Policies To Help Children In Care

Over a hundred new policies based on what children have said are important to them have been suggested in a new report from the Children’s Rights Director for England.

Roger Morgan said: “This report puts together ideas that children and young people have given us over the past three years about their experiences of social care services. It is a list of policies that children want people providing services to follow.

“I hope that those working with children or involved in policy making will take note of what children want and need. The reason behind the timing of this report is because my team are moving from the Commission for Social Care Inspection to the new Ofsted on 1 April.”

The suggested policies include ensuring all places that look after children have a clear policy about adults touching children and spending time alone with children; being placed in a boarding school should be for children it suits and a clear plan put in place for their care and accommodation during school holidays.

Other areas include staff being trained and skilled in ‘de-escalating’ situations before restraint becomes necessary; when a child makes a complaint, the people they have complained about should not automatically be told what the child has said; and inspectors should ensure appropriate action is taken when children raise concerns with them, while ensuring that staff cannot identify who has said what.

Making sure children have enough and the right information features in several of the policy suggestions; and information about children should only be passed on if it is of benefit to the child or to prevent serious harm and the child should be told what information is being passed on and why.

How councils support young carers should be checked whenever council services are being assessed; and young people should not be made, or expected, to leave care until they feel ready and they should have clear entitlements to money and support after leaving care.

When looking at policies regarding new placements, the Children’s Rights Director has suggested not automatically considering adoption for children whose placement is already working out well and allowing a child to visit a new placement and getting to know people before a decision is made.

Concluding the policy document, Roger Morgan has suggested that there should be no targets for how many children councils should take into care, they should make the right decision for each child, and that before being taken into care, councils should always check whether a relative is able and suitable to look after them instead.

Roger Morgan added: “We have gathered together a wealth of ideas during our consultations and surveys, and I hope these will influence decisions made about what is best for children’s services in the future.”

For more information on these reports, please visit www.rights4me.org