What does it mean? – L


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 L. You can see other entries by clicking the letters below.



Lead Member for Children in Care

This is the Councillor who has special responsibility for Children in Care in Devon. This person chairs the Corporate Parenting Board and Forum. Currently the Lead Member is Cllr James McInnes.

Learning Difficulty

A learning difficulty can cover a lot of different problems with learning – such as dyslexia and communication processing problems. Sometimes people can get confused between learning difficulties and learning disabilities. A disability is usually a more severe condition that impacts everyday life.

Learning Disability

A learning disability is a reduced intellectual ability and difficulty with everyday activities – for example household tasks, socialising or managing money – which affects someone for their whole life. People with a learning disability tend to take longer to learn and will need support to develop new skills, understand complex information and interact with other people. The level of support someone needs depends on the severity of their learning disability. For example, someone with a mild learning disability may only need support with things like getting a job. However, someone with a severe or profound learning disability may need full-time care and support with every aspect of their life – they may also have physical disabilities. It’s important to remember that with the right support, most people with a learning disability can lead independent lives.

More information on the SEND local offer is available on the Devon County Council website.

Local Authority

The local authority is the name given to Devon County Council. It can mean the whole council or just one part of it.

Looked After Children

‘Looked after Child’ is the name given to all children that the local authority has some sort of responsibility for. It has the same meaning as Child in Care or Child Looked After. 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.

Looked After Child (LAC)/Children in Care (CIC) Review

This is another name for your Children in Care Review meeting 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.


The L and G stand for lesbian and gay which means emotionally and/or physically attracted to people of your own gender. B is for bisexual which means being able to experience emotional and/or physical attraction both to people of the same gender and to people of the other gender. T stands for Trans, which means people who are:

  • Transgendered – people whose physical body (one’s sex) contradicts what they know their natural or true gender to be
  • Transsexual – a transgendered person who is living full-time in their true gender, with or without hormonal or surgical intervention
  • Transvestites/cross-dressing – someone who does not identify as transgendered, but who wants to live part of their life as a person of the other gender.

The Q and I are for those who are questioning or whose identity is fluid. So LGBTQI is about including and welcoming all who are LGB, Trans or questioning their identity.

Here’s a list of local LGBTQI support groups.

Local Government Ombudsman (LGO)

If someone has taken a complaint as far as they can with the local authority they can go to the Local Government Ombudsman. A local government ombudsman official will deal with complaints where you think that the local authority has not stuck to its own rules and guidelines. You can only go to the LGO by going through the complaints service first. If you have received a final response to your complaint and are still not happy, then go to the LGO.

Life Story Book/Life Story work

If you have a plan for adoption you must have a Life Story Book which explains your life in words, pictures and photos and is made by you with a worker to help. All children in care can have the opportunity to do this work even if they don’t end up with a book; it will tell you what you want to know as you’re growing up and is meant to be an opportunity to explore emotions and identity through play, conversation and counselling. The Life story Book should include as full a record as possible of your life and bring past and future together so you can make sense of it all. You can then continue your Life Story based on it. It is something you can come back to when you need to deal with old feelings and make sense of and accept the past, increase your sense of self and self-worth and be a way to understand and talk about painful issues. If you are in care or a care-leaver and would like to do some Life-story work, ask your social worker or PA to sort this out for you.

Later Life Letters

Later Life Letters are written by your social worker and the adopters’ social worker or in some cases the long-term foster carer’s social worker. You are the focus of the letter and it recognises that you have a need to know why you were placed for adoption/ long-term foster care. The Later Life Letter gives you an explanation of why you were taken into care/ adopted and the reasons and actions that led up to this decision being made. This should include, whenever possible, the people involved in this decision, and the facts at that time. The letter will be given to you at an appropriate time after the Adoption/ Care Order is made depending on your age and the content of the letter. It is usually given to you around the ages of 10-12 years.

Letterbox contact

When it decided that ‘indirect contact’ can happen with your birth family, this will be through the Letterbox Service. Your birth family and adoptive family share information by swapping letters usually once or twice a year.