What does it mean? – C


This page is part of our handy list of definitions and explanations of some of the terms that you might have come across but didn’t know what they meant. If you think we’ve missed something, let us know, and we’ll look at added it to the list. 

These are the entries for C. You can see other entries by clicking the letters below.


CAFCASS (Child and Family Court Advisory Support Service)

CAFCASS social workers are called ‘Family Court Advisers’ or ‘Children’s Guardians’. Their job is to speak for children in the family courts. They give advice to the court, work to keep children safe, look after their wellbeing and provide information, support and advice to families.

The Children’s Guardian works for CAFCASS.


CAMHS stands for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service. They offer assessment and treatment when children and young people have emotional, behavioural or mental health difficulties. Children and young people and their families can be referred to CAMHS if they are finding it hard to cope with family life, school or life in general. If these difficulties are too much for family, friends or your GP to help you with, CAMHS may be able to support you.

Care Leaver

This is a young person who is about to leave care, or an adult who has left care. Young people usually leave care after they have turned 18 when they become an adult. Devon County Council has a duty to keep in touch with all care leavers up to the age of 21 and to provide them with a local offer of care and support until they are 25 if they want. When a Child in Care reaches the age of 16, they are usually classed as a ‘care leaver’ even if they are staying with their foster carers. At this point, they are allocated a Personal Advisor who will help them access everything they are entitled to as care leavers.

Care Order

A care order will be given out when a judge is convinced that a child is suffering or is likely to suffer significant harm if they are still living in their family home.

Care Plan

This is a document that your social worker writes with you that tells all the people involved what you need and the way that other workers should be helping you. You should have a copy of your care plan and read it; it will help you know what’s being put in place for you.

Careers South West (CSW)

Careers South West provides advice, guidance and practical help for young people aged 13-19 across Cornwall, Plymouth, Torbay, Devon and Somerset. Advisers help young people find up-to-date information about careers, jobs, education courses, volunteering, training opportunities and other personal support so that they see all the options open to them. They do not tell you what to do but help you choose what is best for you.

CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection)

CEOP works with child protection partners across the UK and overseas to protect children from harm, especially online. They pursue those who exploit and abuse children and work with other agencies who safeguard children.


You might hear things like ‘who chaired that meeting?’ Or ‘who was the chair?’ Well, the chair is the adult who is running the meeting, keeping it organised and is responsible for making sure that everyone gets a say. In your Child in Care Review or Child Protection Conference the chair will be the Independent Safeguarding & Reviewing Officer (ISRO or IRO).

Chances Academy

Based in Dawlish, Chances is run by Space youth services and offers support to young people who need to take time out from mainstream education or who find being in school difficult.

Child Protection Conference

When social workers are concerned that a child or young person may be at risk of significant harm, they hold a meeting called a Child Protection Conference with the family and the workers who are involved. They discuss how together they can make changes to improve life for the child or young person. At the end of the Child Protection Conference there will be discussion to decide if there is a need for a Child Protection plan. If there is, social workers will make regular checks to see that things are getting better for the child.

Children Act (1989)

The Children Act 1989 is the most important law about children who are looked after by local authorities in England and Wales. It describes in a lot of detail what local authorities must do when they plan and review the care of young people they look after.

Children in Care Council – Stand Up Speak Up! (SUSU)

This is a group of young people who meet regularly and discuss the issues that they feel are affecting children in care in Devon. They are often asked what they think about the way Devon County Council is working and how to make improvements. The young people who are involved in the Children in Care Council also have lots of fun in their locality SUSU groups.

Child in Care

‘Child in Care’ is the name given to all children that the local authority has some sort of responsibility for. It includes all children that are on a care order and those who are accommodated. It sometimes includes children who are living at home and who the local authority has responsibility for.

Child in care (CIC) / Looked after child (LAC)/ Child Looked After (CLA) Review meeting

‘Looked after Child’ or ‘Child Looked After’ are just other names for Child in Care. The Review meeting is often just shortened to ‘review’. It’s a meeting which includes the young person and is chaired by the Independent Safeguarding and Reviewing Officer and it’s where the care plan is looked at to make sure that all needs of the young person are being met and that they are happy and settled.

Children in Need

These are children who are getting help and support from a social worker or other services but don’t need child protection. You may also hear the term ‘section 17’. This is the part of the Children Act which deals with children who require help but don’t need care proceedings.

Children’s Guardian

This is a person from the court who works to make sure that your views and best interests are put forward to the judge when there is a court case and you are involved. They are employed by CAFCASS.

Children’s Services

Lots of people say Social Services when they mean Children’s Services. Children’s Services cover things like child protection, children in need, children in care, fostering and adoption, and children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

CSE (Child Sexual Exploitation)

Child sexual exploitation is 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. This might be in exchange for something the victim needs or wants, and/or 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 to have been something they agreed to. Child sexual exploitation does not always involve physical contact; it can also occur through the use of technology online or via social media.


Commissioning means finding out where there is a need for a service and paying someone to meet that need. Devon has a ‘commissioning team’ which is responsible for finding groups of people called ‘providers’ – these providers then provide a service that Devon needs. Space youth service is an example of a commissioned service.

Core Group

Once it has been decided that a child protection plan is required, it is the responsibility of the core group to make sure that what is said in the plan happens. The child protection conference will decide who is part of the core group. The core group includes the lead social worker, who will usually chair the group, the child (where appropriate), family members and professionals or carers who will have direct contact with the child and their family.

Customer Relations – Complaints

Every organisation that works with children has to have a complaints service which needs to be easy to use. If you want to make a complaint about something that is happening to you, or that has happened to you in the past, use the Mind Of My Own app and click on ‘I’d like to make a complaint’. If you are unsure about how to go about making a complaint and would like some help, go to the NYAS website and click on ‘ask for an advocate’. All complaints are taken seriously.

You can also contact the Customer Relations Team to say when something has worked for you and to pay a compliment.


‘Only people who need to know, should know’. Information about you and your life is confidential and shouldn’t be known by everyone. You might have confidential workers such as advocates or therapists who don’t tell anyone what you have said but most workers will agree not to tell anyone what you have said UNLESS a crime has been committed, or you say something which makes them think that you or another person is at risk of significant harm.


This is when people are asked their opinion formally. Stand Up Speak Up is the main ‘consultation group’ for young people in Devon who are in care. They are asked what they think about a whole load of things and changes are often made as a result. Coram Voice and other national organisations also conduct consultations which are fed into Parliament. You have a right to be consulted on any decision that affects your life or services you use.


Contact is a word used to describe spending time with people you are related to or know very well. ‘Family Time’ is often used instead of the word ‘contact’. It’s a very important thing for most children in care. Most people want to see their mums, dads, brothers and sisters whenever they can, and it is up to your social worker to arrange how often you have contact and who you have contact with. There may be some people that you are not allowed contact with, your social worker should explain why. These decisions are often made in court: A residence order establishes where a child will live and a contact order sets out who the children should spend time with. Contact can be supervised, which means that a social worker may go with you, or that the contact takes place in a centre where there are staff around. Or contact may be unsupervised, which means that you will be dropped off and picked up at a set time. You can ask your social worker for more contact if you miss people, but sometimes your social worker may decide this is not in your best interests.

Contingency Plan

You may hear this phrase at a meeting – and it means the back-up plan. It’s something that will happen if the main plan doesn’t quite work.

Corporate Parents

You may have heard your social worker say ‘we are your corporate parents’. When you become a Child in Care, everyone who works for Devon County Council, from the top to the bottom, becomes your ‘corporate parent’ and they are expected to look after you and to do things to keep you safe and happy.


Every four years people who live in Devon vote for who they would like to run things in the County. The people who are voted in are called the Councillors and it’s their job to run the Council, make decisions about most things in Devon and make sure the different managers are doing their jobs properly.