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Reasons a Child Is Removed from the Home in the UK

At Family Fostering Partners our foster parents offer love and support to all the children and young people in their care; helping to ensure that those in their care have the best possible chance to succeed and reach their full potential. So that every child can thrive in our care, understanding a child’s background and the circumstances that led to them being removed from their parent’s care is essential.  A question we regularly receive from people interested in fostering is “what are the reasons a child is removed from the home in the UK”, or “what can cause a child to be taken away”.  

What Can Cause a Child to Be Taken Away? 

The Children Act 1989 (England and Wales), Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014, Children (Scotland) Act 1995 and Children (Northern Ireland) Order 1995 all govern the safeguarding and welfare of young people under the age of 18. The acts are similar across the whole of the UK. 

Once an issue of welfare or safeguarding of a child has been reported and it is thought they are at risk of significant harm, being harmed or being beyond parental control, the Local Authority may initiate care proceedings. This process is designed to ascertain the best course of action to protect the child and secure their ongoing health and development. 

As care proceedings progress, situations may deteriorate, leading to the use of interim care orders and emergency protection orders to ensure the ongoing safety of the child.  

In cases of mental or physical illness or changes in the family dynamic, parents may voluntarily place their children into care; a legally binding arrangement. 

It's crucial to recognise that taking a child away from the family home is always the last resort for social services.  Sadly, some common reasons for a child to be removed from the care of their parents include neglect, abandonment, abuse, loss of parent(s), and incarceration.

List of reasons why a child may be removed from the home.


This can be best described as the persistent failure to meet the child's basic physical and psychological needs. Neglect might also be medical, emotional, or educational, and is one of the most common reasons why a child is removed from the home (UK). 


Leaving a child to fend for themselves for excessive durations or leaving a child permanently. 


Abuse can take many forms, including physical (violence and bullying behaviour), emotional, or sexual abuse. In some cases, it can be a combination of these, or it might be that the child is repeatedly witnessing such abuse in the family home. 

Loss of parent(s) 

The sudden loss of the parents due to serious illness or death can result in a child being taken into care until alternative arrangements, e.g. kinship care, can be made. 


In much the same way as the sudden loss of parents to illness or death, a child can be taken into care if their parents are sent to prison. 


At Family Fostering Partners we don’t shy away from uncomfortable questions such as ‘what can cause a child to be taken away’. Each possible reason that children are removed from home in the UK could not be adequately covered by a single web page, therefore, we invite you to ask us your questions using the ‘chat to us feature’ in the bottom right-hand corner. 

Crucially, understanding that all children have the right to love and be loved is at the centre of everything we do, and everything we believe. These early childhood experience shape the children in our collective care forever, and it is the duty of us and our foster parents to give them the love and nurture that they deserve to enable them to thrive. You can read more about our values here… 

If you're ready to take the first step on your fostering journey, or to learn more about becoming a part of our family of foster parents, click here to get in touch…. 

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