To ensure that the Department supports foster carers to maintain a high standard of e-safety.

Policy Status



Key Points





o        social networking sites and web-logs (blogs)

o        internet research - websites, search engines and web browsers

o        mobile phones and camera phones

o        internet communications - e-mail and Instant Messaging (IM)

o        webcams and videoconferencing

o        wireless games consoles

o        portable media players


o        receiving inappropriate content

o        predation and grooming by paedophiles

o        requests for personal information

o        viewing 'incitement' sites

o        bullying and threats

o        identity theft

o        publishing inappropriate content

o        online gambling

o        misuse of computer systems

o        publishing personal information

o        hacking and security breaches

o        corruption or misuse of data



o        A firewall and virus protection

o        Monitoring systems, to keep track of who downloaded what, and when

o        Filtering and content control, to minimise access to inappropriate content






·         Children and young people must also learn that publishing personal information could compromise their own security and that of others. Social networking sites such as Instagram, Tumblr and Facebook allow children to set up an account and create a personal profile in minutes. Information given by users is not checked and there are very limited safeguards. Children are often told by other children (often teenagers) to look at their sites.


·         Many quite young children have access to mobile devices. The use of handheld and internet-enabled mobile phones is increasing rapidly. The most ICT capable children or young people may be the most vulnerable. Children who have poor social skills may be more at risk from inappropriate online contact.







o        they may still be developing their social understanding of safety and so may relate better to strategies used with younger children

o        they are likely to  find it hard to apply the same rules in different situations

o        most safety principles rely on children being able to explain what happened or to ask for help

o        some children may have poor recall and difficulties with learning through experience



















If one of your friends, or an older person, tells you about a site they want you to see, think carefully. If someone sends you a link, don't open it unless you are   sure it's safe. If you are worried, tell an adult where you live or a teacher at school.






Close or minimise the image or window immediately. Don't try to navigate away. If the child saw the page, talk to them about what has happened, and reassure them. Later, investigate the history of visited sites and how the child got there.








o        be polite

o        use appropriate language

o        do not use abusive language in your messages to others

o        do not reveal the address, phone number or other personal details of yourself or other users

o        do not use the network in such a way that would disrupt the use of the network by other users

o        illegal activities are strictly forbidden

o        note that e-mail is not guaranteed to be private

o        messages relating to or in support of illegal activities may be reported to the authorities









Responsible officer

Record required

Performance standard


 Supervising Social Workers will, during the assessment process discuss the expectation that school age children can access computers in their placement. They will explore e-safety and advise prospective foster carers of advice websites etc

 Supervising Social Worker


Form F

E Safety information

Within assessment time scales


Foster carers should complete a Safer Caring Policy which addresses internet and mobile phone use etc and review this for each child placed  Supervising Social Workers should review this Policy at least annually

Foster Carer


Safer Caring Policy

For each placement and at least annually


When  Supervising approved foster carers,  Supervising Social Workers will continue to advise on and monitor e-safety


Contact Record

Record of Supervisory Meeting



 Supervising Social Workers, and the Child's Social Worker will consider e-safety issues as part of the risk assessment at pre-placement meetings

 Supervising Social Worker,

Child's Social Worker

Risk assessment / Placement Plan

At Placement Planning Meeting


If at any time foster carers are concerned about a child or young person's safety in relation to technology, they must raise it with their  Supervising Social Worker and the Child's Social Worker as soon as possible

Foster carer

Contact Record

Child's file

Next working day at latest


Foster carers should be very mindful of information they themselves place on social networking sites as this may be open to public scrutiny.

Foster carer




Foster carers must not place any information or photographs of looked after children or young people onto any social networking sites unless this is agreed by the Department or those with PR

Foster carers