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Children and young people in care

Sarah Greenshields - Author First published: Last updated:

Children and young people in care are a vulnerable group in society, and are known to have poorer health and educational outcomes compared with their peers. It is important that nurses understand the personal and social background of this population to ensure that appropriate assessment and support can be provided. By appreciating the context of this group, nursing care can be improved; however, individualised input remains vital.


There are several terms used to identify children and young people who are, or have experience of being, in care. In England, the term used in clinical practice is ‘looked after child’ abbreviated to LAC, based on the underpinning legislation—the Children Act 1989. When asked, children and young people themselves state that they prefer the term ‘children in care’ (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, 2019). This is because the term ‘looked after’ suggests that they were not looked

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Sarah Greenshields