- / Procedures
- / Children living away from home
- / Family Placement Service
- / Working with young people
- / Permissible Sanctions
Foster carers are encouraged to use positive reinforcement of good behaviour, rewards and praise. Challenging behaviour should be dealt with through reason or diversion before any of the following sanctions are used as a last resort.
In some placements it may be necessary to state clearly in the placement plan what sanctions can and cannot be used according to the child's needs, history and disability. In this case a support plan should be drawn up.Sanctions should be appropriate to the misdemeanour. Appropriate sanctions in foster care are:
- time out: (for children four years and below time out should not last more than two minutes, during which time there should be no eye or verbal contact with the child but the child kept in view. Occasionally it is appropriate for a child to have some quiet time.)
- withdrawal of an activity
- switching off TV / Music / Playstation
- reward system
- confiscation of goods.
The following can be confiscated permanently;
- Pornographic material,
- Weapons, or,
- Illegal substances.
Items may be temporarily removed from possession of the child if they are being or are about to be misused or their use is causing disruption or where ownership is in doubt. The child should be informed as to when the items will be returned. Foster carers must always notify the child's social worker and the fostering and adoption team record this in their recording sheets.
Early bedtime: This can be used as a sanction with careful thought but should never be more than one hour earlier than the usual bedtime. Foster carers should guard against overuse if it is to be used on more than two consecutive nights then consultation with the child's social worker is required. This sanction may be inappropriate for children who do not understand the concept, for children who have been subjected to being shut away in their bedrooms, or who are frightened of bedtimes. Use of this sanction must always be recorded.
Grounding, by which a child's permission to go out is removed. This should be time limited and the reasons for this should be explained to the child.
The following sanctions must never be used:-
- Corporal punishment, smacking or slapping etc., or any threat that this may be carried out
- Deprivation of food or drink
- Restriction on visits or communication with relatives, close friends, previous carers or professionals,
- Withholding of medication or medical or dental treatment,
- restricting a child's liberty by locking them in a room, cupboard or similar,
- removal or confiscation of clothing which belongs to the child for the purpose of restricting liberty,
- forcing children or young people to wear distinctive or inappropriate clothing,
- deprivation of sleep,
- ignoring the child or not speaking to them for a long periods
- talking to others about the child unkindly
- taunting, teasing, name calling and ridiculing
- continually being unkind to the child
- continually criticising the child, how they look, what they say and do or don't do and who they are
- Intimate physical searches
Carers should use the least invasive form of restrictive physical intervention proportionate to the situation, should be reluctant to restrain children but should not let children place themselves in imminent and severe danger.
Pocket money can be withheld only if it is to pay for court fines, to replace goods or similar that were willfully damaged by the child or goods that were stolen. No more than a maximum of two thirds of a child's pocket money can be withheld and the child's social worker must be informed.
- Always remember that to humiliate a child would have a detrimental effect on the child's self esteem. This needs to be uppermost in carer's minds, as well as trying to solve the problem.
- Sanctions should not be different for a looked after child than for those used for other children in the household.
- Child protection
- Youth Offending
- Children with Disabilities