Jargon Buster for CiC

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This is a list of words and their meanings that you may hear your social worker and other professionals use



This means you are looked after and have been given somewhere to live by the council because you or your parents asked for them to help.

Adoption order

The legal document which is issued by a court if you get adopted.


Your social worker will find out about you and your life to work out what you need while you are in care. This assessment will help them to write your care plan, which says how your needs will be met.


Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service. This is an organisation which can help you if you have a serious complaint to make.


Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services. If you have mental health problems you may go regularly to see someone from CAMHS who will try to help you get better.

Care order

The legal document which a court issues if you become looked after. It says the local authority has parental responsibility for you.

Care plan

All looked after children have a care plan. This is the document your social worker writes which has all the information about you, your placement and the plans for your future. It should be updated regularly as you and your needs change.

Case review

This is the meeting led by your Independent Reviewing Officer which looks at your care plan to make sure it is being followed by everyone involved with your welfare, and checks whether any changes that need to be made to it.

Child protection plan

This is a plan about what to do when a the child is at risk of serious harm (for example, being abused by someone in their home). It looks at what the danger is and says what needs to be done to keep the child safe.

Children’s home

A safe place where young people (mostly teenagers) live together.

Corporate parent

When you go into care your local authority becomes your ‘corporate parent’.  This means that although the local authority is (obviously!) an organisation and not an actual person, it still has responsibility for helping you to grow up well and be happy, just like a parent should.

Discharging the order

This is a legal term which is used if a court says your care order can end and you can go home.

Emergency protection order

This is a legal document from a court which gives the local authority parental responsibility for you in an emergency. It can only last for 15 days while people work out what’s best for you.

Health assessment

When you become looked after you will be seen by a doctor who will check your health and write a report.

Health plan

After your first health assessment when you become looked after, a health plan will be written for you and will be included in your care plan, to help keep you well.

Local authority

This is the organisation (local council) which manages the services for the area where you live. It is like a mini-government, with elected politicians and paid staff including social workers, people who empty the bins and sweep the roads and so on.  It chooses the people in your area who are foster carers and gives them training and help to look after you properly.

Out of authority placement

This is when you are placed in a foster home, a children's home or a residential school that is not in your area.  Some local authorities don’t have enough placements for all the looked after children in that area, so when they run out of places they place children with foster carers or in children’s homes in other areas.  The government is trying to help councils to create more placements so that children don’t need to leave the area they are used to (unless it is safer for them to go to live in a different area, for example to get away from an abusive parent).

Pathway plan

This is a plan for what will happen when you leave care.

Permanence plan

This is a long-term plan to help find somewhere that you feel like you belong, and are happy and safe.

Personal education plan (PEP)

This is a plan for making sure you get the most out of school while you are in care. It’s part of your care plan.


This is the place where you live while you’re looked after

Placement plan

This is part of your care plan – it says why the particular placement you’re in is thought to be right for you.

Residence order

This is a legal document from a court which says who you should live with. That person will have parental responsibility for you. It will usually last until you are 16.


There will be regular meetings which you’ll be part of to look at your care plan to make sure it’s meeting your needs, and these meetings are called ‘reviews’.

Short break

If you are disabled and go into a local authority placement for a short period of time as a break from your family it is a ‘short break’.

Special guardianship order

A court order which hands over responsibility for you from the local authority to a guardian and is expected to last until the child is 18. Your parents still have legal responsibility for you but your guardian will make most of the important decisions.

Subject to a care order but living at home

This means you are on a care order and the local authority shares parental responsibility for you, but has decided you can live with your parents with a lot of support from social workers.

Supervision order

A court order which says you can live at home but with regular visits and checks from social

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