Children Looked After (CLA)

Looked after children and young people are defined as those in the care of a local authority or who are being provided with accommodation. This covers children under a care order or other court order, including those on an adoption pathway. It also includes children who are accommodated voluntarily, who are in respite care, who are on remand and young asylum seekers who have travelled to the UK without their parents or carers.

At our Trust, the responsibility for these children's care is with the Children Looked After (CLA) team.

About us

The Children Looked After Team in Lewisham constitutes an integral part of the Safeguarding Team. However, its work, although mindful of the principles of child protection, supports the most disadvantaged group of the general child population and addresses health issues and inequalities unique to this group.

What we do

Statutory Health Assessments for Children Looked After: Initial health assessment (IHA) when a child first comes into care followed by annual reviews (RHA) for those over 5 years or every 6 months for children under 5 years. IHAs are completed by Doctors and RHAs are largely completed by Nurses, but where required and appropriate, will also be completed by Doctors.

Health Promotion, advice, referrals and signposting: Offered at every health assessment. Health related issues such as sleep, healthy eating, dental health, optical health, alcohol/drug use, sexual health, relationships, mental health, smoking/vaping cessation are addressed at the appropriate age and stage of development.

Adoption and Fostering: The Medical Adviser for Adoption & Fostering attends Adoption Panels and Agency Decision Maker (ADM) meetings to give medical advice on children and prospective adopters; as well as medical advice on prospective foster carers to Fostering Panel.

Liaison with other professionals: The team work as an integral part of a large multi-agency and multi-disciplinary group who hold a Corporate Parenting responsibility to Lewisham’s Children Looked After including Children’s Social Care, foster carers, residential homes, specialist schools, school nurses, health visitors and other Lewisham health professionals, including Lewisham Paediatricians, General Practitioners, CAMHS, sexual health practitioners, and CLA health teams from other areas.

Who is the service for?

The Looked After Children health team provides health services for children who are looked after and placed by Lewisham Children’s Social Care (CSC). A small number of children we see are looked after by other Local Authorities.The Looked After Children health team provides health services for children who are looked after and placed by Lewisham Children’s Social Care (CSC). A small number of children we see are looked after by other Local Authorities.

Services we provide

Holistic health assessments including adoption medical clinics are carried out Monday to Friday (IHAs and RHAs undertaken by Community Paediatricians and GP trainees; RHAs by Specialist CLA Nurses and Safeguarding School Nurses) and comprise:

  • In-depth and holistic health discussion, reviewing health care plans, referring to services as required
  • Health promotion, advice and signposting, dietary advice, Growth monitoring, immunisation advice
  • Sexual health & Contraceptive advice (CLA nurses and LGT sexual health services as well as referrals to external services as required)
  • Advocacy and support to reduce health inequalities and improve health outcomes for CLA

Where are we based?

Kaleidoscope Centre for Children and Young People
32 Rushey Green
Catford, SE6 4JF

How do I get an appointment?

Referrals are received from CSC and appointments offered from the LAC health team for health assessments (including adoption medicals); other health input is provided as needed such as advice and support, immunisations, referrals, further investigations and developmental follow-up.

Who are the key staff?

Designated Doctor, Children Looked After
Dr Christiane Nitsch

Named Nurse, Children Looked After
Charlotte Clackett
M: 07780 220 865

Designated Nurse: Rachel Lanlokun (NHS South East London ICB):

LAC administrators: 020 3049 1713/1714 or

Contacting the service

We are available from 8am to 5.30pm, Monday to Friday, excluding bank holidays. The team can be contacted on 020 3049 1713 or email