Equalities & Inclusion Policy and foster carers


Brighton and Hove City Council has an Equalities and Inclusion Policy which outlines the Council's general position on equalities and includes policies which cover disabilities, living with HIV or AIDS, race and ethnicity, sex discrimination, age and harassment. These policies apply to the recruitment of foster carers and to the care of looked after children.

The Fostering Service wholeheartedly supports the principle of equalities and opposes all forms of discrimination on the grounds of race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion, gender, marital status, social class, sexual orientation, medical condition (including people living with HIV or AIDS), disability or age. It is in both the Service’s best interest and those who work with us to ensure that the attributes, talents and skills available throughout the community are recognised and utilised in the interests of children in care. To this end, the overriding principle is that carers recruited and approved are those best able to provide a stable and safe home for children.

Every possible step will be taken to ensure that carers and potential carers are all treated equally and fairly and that all decisions including those on recruitment, approval, training and development, are based solely on related standards, policies and regulations. Through this the Trust ensures the most effective use of what carers have to offer looked after children.

Managers of our fostering services are responsible for implementing the equalities policy within their service areas. All staff and carers are, however, personally and individually responsible for ensuring that they read, understand and act in accordance with the principles of equality as outlined in the policy.

People with disabilities

People with disabilities often do not receive equal treatment or access to opportunities. This is not acceptable. The Fostering Service has an obligation to ensure that people with disabilities are treated fairly, and that their potential as carers can be realised. Although the needs of children always come first, we will take all reasonable and practicable steps to ensure that people with disabilities can become foster carers.

Children with disabilities must be given the same opportunities to develop and make the most of their talents as other children, commensurate with their physical and mental capacities. This includes access to school, leisure and recreation.

People living with HIV or AIDS

The Fostering Service recognises that stigma and discrimination, together with concerns about health, can result in high levels of stress for people living with HIV and AIDS. We acknowledge the need to provide extra support to maintain people affected by HIV as carers. The policy also extends to situations in which carers may be looking after children who have HIV or AIDS.

Race, ethnicity, culture, religion and heritage

The Fostering Service had legal obligations under the Race Relations Act (1976) and the Race Relations (Amendment) Act (2000) to combat racism in all its forms. These duties are now incorporated into the Equality Act 2010, 90% of which came into force on 01 October 2010. We strongly support the Council's desire to promote communication and good relationships with racial, cultural, ethnic and religious groups in the development of policies and practice to meet the needs of black and minority ethnic children in care. This commitment includes the recruitment of carers from black and ethnic minorities. It addresses the requirement on us to meet the religious, cultural and heritage needs of children in the care of the local authority. All staff and carers are expected to understand these issues and to incorporate them into their practice. Discriminatory attitudes and behaviours will be challenged and could result in disciplinary / termination of approval procedures.

Gender discrimination

The Fostering Service recruits more female carers than male. We recognise that men can sometimes experience discrimination when applying for roles traditionally held by women. Our recruitment practices must ensure that all decisions related to the recruitment and approval of carers are made solely upon evidence of an individual’s capacity to provide a secure and stable home for children in care, regardless of their gender, although matching children to carers does take into account gender issues. Carers must ensure that children are not subject to sex/gender discrimination in access to opportunities, including education, leisure, recreation, training and jobs.

Sexual orientation

There are many lesbian and gay carers providing safe care for looked after children and helping them to achieve their full potential. The Fostering Service welcomes applications from lesbian and gay prospective carers. The Service provides placements for lesbian and gay young people, some of whom are fully aware and expressive of their sexual orientation but others who are not. Carers must have the capacity to care for these children and to help them overcome the discrimination they face.


The Fostering Service recognises that a major change in society is that people are living longer and are leading more active and healthier lives as they grow older. Against this background the Service recognises the valuable role that older people can play in providing a home or respite care for looked after children. The capacity to meet the needs of children in care, not age, is the basis for decision making. Decisions are based on people's attributes, talents and skills in relation to the caring task. Age-related criteria undermine objectivity and are wasteful of the attributes people bring to the organisation.

Children can also experience discrimination due to their age, particularly in relation to being heard and taking a meaningful part in decisions about their future. Carers are expected to recognise these potential barriers and to help children to overcome them.


The Fostering Service aims to create working relationships in which the dignity of all is respected and where children, carers and staff feel able and are encouraged to reach their full potential. Harassment is behaviour which is unwanted by the individual to whom it is directed. It undermines respect and dignity. The Service does not find sexual, racial or any other form of harassment acceptable and will take appropriate action to deal with it.