The Looked After Children’s Health Service

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What does the Looked After Children’s Health service do?

Before coming into care many children will have experienced abuse or neglect and so their health is often worse than other children the same age. For this reason the government asks that all children who become looked after have detailed health assessments. The Looked After Children’s Health (LAACH) service team are responsible for carrying out health assessments for looked after children aged 0-18 years who are in the care of the local authority. We also have a role in providing on-going health care work for young people.

The looked after children’s health team is a specialist team of doctors, nurses and administrative staff experienced in working with children who are in the care of the local authority.

Who can refer to the Looked After Children’s Health service?

The Looked After Children’s Health service accepts referrals for health assessment from social care.

We will provide advice to other professionals on health issues for looked after children where appropriate.

What health assessments do the Looked After Children’s Health service offer?

We offer health assessments in line with the statutory guidance ’promoting the health and wellbeing of looked after children’ DFE 2015;

The Initial Health Assessment

This should take place within 20 working days of a child or young person moving into care. The health assessment is usually undertaken by a doctor and requires a clinic appointment. The appointment is usually around one hour long and involves talking about all aspects of health, including physical, developmental, emotional,behavioural and lifestyle issues. The assessment will include a physical examination and we will use special toys to assess the development of children under 5 years of age.

The Review Health Assessment

  • For children under 5 years of age

A review health assessment will take place every six months. It is similar to the initial health assessment; it is usually carried out by a health visitor or school nurse. The health assessment will usually take place where the child is living.

  • For children over 5 years of age

A review health assessment will take place every 12 months. This may be carried out by a school nurse or one of the LAACH Specialist nurses. The health assessment usually takes place where the child is living, either with carers or in a residential home.

Young people can choose to have an appointment on their own or have someone with them. They will have a say about what is included in their health care plan and be offered a copy for themselves.

Adoption Health Assessments

These health assessments are for children where adoption is being considered. They are similar to the initial health assessment. We gather as much health information about extended family and from the child’s previous health records. We aim for future carers to have as much information as possible to help them care for the child and share with the child in the future.

What happens after the health assessment?

A copy of the full heath assessment is shared with the child’s GP. A Health care plan is developed. This is shared with the key professionals involved in the child’s care e.g carers, social worker. This is so everyone involved can ensure that a child’s health needs are met.

Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust
Sheffield Children's@SheffChildrens
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