Safe caring


Safeguarding children is a basic requirement of the National Minimum Standards for Fostering Services 2011: Standard 4.

We aim to recruit, equip and support carers with the skills and awareness they need in order to protect children in their care with a safe, nurturing and encouraging environment that will enable them to reach their full potential and grow into responsible and fulfilled adults.

Safe caring requirements

To achieve safe caring, we have put in place the following arrangements to protect children and young people in foster care and you as carer. We welcome suggestions for improvements to our safe caring systems.

  • No carer(s) should be fully approved unless Enhanced DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) and statutory checks have been obtained on all adults in the household and any other adult who will be involved in caring for the child.
  • You should be advised in writing about:
    • Guidance on care and control and use of sanctions
    • Guidance on safe caring
    • Guidance on allegations against foster carers
    • Standards of care procedures in relation to foster carers
    • Guidance on prevention of bullying.
  • All the areas listed above should be covered within preparation groups and post approval training, including mandatory courses which cover safe caring. Every Brighton and Hove carer has access to this on-line version of the Brighton and Hove Foster Carer’s Handbook ( which advises on the above key safe caring issues.
  • At the time of matching, the child’s social worker and your supervising social worker should establish whether a child or young person is known to have either experienced abuse or to have displayed problematic sexual behaviour. Such information should be confirmed in writing to you. The Fostering Service should also enquire about any history of abuse relating to other children in a threatening, controlling or violent manner and ensure that this is shared with you.
  • The annual review of foster carers should address safe caring issues.
  • Your supervising social worker will draw up safe caring guidelines for each foster family, and reviewed in the light of each child placed, in consultation with you and everyone else in the household. This will be undertaken at the assessment stage, and will be reviewed at the carer’s annual review. These guidelines will be cleared with the child’s social worker and should be explained clearly and appropriately to the child.
  • A health & safety checklist will be completed at the assessment stage and thereafter reviewed at the carer’s annual review.
  • If a child placed has access to the internet via a computer in your home, there are safe surfing guidelines in this section under ‘the internet and foster care’.
  • If a child placed with you goes missing there are supportive procedures to follow in the inter-agency Joint Protocol for children who go missing from foster care contained in this handbook.
  • Young people who go missing are particularly vulnerable to sexual exploitation.
  • If you have concerns about a child or young person’s problematic sexual behaviour, the possibility of referral to a specialist service, such as the Clermont Family Assessment Centre, should be discussed with the child’s social worker and your supervising social worker.
  • In the event of a carer's approval being terminated, following an allegation that they have harmed a child or placed a child at risk of harm, Ofsted will be notified in writing and a record kept on front of the carer’s file should they apply to other fostering agencies.

Safety and protection within the foster carer’s home

A safe, healthy and nurturing environment for the child is an integral part of safe caring. Providing a safe caring environment will include:

  • a home that is warm, comfortable, adequately furnished and decorated and maintained to a good standard of cleanliness and hygiene;
  • ensuring each child placed has their own bed and arrangements reflect the child’s need for privacy and space;
  • ensuring the home and immediate environment are free of hazards which might expose a child to risk of injury or harm and contain safety barriers and equipment appropriate to the child’s age, development and levels of ability;
  • educating the child in relation to hazardous materials, electrical equipment and fire risks;
  • ensuring the child has enough appropriate and well maintained clothing;
  • helping (with the child’s social worker) the child to develop self protection skills and the awareness of dangers from others;
  • reporting all instances of a foster child bullying or being bullied to the child’s social worker or your supervising social worker. Encouraging and supporting the child in maintaining peer relationships and promoting the social skills required for new friendships;
  • reporting all instances of the child going missing or running away in accordance with the Joint Protocol for children missing from foster care;
  • ensuring vehicles are adequately maintained and safety equipment is available for all children where transport is undertaken on behalf of the Trust and making drivers licences, and MOT and insurance documents available for inspection.

Managing difficult behaviour – care and control guidance for foster carers

Foster care is a difficult and demanding task and it is also a very isolated one in comparison with other types of placement. The care and control policy for foster carers in this handbook aims to ensure that you are equipped with the skills and techniques you need to manage difficult situations safely in relative isolation.


Brighton and Hove City Council has a pro-active, city-wide anti-bullying policy and strategy with a handbook for schools and all those involved with children entitled Guidance and Recommendations on Preventing and Responding to Bullying.

 It is recognised that bullying can be a particular problem in schools for looked after children. Please also see the section on the education of looked after children which has information on preventing and responding to bullying in schools.

Achievement of safe caring involves the prevention and effective handling of bullying in your home, the local community and school. The following sections state our strong commitment to making progress on reducing the incidence of bullying, which we know is shared by local foster carers.

Anti-bullying principles

  • Everyone has the right to live, work and play free from fear, harassment, intimidation or violence.
  • Everyone has the right to be treated with respect and to have their individual qualities and contributions recognised and valued.
  • Bullying in any form is not acceptable and should not be condoned.
  • Everyone has a responsibility to work together to stop bullying – parents, carers, staff, teachers and children and young people.

What is bullying?

Bullying is an act of aggression causing embarrassment, pain or discomfort to another. Children, parents, carers or workers can be perpetrators or recipients of bullying.

  • It can take many forms: physical, verbal, gesture, extortion and exclusion.
  • It is an abuse of power.
  • It can be planned and organised.
  • Where bullying behaviour has become habitual, bullying can be an unconscious act.
  • It can be an isolated incident or on-going.
  • Individuals or groups may be involved.

Some examples of bullying include:

  • Any form of physical violence such as hitting, pushing or spitting on others;
  • Interfering with another’s property by stealing, hiding, damaging or destroying it;
  • Using offensive names, texting or spreading rumours about others or their families;
  • Using put-downs, belittling others’ abilities and achievements;
  • Writing offensive notes or graffiti about others;
  • Making degrading comments about another’s culture, religious or social background;
  • Hurtfully excluding others from a group;
  • Making suggestive comments or other forms of sexual harassment or abuse;
  • Ridiculing another’s appearance;
  • Forcing others to act against their will;
  • Threatening others;
  • Deliberately setting someone up;
  • Encouraging others to do the above;
  • Using social networking to harass, abuse, threaten or bully.

Responding to bullying

  • Children and young people placed with you may be particularly vulnerable to bulling because of their ethnicity, their disability, their looked after status, and/or their poor self-esteem. For some children and young people, the impact of previous adverse experiences may result in bullying and controlling behaviour towards other children.
  • Whilst bullying is often associated with what happens either within or to and from school, you also need to think about the possibility of bullying within the home, (between foster children or between your own children and foster children) or within the neighbourhood/community and about how they might respond.
  • You need to be aware of how technology can provide new and different opportunities for children to bully or be bullied – abusive e-mails, chat, instant messaging or texting with mobile phones.
  • You should:-
    • Obtain a copy of the bullying policy for the school the child or young person attends
    • Be alert to signs of distress that might indicate a child is being bullied
    • Give clear messages to all children and young people about the unacceptability of bullying
    • Ensure that your methods of managing children’s behaviour and sanctions do not contain any elements of bullying
    • Find opportunities to promote the child or young person’s self esteem
    • Take seriously any incidents of bullying involving a foster child and inform the child’s worker
    • Agree with the worker who is responsible for informing the school (when relevant)
    • Ensure that the child or young person is able to express their wishes and feelings about how to proceed
    • Take action to address any incidents of bullying within the home
    • Work within an agreed strategy to address bullying of or by a child or young person in your care.
  • Brighton and Hove Fostering Service should:-
    • Provide input on bullying in our preparation and training of carers
    • Ensure that carers are aware of their responsibility to report any incidents of bullying of or by a child in their care
    • Assist carers in developing strategies to deal with any incidents of bullying within the home and in supporting strategies implemented by the child’s school
    • Ensure that the voice of the child or young person is central to any action taken to address incidences of bullying.



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