Safety of LAC

Looked After Children are particularly vulnerable in many aspects, but to do well they need to both be safe and feel safe. This section looks at some of the areas where young people may require extra support to be safe both from you as an individual as well as the authority.

Just because a child is looked after does not mean that they cannot be in situations where they are at risk of significant harm.

If you suspect a Looked After Child is at risk of significant harm you should still follow the child protection procedures, talking to your manager and holding a strategy discussion.

General principles for keeping looked after children safe are:

  1. People should work out what they need to do to assure children and young people's safety and welfare in all placements, and always take action to ensure they are protected from abuse and other forms of significant harm.
  2. It all begins with building positive relationships with children, learning to be open, to trust.  
  3. Carers have to be aware of and alert to any signs or symptoms that might indicate a child is at risk of harm.
  4. Taking sensible risks is an important part of growing up - children who don't experience risks don't learn how to manage them. Children and young people in our care are helped to understand how to keep themselves safe, including when outside of the household or when using the internet or social media.
  5. Young people have lots of different experiences and some have been abused. Carers are trained in safer-care practice (with extra input for carers of disabled children), including knowing how to respond to children who have been abused.
  6. Adults have to work together to keep children safe and so will ensure they talk together about things they are worried about, e.g. between carers, social worker, schools, hospitals, general practitioners, etc.

Through their experiences prior to coming into care, looked after children may however have different perspectives on what is safe and where appropriate boundaries lie.  It is therefore important that this is recognised and work completed to bring about change.  This is not a case of telling them that you are right and they are wrong, but looking at the positives and negatives of each approach and allowing the child to make the appropriate decisions.  The older the child the more decisions they can make.

The pages below look at specific situations where extra knowledge is required in order to help keep the child safe.

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