctor. You should have a health check once a year (twice a year if you are under 5 years old).
Health Care Plan
Every child who is looked after by Rhondda Cynon Taf must have a Health Care Plan which forms part of your Care and Support Plan. This plan sets out your health needs and how the people in your life will meet those needs by making sure you are up to date with any health appointments.
Higher education, often provided in university or college, is any education past the age of 18 including a bachelor's degree, a Master's degree and a doctorate (PhD).
Higher Education Bursary
The Higher Education Bursary is money given to looked after children who go on to study at University. The money can be spent on things needed for their studies.
This means working towards living on your own without adults looking after you. You can start preparing for independence when you're a teenager by learning useful skills like cooking and budgeting. There is lots of different support available to help you become more independent. For more information visit the ‘Leaving Care’ section of this website.
IRO - Independent Reviewing Officer
This is the person that chairs your review meetings and checks that your social worker and other people are doing what they said they were going to do. They will try to include you in any changes being made to your care plan so you know what is happening.
IVs - Independent Visitors
Independent Visitors are volunteers who befriend children and young people in care, get to know them, and support them. Independents Visitors usually support people who have no or very little contact with their families and would like to have someone who chooses to spend time with them. If you think you'd like this service then you speak to your social worker or visit the ‘Advocacy’ section of this website.
IEP – Individual Education Plan
This plan is for children with Special Educational Needs to help them set targets to work towards in school. For more information go to the ‘My Education’ section of this website.
You might hear this phrase in school and see things like KS2 and KS3 written on documents. A key stage is a set of year groups that you are in at a particular age at school. There are 4 key stages;
- Key Stage 1 is for 5-7 year olds
- Key Stage 2 is for 7-11 year olds
- Key Stage 3 is for 11-14 year olds
- Key Stage 4 is for 14-16 year olds
Every child or young person that lives in a children's home will have a 'key worker' and it is the key worker's job to make sure that the care plan is being followed and that the young person is settled in the placement.
This means you are being looked after by a member of your family instead of your parents and are supported by the local authority. Kinship carers can be anyone suitable within your family such as; grandparents, aunties and uncles or close family friends.
LAC Review is short for the Looked After Children review and is generally just shortened to 'review'. It is a meeting that includes the young person and is chaired by the Independent Reviewing Officer and is where your care and support plan is reviewed to make sure that all your needs are being met and that you are happy and settled.
Life Story Work
Life Story Work (or Life Journey Work) can help children and young people looked after away from home make sense of their past. Life Story Work could be in the form of a book, scrapbook, photo album, CD.
The local authority is another name given to Rhondda Cynon Taf Council.
Looked After Children
‘Looked after children’ is the name given to all children that are 'in care'. It includes all children that are on a Care Order and those that are accommodated with parents agreement.
Minutes are a written note of what was said in a meeting and who said it. This means that your social worker or other workers can check back and see who said what. You should get copies of the minutes of any meeting that you were in.
The Miskin Project supports young people and families across Rhondda Cynon Taf who may be vulnerable, looked after or at risk of becoming looked after.
The National Curriculum is what the government has set out for schools to teach to make sure everyone gets the same standard of education. There are lots of National Curriculum subjects including English, Maths and Science.
NEET - Not in Education, Employment or Training
When people are talking about ‘NEETs’, they mean a young person aged 16-24 who is not in education, employed or training for work.
Out of County Placements
Sometimes children are placed outside of Rhondda Cynon Taf; this can be for their own safety, or because this is the most suitable placement for them. If you are placed out of county, Rhondda Cynon Taf is still responsible for you and you will have all the same rights as a young person placed within Rhondda Cynon Taf.
Parental Responsibility (PR)
Parental responsibility is the rights and power of a parent to make decisions about their child. If you are on a Care Order then Rhondda Cynon Taf share parental responsibility for you and will make decisions about your care. If you have been accommodated then your parents still have the right to make decisions about your life.
Participation is about getting children and young people involved in decision that affect them and also helping shape services that they may use. There are many different ways to have your say such as the Blueprint forum or Voices from Care Cymru.
A pathway plan is put together around you 16th birthday and it sets out your plans for the future and helps you work towards becoming more independent. You will be involved in creating and updating your pathway plan with a member of the 16+ team. For more information about what your pathway plan is visit the ‘Leaving Care' section of this website.
PEP - Personal Education Plan
The Personal Education Plan forms part of your Care and Support Plan. It explains what your education how Rhondda Cynon Taf plans to educate you. You should have a PEP in place within 20 school days of you being in care and the plan should be first reviewed at 3 months, then every 6 months after that. Find out more about your PEP by reading the ‘My Education’ section of the website.
This is the place where you are currently living.
PDG - Pupil Deprivation Grant
This is money given to schools to support looked after children and young people with their studies. For more information on PDG, see the ‘My Education’ section of the website.
Record of Discussion
These are the notes taken by your IRO at your LAC Review.
A review is a regular meeting chaired by an Independent Reviewing Officer to check that plans involving you are in place and progress is being made towards the goals that have been set. Lots of different people may be present at your review i.e. social workers, parents, foster carers, teachers, health workers. For more information go to the ‘My Review’ section on this website.
Review Consultation Booklet
You should get a review consultation booklet before your LAC review or you can complete it online by visiting the ‘My Review’ section of this website. You should try and fill in the booklet before each review because it helps Rhondda Cynon Taf get your opinion on the way you are being looked after. It also helps your social worker and IRO know how you feel about things. If you don’t like filling in forms you can ask your foster carer or someone else you trust to help fill it in. This booklet is sometimes called a ‘Review Form’.
Secure Accommodation is a placement where a young person is closely monitored. This is often for their own safety and it is always the last resort for the Rhondda Cynon Taf.
SEN - Special Educational Needs
Special Educational Needs affect a child’s ability to learn. This could include their behaviour or ability to make friends, their reading and writing, ability to understand things, concentration levels or physical needs for example vision or hearing problems.
Social Services is a public service provided by all local authorities in the UK to help and support the community. Social Services may also be called ‘Children’s Services’.
Social workers are people who work in social services and they help support the community. There are many different kinds of social workers working with different types of people. Being a looked after child means that you will come into contact with different social workers depending on your situation. It is the social worker’s job to make sure you are safe and your needs are being met.
Special Guardianship Order
A special guardianship order is granted by a judge if you cannot live with your birth parents but would benefit from living in a long term, secure placement. Your carer or member of your family can apply for special guardianship and if agreed by the courts, you will stop being in care and become part of the new family. Your new guardian and your parents will then share responsibility for making decisions about your life. You may also hear it being shortened to ‘SGO’.
Statement / Being Statemented
A statement of special educational needs (usually shortened to 'a statement') is a document outlining a child's learning difficulties and the support schools will give the child.
Step in the Right Direction Programme
The Traineeship is a 2 year programme where you are employed by Rhondda Cynon Taf Council and receive a full time wage. It gives care leavers the opportunity to develop their skills and gain valuable work experience. If you are interested in the Traineeship, visit the ‘Employment’ Section of this website or speak to your Aftercare Worker.
United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC)
The UNCRC is an international agreement that protects the human rights of all
children and young people under the age of 18.
A young offender is someone under the age of 18 who commits a crime or continues to engage in criminal activities.
Youth Detention Accommodation
Some young people are placed in Youth Detention Accommodation if they are on remand from court. This includes; Young Offender Institutions, Juvenile Units in prisons, Secure Training Centres and Secure Children’s Homes.
Youth Offending Service (YOS)
The Youth Offending Service are a team who work with young people that get into trouble with the law or that are likely to in the future.