Looked after children
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.
The Lewisham Looked After Children and Young People (LAC/YP) health team is a community-based service consisting of community paediatricians, specialist nurses and administrators. We are responsible for providing and coordinating healthcare for all of Lewisham’s looked after children and young people.
What we do
The law requires that all looked after children and young people have regular health assessments, annually for those aged over five and six-monthly for those under five. This is to ensure that any health needs are identified and addressed, and that these children and young people have access to the health services that they need to achieve and maintain good health.
During the health assessments we will talk about and assess the child’s/young person’s:
general health, development and growth
medical appointments or any health concerns
emotional health and wellbeing
healthy eating and exercise
dental health and optician appointments
nursery, school any future work and aspirations
lifestyle factors that affect and influence health, such as drugs, smoking, alcohol, peer pressure, bullying and keeping safe online
puberty, sexual health, safe and non-coercive relationships, sexuality and gender identity
issues that can affect children and young people including e-safety, exploitation, and gang involvement
The LAC/YP health team are available for ongoing advice and consultation about the health needs of any Lewisham looked after child/ young person for the duration of their time in care.
We also contribute to the ongoing health assessments, medical support and care-planning for children who are to be adopted. The Medical Advisor for Adoption and Fostering attends adoption panels and relevant meetings to provide medical input for children and their prospective adopters.
The team regularly consults with a variety of professionals involved in the care of looked after children and young people in order to support positive health outcomes. This may include social workers, foster carers, school nurses, health visitors, paediatricians, GPs, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), sexual health practitioners and LAC health teams from other areas.