This section is about the adult professionals that you may come across whilst growing up. It tells you about the people who work in the courts, the police station, Children’s Services and your school.
Teacher The person who teaches you in school. You may have one class teacher or different teachers for different subjects. Head of Year A teacher who is in charge of everybody in your year group. Head teacher or headmaster/headmistress The teacher who is in charge of your whole school. Deputy Head teacher The teacher who is in charge of the school when the head teacher is not there. Governing body A group of people in charge of setting the direction of the school. They can look at school exclusions, decisions about admissions and complaints about the school. Education Welfare Officer A person who works for the local authority to help children who have low attendance and other problems at school to try to find a solution. School Nurse A person trained to give you medical care in school. Learning Support Assistants (LSA) A person who helps the teacher in the classroom but is not a qualified teacher. Secretary of State for Education The person in Government who is responsible for child protection and education matters in England. Local Government Ombudsman An independent organisation who can look into complaints about the local authority. SENCO (Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator) The person in your school who will work with you if you have learning difficulties to make sure you are getting the right help in school. Speech and Language Therapist A professional who will work with you if you have difficulties speaking and communicating. Educational Psychologist A professional who will work with you if you have learning difficulties to check what support you might need in school. They might write a report to the local authority and your school to make sure you get the best support.
- Children's Services
Advocate A professional who can help you express your wishes and feelings to Children's Services and make sure you are fairly treated. They can go to meetings on your behalf, give you information and help you make a complaint. CAFCASS Cafcass is the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service who might talk to you if there is a case in the Family court about you. They have to check that you are safe and can write a report to the court about what they believe is in your best interests. CAMHS Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, which is part of the NHS. CAMHS can support you if, for example, you feel anxious, have trouble talking or sleeping, have problems eating, find it hard to concentrate, and many other things. Carer A person who looks after you most of the time who is not your parent or guardian. Children's Guardian A professional from Cafcass who might talk to you if your parents go to court to find out what you want to happen. The Guardian will speak to the court on your behalf and tell the court what he or she believes is in your best interests. Children's Services A department of the Local Authority who must identify and protect children at risk of harm, provide support to children in need and are responsible for children in care. Used to be known as Social Services. Connected person If you are a looked after child you may be placed with a connected person who may be your relative or friend or someone else you know such as a teacher, a childminder or a neighbour. Designated teacher A senior teacher in your school who must promote the education and achievement of all looked after children in the school. Foster parent/carer A person who will look after you if you cannot live with your parents. It could be someone you know or someone who works for the local authority. You might live with them for a short period or long-term. Independent reviewing officer A person who works for Children's Services and if you are in care must make sure your care plan meets your needs and your wishes are heard. Independent visitor An independent adult who is not in the care system who can befriend you and provide support. Key worker If Children's Services are involved with you and your family you may have a key worker who is in charge of making sure all the services you need are working together. Kinship carer or Family and Friends carer A relative or friend who will look after you if you cannot live with your parents. Personal Advisor If you are a care leaver, you may have a Personal Advisor who will give you advice and support and organise the services that you need when you leave care. You should have a choice of Personal Advisor. Social Services Now called Children's Services (see note for Children's Services). Social Worker A person who works for Children's Services who may come to see and talk to you to check that you are safe and healthy and see if you need any support. If you are in care you will have a named Social Worker. Virtual School Head teacher A teacher who works for the local authority to promote the education of all looked after children in their area.
- Home and family
CAFCASS Cafcass is the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service who might talk to you if there is a case in the Family court about you. They have to check that you are safe and can write a report to the court about what they believe is in your best interests. Family Court Judge The person who will make a decision in a court case in the family court about you. For example, they might decide which parent you live with, when you spend time with another parent or whether you should live with someone else. They must always make a decision that is in your best interests. Barrister A legal professional who represents you in court. Solicitor A legal professional who advises you on the law and can take action on your behalf. They can go to court for you. Advocate A professional who can help you express your wishes and feelings to Children's Services and make sure you are fairly treated. They can go to meetings on your behalf, give you information and help you make a complaint. Mediator A professional who helps families talk about their differences to try and reach a solution. For example, if your parents disagree who you should live with they might see a mediator to reach agreement. Children's Guardian If there is a court case about you in the Family court you may have a Guardian who must find out your views and to go to court and speak about what he or she believes is in your best interests. Family Court Adviser If there is a court case about you in the Family court, you might meet a Family Court Adviser who is a professional from CAFCASS. They must tell the Family court the best course of action for you. Litigation friend If you are party to a case in the Family court you will be given a litigation friend who will handle the court case on your behalf. The litigation friend must not have their own interest in the case, and must always act in your best interests.
- At the police station/criminal
Appropriate adult A person over 18 who will support you if you are at the police station or are being interviewed by the police. They must be there by law if you are interviewed, searched, fingerprinted, photographed, giving DNA or being tested for drugs. Clerk of court A person who works for the court to make sure it runs smoothly. Custody Sergeant The person in charge of your care and welfare if you have been arrested and taken to the police station. Defendant A person accused of a crime in a criminal case. Duty Solicitor A lawyer who will advise you on the law for free if you do not have your own solicitor. Jury A group of people who will make a decision on whether someone if guilty or not guilty of a crime based on the evidence they see and hear in court. Magistrates Volunteers who sit in a panel of two or three people to decide a case in court. Police officer A person who has the power to ensure law and order, usually wearing uniform. Prosecutor A lawyer who will bring a criminal case against someone, they usually work for the Crown Prosecution Service. Witness A person who may give evidence for the defence or prosecution because they saw, heard or found something that might be important in a criminal case. Youth Offending Team or Service A team of people who work with children to stop them from committing a crime.