Intermediary Services


Section 2, Looked After Children who have been Arrested was updated in March 2016 and a new Section 6, National Guidance was added.

This chapter is currently under review.

Looked After Children thought to be at Risk of Offending

Local Authorities should have strategies that set out how they will support positive behaviour amongst Children Looked After who may be at risk of offending and the measures that will protect them from 'unnecessary criminalisation', including a protocol with the police.

Where a Looked After child is thought to be at risk of offending, both the Care Plan and the Placement Plan should include the support measures needed to prevent this. The Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO) should ensure that the Care Plan adequately addresses this.

2. Looked After Children who have been Arrested

If a Looked After child aged under 18 is arrested, the Local Authority should ensure that the young person has the support of an Appropriate Adult and a solicitor while at the police station. The solicitor should have expertise in youth justice, and be provided with relevant information about the young person's circumstances, needs and the Care Plan.

A young person aged 17 or over is entitled to a solicitor. If s/he is mentally vulnerable, an Appropriate Adult should also be provided.

Whether or not the young person is charged, consideration should be given to reviewing his or her Care Plan to ensure that measures are in place to address the causes of offending.

3. Young People who are Remanded

See also Remands to Local Authority Accommodation or to Youth Detention Accommodation Procedure.

Young people who are not bailed and are dealt with by a court by way of a Remand to Local Authority Accommodation or a Remand to Youth Detention Accommodation are Looked After.  This will include both children who were already Looked After, and those who become Looked After by virtue of the remand.

Looked After Reviews must take place. For further information, see Looked After Reviews Procedure.

Where the young person was not already Looked After, the Local Authority must arrange for an assessment of the young person's needs, building on any previous assessment completed by the YOT, and plan his/her care in conjunction with the responsible YOT.

The Youth Justice case manager must inform Central Placement Service by email at '' and the Independent Review Team of all children and young people who are remanded or sentenced to custody or secure accommodation within 72 hours of the decision being made in court.

Care planning will need to consider the young person's needs both during the period of remand and following the court hearing. The Care Plan will need to take into account arrangements for the young person's support where s/he ceases to be Looked After because of receiving a custodial sentence.

Where a young person is already Looked After and is remanded, the IRO should be notified as soon as the young person is placed in custody (on remand or following sentence), including the details of where s/he is placed and the relevant order.

4. Looked After Young People who are Convicted

The social worker should provide information to the Youth Justice case manager responsible for completing the AssetPlus and any other assessments. The Youth Justice case manager should also consult the social worker over the content and recommendations of the Pre-sentence Report.

The social worker should provide information on the interventions and support that would be made available if the young person were to receive a community disposal. Copies of the Asset, Pre-sentence Report and other reports completed by the Youth Justice case manager  must be sent to the social worker and placed on the young person's case record.

5. Responsibilities of the Local Authority to Looked After Young People in Custody

Where the young person is the subject of a Care Order he or she will remain Looked After during the time in custody. The Local Authority therefore continues to share Parental Responsibility and the IRO will have an ongoing role in care planning and review.

Where a sentenced or remanded young person ceases to be Looked After because s/he is no longer Accommodated under section 20 of the Children Act 1989, the young person's social worker should ensure that the relevant Youth Justice  case manager is made aware that the young person had been Looked After up until sentence. The social worker should also discuss with the Youth Justice case manager and the young person any arrangements for remaining in touch whilst in custody and for assessing whether the young person may need to become Looked After again on release.

5.1 Information Sharing

Within 5 working days of the young person's remand or sentence to custody, the social worker should contact the young person's  Youth Justice case manager and the designated case supervisor within the establishment to inform them of:

  • The young person's care status, including his/her entitlement to support as a care leaver;
  • Persons with Parental Responsibility;
  • Name and contact details of the allocated social worker, his/her Team Manager and the IRO;
  • Any immediate information necessary to ensure the young person's safety or that of others;
  • Relevant information about the young person's family/carers and contact arrangements;
  • Relevant information about the young person's needs that will enhance the establishment's ability to care for the young person;
  • The date when the social worker will be visiting the young person; and
  • The date of any forthcoming review of the young person's case.

This should be followed up in writing to the establishment and copied to the Youth Justice  case manager.

5.2 Looked After Reviews

Going into custody is a significant change, and requires that, if a Looked After Review is not already due to take place, then one should be scheduled during the period that the young person is in custody. The usual minimum statutory timescales for Looked After Reviews apply thereafter. However, depending on the length of the young person's stay in custody, consideration should be given to undertaking a review within the last month before release to ensure that the Care Plan can be updated to meet his/her needs on release, particularly his/her placement.

5.3 Social Work Visits

The young person's allocated social worker must visit the young person within one week of being sentenced and detained - the role must not be fulfilled by the Youth Justice  worker.

Subsequent visits must take place at intervals of not more than 6 weeks for the first year; thereafter at intervals of not more than 3 months. Additional visits should take place if reasonably requested by the young person, the establishment or the Youth Justice Service, or there are particular circumstances that require a visit (e.g. notification of under performance of placement provider/concerns about the safety or welfare of the young person).

The purpose of the visits is to assess the young person's needs and maintain an up to date Care Plan. The social worker should see the young person in private unless he or she refuses or requests that others attend the meeting.

5.4 Advice, Assistance and Support Between Visits

Looked After young people in custody remain entitled to advice, assistance and support between visits. The social worker should consider whether the young person is being adequately safeguarded and his/her welfare promoted. Specific factors to take into account are:

  • Is the young person safe?
  • Is there a risk of self-harm?
  • Does the young person need money, clothes, books or other practical support?
  • Are education staff aware of and able to meet the young person's educational needs, including any special needs or abilities?
  • Are the health unit and wing staff aware of, and able to meet, the young person's health needs?
  • Are staff aware of, and able to meet, the young person's religious and cultural needs?
  • Is the young person worried about anything? If so, what?
  • What impact has the sentence had on family relationships? Does there need to be help with contact arrangements?
  • What action is needed to the young person's Care Plan/Pathway Plan?

This assessment should be informed by the views of  the Youth Justice case manager, staff in the custodial establishment, the young person and family. This assessment will form the basis of an interim plan as to how the young person's needs  will be met in custody and who is responsible for each aspect of the plan.

5.5 Establishment Link Person

A person within the custodial establishment should be nominated to act as the link with the care planning process. They should be informed of the key elements of the young person's Care Plan and keep the social worker informed of the young person's progress and events within the establishment. The young person's Youth Justice  case manager should also be kept informed of changes to the Care Plan and other relevant information. Subject to the young person's agreement, the Youth Justice case manager and nominated link person should be invited to attend review meetings.

5.6 Sentence Planning

The young person's social worker should always be invited to remand or sentence planning meetings, and as a minimum should attend the first meeting and the release preparation meeting. If the social worker cannot attend, he/she must provide relevant information about the young person's Care or Pathway Plan to the Targeted Youth Support Service case manager prior to the meeting.

5.7 Planning for Release

The young person's social worker and Youth Justice case manager must work together to co-ordinate arrangements for the young person's release and subsequent support in the community. The young person will continue to have 2 separate plans: the Care Plan (which may include the Pathway Plan), and the Youth Justice  Intervention plan. They must be co-ordinated.

Where a review of the young person's case chaired by the IRO has not already occurred, the social worker in conjunction with the IRO must arrange for a review prior to the young person's release from custody. The timing might be scheduled so that it is co-ordinated with the release preparation meeting.

If the young person is to continue being Looked After, the Local Authority will be responsible for the provision of a placement and financial support in the community. The social worker should record the plan for how this support is to be provided  and make copies available to the young person, the Youth Justice  case manager, the IRO, and other agencies that will be involved with supporting the young person after release and family if appropriate.

There will be potential areas of overlap where arrangements may be made by either the Youth Justice case manager or the social worker (e.g. health and education). Negotiation should take place on which of them is best placed to make the arrangements in each case.

As soon as possible, and at least by the time of the final sentence planning meeting 10 working days before release, the young person must be told the content of both the Care Plan and the Notice of Supervision or Licence so that s/he is aware of:

  • Who is collecting him/her;
  • Where s/he will be living;
  • The reporting arrangements;
  • Sources of support - including out of hours;
  • The arrangements for education or employment;
  • Arrangements for meeting continued health needs;
  • How and when s/he will receive financial support;
  • When s/he will be seeing his/her social worker; and
  • The roles and responsibilities of the respective practitioners.

Where the young person is serving his/her sentence (or part of it) in the community, the social worker and Youth Justice case manager should keep each other informed of significant events, including any changes in service delivery or plans. 

It is good practice to have some joint meetings involving the young person, the Youth Justice case manager and the social worker. Where the young person is having difficulty in complying with his/her Notice of Supervision or Licence conditions, the social worker should work with the Youth Justice  Service to put additional support in place.

6. National Guidance

Practical guidance on minimum standards for:

  • Preventing Offending;
  • Out-of-Court Disposals;
  • Assessing Young People;
  • Working in Court;
  • Working with Victims of Crime;
  • Interventions in Custody and the Community.

Standards for Children in the Youth Justice System 2019 and Case Management Guidance for Youth Offending Teams and Managers on How to Work with Children and Young People in the Youth Justice System