Looked After Child (LAC) is a child or young person up to the age of eighteen years who is legally accommodated by the local authority. In England & Wales the term ‘LAC’ is defined in law under the Children Act 1989. A child is looked after by a local authority (LA) if he or she is in their care or is provided with accommodation for more than 24 hours by the authority.
There are four main groups
- accommodated under voluntary agreement with their parents (section 20)
- subject of a care order (section 31) or interim care order (section 38)
- subject of emergency orders for their protection (section 44 and 46)
- compulsorily accommodated including remanded to LA or subject to a criminal justice supervision order with a residence requirement (section 21).