Should you need urgent health advice please contact your GP or call NHS 111. In an emergency please visit A&E or call 999

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Looked after children- keeping healthy

If a child under five years old is classed as ‘looked after’, it means they are being placed with carers, foster carers or a pre-adoptive family. Within 20 working days of this placement, they will be given an appointment for an initial health assessment with a paediatrician.

The child will be invited to the appointment with their carer and their social worker. Depending on the circumstances, their birth parents and siblings may also be invited to come along.

What happens at an initial health assessment?

  • The paediatrician will discuss their social and medical history.
  • Height/length, weight and head circumference will be recorded for children under one year.
  • They will also have a general medical examination
  • The appointment is an opportunity for carers to ask any questions.

If the child is under five years old they will then be referred to the local Healthy Together team and a public health nurse (health visitor) will contact the carer to arrange a visit at home. They will offer support and advice about a range of childcare issues, including development, health and well-being, sleep, feeding, behaviour etc.

Following the initial assessment, children under five years old will have a health assessment review every six months with a public health nurse (health visitor). The nurse will arrange to visit you at home and carry out this assessment. This will include the child, carers and the public health nurse and will review the health and well-being of the child during the past 6 months. 

A professionals meeting (LAC review) is also held every 6 months to make sure that the child’s needs are being met and relevant support is offered to the carers. This will include child’s social worker, carers, supervising social worker, and public health nurse. Depending on the age of the child, representatives from playschool, pre-school /school will be invited too. 

If a child is over five years old they will be referred to the Looked After Children’s Nursing team who will undertake their annual review health assessments. These will again include the views, wishes and feelings of the child with the input from their carers. Conversations and health promotion will take place around all areas of lifestyle and a clear health plan will be created to best support the child for the next 12 months.

Who are the Looked After Children Team (LAC)?

The team consists of specialist doctors, nurses and a care navigator who will track the child’s health journey.

As the child grows the LAC team will be able to offer support with:

  • Development
  • Emotional health and wellbeing
  • Behaviour
  • Personal hygiene
  • Healthy lifestyles
  • Puberty and sexual health
  • Substance misuse
  • Sleep

And refer to other service/agencies as necessary. 

Useful links

ChatHealth Logo

Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust runs a confidential secure text messaging service for parents of children aged 0-19 years called Chat Health. The service operates Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm, excluding bank holidays. All texts will be responded to by a public health nurse (health visitor/school nurse) within 24 hours. Outside of the service working hours, you’ll receive a message back to inform you that your text will be responded to once the line reopens.

Should you require urgent health advice in the meantime, please contact your GP, visit an NHS walk-in centre or call NHS 111. For emergencies, dial 999 or visit A&E.

Page last reviewed: 22-11-2023

Next review due: 22-11-2026