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Children in care

Care and Support teams for looked after children

The Care and Support teams look after some of the most vulnerable children and young people. 

The teams:

  • work together with families and carers to promote and safeguard their health and welfare
  • give advice and support around healthy living
  • encourage good school or college attendance
  • encourage children and young people to keep in contact with parents and wider family where appropriate

Types of living arrangements

Foster care

Where possible, children and young people in care will live with foster carers. The team will try to match children and young people with carers whose skills and location meet their needs. This helps to them to stay in contact with their support networks.

Residential homes

Some children and young people live in residential homes. We have 2 residential homes, Maumbury House and The Cherries, where children and young people are supported by their key workers to achieve their best outcomes.

Supported housing

Some older young people live in supported housing if this is part of their plan and they are ready to live more independently.

Education options for children in care

The Virtual School

What is the Virtual School?

The Virtual School advises on and supports the education of Looked After Children from when they formally come in to care and those children who are adopted and on Special Guardianship Orders (SGOs) with the aim of making sure that these young people make at least the same educational progress and attainment as their non-Looked After peers.   

Who uses the Virtual School?

The Virtual School works in partnership with social workers, foster carers, residential home workers and the parents of adopted young people and the guardians of those young people on SGOs to make sure that Looked After, adopted and SGO (called Post LAC) young people and their carers are advised and supported as best as possible to be ready for learning and able to make good educational progress.

How do I apply for a place at the Virtual School?

Once they come in to care, Looked After Children (LAC) are automatically assigned a social worker, Virtual School worker and LAC Nurse and in relation to education an Initial Personal Education Plan is drawn up within 10 working days of the young person coming in to care, ready for a full Personal Education Plan meeting to take place involving all the agencies supporting the newly Looked After Child and also including the young person themselves as appropriate. The parents of an Adopted young person or the guardian of a young person on Special Guardianship Order, because they are the legal parents/guardians of their young people, have to contact the Education Officer for Adopted and SGO young people themselves either through Dorset Virtual School or through Aspire Adoption Agency as the Education Officer works across both organisations in order to maximise contact with and support for parents and guardians.   

The Virtual School supports children in care as though they were on a roll at a single school. They work to secure the best educational outcomes for children in care in schools and other settings. 

See the Virtual School handbook to see how we're working with educational establishments in the Virtual School. 

National curriculum

At key stages 1, 2 and 3 the national curriculum has 8 levels. These are to measure your child's progress compared to pupils of the same age across the country. 

School information

See our:

Values and policies for children in care and care leavers

We have values and policies in place to make sure children get the right care:

  • Our Pledge to children in care is our promise to children and young people in care and care leavers
  • World at their Feet is a framework and strategy for delivering effective services for children and young people in our care and care leavers
  • e-cigarettes and their impact is information on e-cigarettes and their potential impact on children in care

More information

See our support for young people pages for general information for young people.

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