Children living away from their parents

This section deals with procedures in relation to children who live away from their parents, particularly those in foster care and in custody.

Overview

Children living away from home are particularly vulnerbale to abuse and neglect. Every setting in which children live away from home should provide the same basic safeguards against abuse, promote their welfare, protect thm from harm of all kinds and treat them with dignity and respect.

In all settings in which children live away from home, including foster care, residential care, private fostering, Armed Forces bases, Health Care, boarding schools (including residential special schools), prisons, Young Offenders' institutions, Secure Training Centres and Secure Units, safeguards should ensure that the following safeguards are in place:

  • Children are listened to, feel valued and respected and their self-esteem is promoted;
  • Children have access to a trusted adult outside of the home or institution;
  • The home/institution is open to external scrutiny and contact with families and the wider community;
  • There are clear safeguarding children procedures in place;
  • Staff are trained in all aspects of safeguarding children, including risks of harm from people who are prepared to exploit the additional vulnerability of children living away from home;
  • Staff are trained in communicating with children and know where to go to seek help where children have special communication needs;
  • Complaints procedures are in place and accessible to all children with special needs;
  • An effective anti-bullying strategy is in place;
  • Recruitment and selection procedures and rigorous and include relevant checks for all applicants including contractor/temporary staff and volunteers;
  • Effective supervision and support is provided for all staff including contractor/temporary staff and volunteers;
  • There is respect for diversity and sensitvity to race, culture, religion, gender, sexuality and disability.

Children in Custody

Children who are in custody are often children in need. Children in custody, including those in custody on a remand basis, should have their overall welfare safeguarded and promoted in keeping with the natural restrictions that apply when withholding a person's liberty. The Youth Offending Team has specific responsibilities for promoting the welfare of children in custody.

Where there is a concern for a child who is in custody a referral should be made to children's social care. There should be close liaison between the Youth Offending Team, Children's Social Care Services and the secure establishment.

More information