This statutory guidance is issued to local authorities, Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) and Strategic Health Authorities (SHAs) and applies to England only. It is issued to all three under sections 10 and 11 of the Children Act 2004 and they must have regard to it when exercising their functions.

The guidance is also issued to local authorities under section 7 of the Local Authority Social Services Act 1970, and local authorities must act under it in discharging their duties to promote the health of the children they look after.

The policy context for this guidance is the overarching Every Child Matters framework for improving outcomes for children and young people and the programme set out in the White Paper, Care Matters: Time for Change, for improving outcomes for looked after children. Local authorities, SHAs and PCTs have a shared responsibility in helping to achieve Every Child Matters outcomes for looked after children.


  • Executive summary
  • Preface
  • Introduction to the guidance
  • Evidence and context for the guidance
  • Statutory guidance
  • Practice guidance
  • Annexes