Care-Experienced Glossary

A lot of words get used by services supporting care experienced young people and sometimes they might forget that not everyone uses those words or understands exactly what it is they mean.

Check out the Care Experienced Glossary.  It is a list of words and phrases that you might have heard or seen used but are not sure what they mean.


Something that causes harm to a child or young person. It may be physical, emotional, sexual, or neglect of a child or young person.


This means that you are looked after and have been given somewhere to live by Renfrewshire Council.

Advocacy/ Advocate

An advocate is someone who can help you have your voice, needs, and concerns heard and make sure that they are included in decisions made about your life. If you feel your voice is not being heard, an advocate can help you to challenge and ask questions about decisions which have been made. Independent advocacy helps people to learn about and better understand their rights, their situation, and their systems.


If a child or their family disagrees with a decision made by a Children’s Hearing, they can appeal against the decision. There must be a reason in law for the appeal, and a solicitor must be contacted as soon as possible for further advice.


Aftercare means the advice, guidance, and assistance that a Care Experienced young person may request up until their 26th birthday. This is different from Continuing Care.


To give permission or to allow something.


CAHMS stands for “Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services”. If you have mental health problems, you may go to see someone from CAMHS. They’ll try to help you get better.

Care Experienced

When we say Care Experienced, we mean a child, young person or adult who is, or who has been, “looked after” (either at home or in an accommodated placement) at some point in their childhood. This can include kinship, foster, residential care, or being looked after at home under a Compulsory Supervision Order.

Child’s Plan

Your Child’s Plan is written by your Social Worker and other important adults in your life. It has information about you, where you live, and your plans for the future.

Child Protection

The process of identifying and supporting children at risk of harm, abuse, or exploitation. The Child Protection register lists the names of local children and young people who are being supported by the Child Protection process.

Children’s Hearing

A Children’s Hearing is a legal meeting for children and young people in need of help, support, or protection. Children’s Hearings are held in private, with a Children’s Reporter and Panel Members

Children’s Home

A residential home where young people live together that are supported by a live-in team of staff. This can sometimes be called “Residential Care”

This is a place where several children and young people can stay. Rather than one family, a different team of people, known as Residential Workers, will look after you. There is always someone on there to make sure you are safe and happy. This is also sometimes called a Residential Home.

Compulsory Supervision Order or Supervision Order

A Compulsory Supervision Order is a legal process and can sometimes be called a CSO. It makes sure that children and young people are safe. It places a duty on social workers and the local authority to ensure that children and young people are safe.

Usually, a Compulsory Supervision Order will last for 12 months. The longest they can last is until you turn 18 years old. After this time, it must be reviewed by the Children’s Hearing, who will decide if the order should be continued or ended.

If things get better, a CSO can be ended at any time. It should not last longer than is necessary.

You will be asked to come back to a Hearing within a year of your Compulsory Supervision Order being made. This is called a Review Hearing.


It means keeping information safe and private. If an adult thinks that you or someone else is at risk of harm, they may have to share the information. If this happens, they should tell you that this will happen, who they will tell and why.


Time spent between a child or young person and someone else, normally another family member.  This is also called Family Time.

Continuing Care

Continuing Care means that a young person can stay put in the same accommodation when they stop being looked after by the local authority. This means you can stay there until you are 21 if you and your carers agree.

Corporate Parent

Corporate Parents are organisations that have a responsibility for supporting and caring for children and young people. Although they are not a physical parent, they have the same responsibilities to make sure you are safe, loved, respected and able to fulfil your potential

Court Proceeding

This can include matters relating to the Children’s Hearings System or where a child or young person is believed to have committed an offence

Foster Care

Foster Care is a way of giving children and young people a safe and secure place to stay while their family is unable to care for them. This can happen for only a short period of time, or sometimes longer if needed.

Foster Carer

A foster carer is someone who is specially trained and looks after children and young people in their own homes and gives them a safe and secure home. This can be for a short time or sometimes longer.

GIRFEC (Getting it Right for Every Child)

Getting it right for every child (GIRFEC) is a national policy designed to make sure that all children and young people get the help that they need when they need it.


A GP is a Doctor. GP stands for General Practitioner


A person who looks after a child or young person, but who is not their parent. For example, a foster carer or residential worker.

Kinship Care

A child who lives away from their parents with an adult who has a pre-existing relationship with the child. This could be a Grandparent, Aunt, or a family friend.

Local Authority

This is the organisation in charge of the services in your area. Local authority staff are responsible for a wide range of services such as housing, schools, social work services and transport.


This stands for “Not in Education, Employment or Training”. It means that you are a young adult who requires further support to access a positive pathway such as work, college or university or an apprenticeship.


This is sometimes used to describe the people around you, such as your friends, who are of a similar age and stage to you.


The process by which Care Experienced children and young people are provided with a settled, secure, and permanent place to live.

Promise Champions Board

Champions Boards allow young people to have direct influence within their local area and hold their Corporate Parents to account to ensure that they #KeepThePromise. They also ensure that services are tailored and responsive to the needs of Care Experienced young people and are sensitive to the kinds of vulnerabilities they may have because of their experiences before, during and aftercare.


If a child or young person’s behaviour is a serious risk to themselves or others, as a last resort, the child may be physically held to prevent harm

Risk Assessment

The process of identifying hazards to the safety of children and young people, deciding how serious and likely a risk is to happen and identifying and recording reasonable measures to minimise unnecessary hazards.

Secure Care 

Secure accommodation is a type of Residential Care for young offenders and children or young people who may need extra support or if there is a worry that they are a danger to themselves. They provide accommodation, care services and education.


Your brothers and sisters. You do not have to be related to your brothers and sisters for them to be considered your sibling.  

Social Worker

Someone who makes sure that you are safe and that you and your family are properly supported. They will visit you often and come to your meetings


People who are employed or volunteer to work directly or indirectly with children, young people, and their families

Subject Access Request

A request you make for access to your own personal information, such as your social work file or a request from someone who is acting on your behalf (e.g. your solicitor or advocacy worker).

Team Around the Child

A Team around the child is a group which involves people from lots of different services and organisations who support the child and family and are likely to be participants at a child’s plan meeting

The Independent Care Review

The Independent Care Review refers to the independent review of the care system in Scotland between 2017 and 2020. The review prioritised listening and heard over 5,500 experiences.  The Care Review published seven reports in February 2020. These reports are what is now known as The Promise.

The Promise

The Promise is the main report of Scotland’s independent care review published in 2020. It reflects the views of over 5,500 care experienced children and adults, families, and the workforce. It described what Scotland must do to make sure that its Care Experienced children are loved, safe, and respected, able to fulfil their potential.


The advice and assistance provided to Care-Experienced young people to prepare them for independent living. Local authorities are under a duty to provide such assistance to all looked after children who continue to be looked after on or after their sixteenth birthday


The extent to which a child is safe, healthy, achieving, nurtured, active and respected

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