Introduction to Children in Care (CIC)

There are currently over 92,000 children in care in the UK. The term ‘Children in Care’ (CIC) is generally used to mean those children who are looked after by the state.

This includes those who are subject to a care order or temporarily classed as looked after on a planned basis for short breaks or respite care.

The term is also used to describe ‘accommodated’ children and young people who are looked after on a voluntary basis at the request of, or by agreement with, their parents. These children are referred to as ‘children in care’.

More than half of children are taken into care because of abuse or neglect.


Contact details

Maria Hadley; ICB Lead for Children in Care / Designated Nurse Children in Care:

Maggie Braun; Designated Nurse Looked After Children:

Kelly Jones; Designated Nurse for Looked After Children: 07554 417618 or

Contact details related to Health Assessment queries:

Useful links:

Children looked after in England including adoption: 2019 to 2020

Looked after children: statistics briefing

Children in care have the same health risks as their peers but the extent is often exacerbated due to their previous experiences. Children’s early experiences have a significant impact on their development and future life chances.

Children in care show significantly higher rates of mental health issues, emotional disorders, such as anxiety and depression, hyperactivity and autistic spectrum disorder conditions. It is therefore vital that our focus is on improving the outcomes for this group of vulnerable children and young people.

When children enter care, they are offered a statutory Initial Health Assessment (IHA) with a local paediatrician. Children already in care are offered a statutory Review Health Assessment (RHA) by the child’s Health Visitor, School Nurse or specialist Children in Care Nurse (6 monthly for children under the age of 5 years and annually for those aged 5 to 18 years).

Young people aged 16-17 are offered a Leaving Care Health Summary to support them in understanding their health history and provide them with information to allow them to easily access health services which may be available.

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Page last updated 1 March 2024