What does it mean? – S


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



Secure Accommodation

This is where a young person is detained and closely monitored. It’s often for their own safety, or the safety of others, and can be because the young person is running away a lot. It’s always a last resort though. There is one secure unit in Devon, Atkinson Unit, for when the courts decide a Secure Accommodation Order is needed.

Secure Accommodation Order

You might become a Child in Care because you’ve been arrested by the police and they’ve asked the Local Authority to find you somewhere to live. If you were arrested between the ages of 10-16, have been to court because you were charged with an offence, and the court were worried that you may injure yourself or others or go missing, they may have remanded you to the care of the Local Authority, which must provide you with somewhere to live – this is called a Secure Accommodation Order. You might be placed in secure accommodation or in a secure children’s home.


This is about how good you feel about yourself. If you have high self-esteem, you feel confident about who you are and what you can achieve. If you have low self-esteem, you aren’t as confident and as happy as you could be. Sometimes people can appear to have high self-esteem when they don’t.

Self Harm

Self Harm is the term used when someone deliberately hurts themselves as a way of dealing with their emotions, they may do this in a number of ways. Self harm is a coping strategy that helps people to manage their emotional hurt or stress. It is important to remember that it is not attempted suicide, but it is something that people feel they need to do in order to survive. Often people self harm to try to feel as if they have more control over their emotions, or to get immediate relief from high levels of distress. Sometimes people harm themselves because of self hate, or because they want to punish themselves.

Self harm is NOT attention seeking or manipulative. It is NOT a mental illness but it is a symptom of internal stress or distress. It is NOT just a young person’s problem. It is NOT a suicide attempt, but is about staying alive. Self harm is NOT the problem – the person is struggling with something else. It is NOT a problem that cannot be solved, people can learn to manage their emotions in a different way.

Young Minds offer more help, support and guidance on their website.

SEND – Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

These are personal barriers, hurdles or needs that get in the way of education and make learning difficult for some young people. Young people with SEND usually have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) to make sure they get the right support to achieve as much in Education as possible.

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

Sexual Exploitation

Child sexual exploitation (CSE) is a type of sexual abuse in which children are sexually exploited for money, power or status. Children or young people may be tricked into believing they’re in a loving and equal relationship. They might be invited to parties and given drugs and alcohol. They may also be groomed online. Some children and young people are trafficked into or within the UK for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Sexual exploitation can also happen to young people in gangs.

SLCN – Speech, Language and Communication Needs

Some people have great difficulties with communication. This is hard when so much of life involves communicating in so many different ways! Speech and Language Therapists can help with these difficulties so that life is easier for you to manage. If you feel that you have problems understanding what people are trying to say to you or getting your words out, you may have a Communication problem that has not yet been diagnosed. Speak to a teacher or health professional about this – there is help available!

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

Special Guardianship Order (SGO)

A Special Guardianship Order is when the court agrees that someone other than the birth parent of a child can be a child’s ‘special guardian’ and therefore the child can live with that person. It is meant for those children who cannot live with their birth parents and who would benefit from a legally secure placement. It is a more secure order than a residence order because a parent cannot apply to discharge it unless they have the permission of the court to do so. However, it is less secure than an adoption order because it does not end the legal relationship between the child and his/her birth parents. The Special Guardian will have clear responsibility for all day to day decisions about the care of the child.

Social 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).

Social Worker

It’s a social worker’s job to make sure that people who have trouble looking after themselves are cared for. There are many different kinds of social workers working with all sorts of different people. Some social workers work with elderly people or disabled people, and some with children and young people, or families.

Staying Put

A Staying Put arrangement is where a young person who has been living in foster care remains in the former foster home after the age of 18.

Supervision Order

Sometimes, when a young person commits an offence the court imposes a Supervision Order. The offender comes under the supervision of a probation officer, social worker or a Youth Offending Team member acting as a responsible officer and certain conditions are put in place. More information about the Youth Offending Service is available here.