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Care and support (in relation to adults)

Care and support is the mixture of practical, financial and emotional support for adults who need extra help to manage their lives and be independent. This can include older people, people with a disability or long-term illness, people with mental health problems, and carers.


A carer is anyone who cares, unpaid, for a friend or family member who due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction cannot cope without their support. Those under the age of 18 providing this support are often called young carers.

The NSPCC also refer to ‘children’s parents or carers’ to represent adults who care for a child but are not that child’s legal guardian.

Care plan

A care plan is an official document on the arrangements to care for a person.

For children, this often refers to the plan set by the local authority about a child which might have agreement with a court. It will lay out where the child(ren) should live, who they should live with, who should see them and when, and who is responsible for this.

For adults, this often refers to the agreed package of support or access to services which means that an individual can get care and support. 

Care setting/services

This includes:

  • nursing care
  • residential children’s care
  • social care
  • health care
  • social activities
  • emotional support
  • emergency housing
  • housing support
  • befriending and advice services
  • domiciliary care
  • support setting
  • services provided in a person’s home whether through an organisation or paid by the individual themselves. 

Central referral unit

Some local police will use central referral units. If you refer a safeguarding concern to the police it could be received by the central referral unit. They will risk assess, grade, and allocate every concern to an agency or police team to deal with it. Others work with multi-agency safeguarding hubs (See MASH section).

The College of Policing states

‘All information and intelligence relating to child abuse including that from other agencies, should be held within a police force’s central referral unit or equivalent arrangement’.

Channel panels

Channel is a programme to provide support at an early stage to people who are identified as being vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism. Each local authority should have a channel panel which brings together different agencies to identifying individuals at risk of drawing into terrorism, assessing the nature and extent of that risk and developing the most appropriate support plan for the individuals concerned. 


For the purposes of safeguarding, a child is anyone under 18. The fact that a child has reached 16 years of age, is living independently or is in further education, is a member of the armed forces, is in hospital or in custody in the secure estate, does not change their status or entitlements to services or protection.

It may be appropriate to talk about your service users being 'children and young people', as teenagers might not like being referred to as 'children', but you should be clear that 16 and 17 year olds are still 'children' under safeguarding legislation. 

Child death review

A child death review follows the death of a child. The purposes of the review is to identify any matters relating to the death or deaths that are relevant to the welfare of children in the area or to public health and safety, and whether it would be appropriate for anyone to take action in relation to any matters identified. They are led by the local authority and the local clinical commissioning group.

Child protection

Part of safeguarding and promoting welfare. This refers to the activity that is undertaken to protect specific children who are suffering, or are likely to suffer, significant harm.

Child safeguarding

See safeguarding

Child safeguarding practice reviews

Formerly known as serious case reviews (SCRs), the review is undertaken when a child dies (including death by suspected suicide) or has been seriously harmed and abuse or neglect is known or suspected. The purpose of reviews of serious child safeguarding cases, at both local and national level, is to identify improvements to be made to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.

Child safeguarding practice review panel

A panel independent of government which can commission reviews of serious child safeguarding cases. It aims to identify and oversee the review of serious child safeguarding cases which, in its view, raise issues of complex or national importance. 

  • Want to learn more about child safeguarding practice reviews? See the website.

Child sex offender disclosure scheme (Sarah’s Law)

Anyone can make an application about a person who has some form of contact with a child or children. The police may tell them – or someone close to the child - if someone in contact with the child has a record for child sexual offences. They will only do so when it is lawful and proportionate to help protect a child from harm. It is often called ‘Sarah’s Law’ as it was developed by Sara Payne, the former victims champion, whose daughter Sarah Payne was murdered.

Child in need

This is a legal definition of a child who is

‘unlikely to achieve or maintain a reasonable level of health or development, or whose health and development is likely to be significantly or further impaired, without the provision of services; or a child who is disabled’.

Services could include social worker support, school, health, or other agency support. There will be regular meetings to review what is in place for the child and the impact of those services. Usually the local authority will assess an individual child to decide whether they are a child in need.

Children in care

A child in care is one who is not currently in the care of their parents but is in the care of the local authority. This may have been agreed voluntarily with their parents or where a court has agreed that there is a risk of harm and they are in need of protection. The child may be living with foster parents, in a residential children's home or living in residential settings like schools or secure units. Often this will be temporary but if they cannot be returned to their parents then they may be placed for adoption.

Legally this known as being a 'looked after child' or 'LAC'. However, many children do not like this term as they feel they are not being well looked after and the acronym 'LAC' implies they are lacking something. For this reason, they – and organisations working with them - prefer to use the term ‘children in care’.

Child criminal exploitation

The government guidance Working Together to Safeguard Children describes this as:

'where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, control, manipulate or deceive a child or young person under the age of 18 into any criminal activity (a) in exchange for something the victim needs or wants, and/or (b) for the financial or other advantage of the perpetrator or facilitator and/or (c) through violence or the threat of violence. The victim may have been criminally exploited even if the activity appears consensual. Child criminal exploitation does not always involve physical contact; it can also occur through the use of technology.'

Child sexual exploitation

The government guidance Working Together to Safeguard Children describes this as:

'a form of child sexual abuse. It occurs where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, manipulate or deceive a child or young person under the age of 18 into sexual activity (a) in exchange for something the victim needs or wants, and/or (b) for the financial advantage or increased status of the perpetrator or facilitator. The victim may have been sexually exploited even if the sexual activity appears consensual. Child sexual exploitation does not always involve physical contact; it can also occur through the use of technology.'

Clare’s Law

See: domestic violence disclosure scheme 

Coercive control

An act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim


A safeguarding concern is anything to do with someone’s safety and well-being raised with the local authority by any person. The concern will be raised about an individual who is experiencing abuse or is at risk of abuse, or about someone who has abused someone else


There is no one definition of confidentiality. Generally speaking a confidential relationship can come about when a person notices or has agreed that information they have or hold is not in the public domain or accessible to others. Many relationships will automatically be deemed as confidential – such as between a doctor and patient.

The holding and sharing of data is governed by data protection laws. This can require you to ensure that you have appropriate security measures in place to protect the personal data held.

Maintaining confidentiality means not disclosing any information at any time to any party without the informed consent of the person concerned. For children and adults at risk who face harm there may be a necessity to breach confidentiality and share this information to protect them or others from experiencing harm.


An individual should have the ability to voluntarily agree to the proposal or desire of another. Consent should be able to be provided on a continuing basis.

An individual should have the ability to give continuing permission for any safeguarding intervention. They should be given a sufficient understanding of the reason for the intervention, what the next steps will be, and what the likely consequences could be.

You should seek consent for sharing information and be open and honest with the individual from the outset as to why, what, how and with whom, their information will be shared. You should seek consent where an individual may not expect their information to be passed on. When you gain consent to share information, it must be explicit, and freely given.

There may be some circumstances where it is not appropriate to seek consent, either because the individual cannot give consent, it is not reasonable to obtain consent, or because to gain consent would put an individual’s safety or well-being at risk.

Controlling behaviour

A range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and/or dependent by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behaviour.

County lines

A legal term described in Home Office guidance as:

'used to describe gangs and organised criminal networks involved in exporting illegal drugs into one or more importing areas within the UK, using dedicated mobile phone lines or other form of ‘deal line’. They are likely to exploit children and vulnerable adults to move and store the drugs and money, and they will often use coercion, intimidation, violence (including sexual violence) and weapons.'

Court of Protection

This is a distinct part of the judicial system in England which makes make decisions on financial or welfare matters for people who can’t make decisions at the time they need to be made (they ‘lack mental capacity’).

Page last edited Oct 04, 2019

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