Supporting and Safeguarding Children

Here are some useful links and tools should you need any help or guidance about a child or young person:

 

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Allegations against childcare professionals - advice

Introduction

This guide has been written to provide you with an explanation of the process, along with information about appropriate support and guidance that will be followed if you are faced with an allegation of abuse.

Legislation and guidance

Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018

City of York Managing Allegations Against Staff Procedure and Practice Guidance

What happens when an allegation is made?

An allegation may be made by, or to, a colleague, parent or carer, another professional worker or to the police.

When an allegation is made, a senior manager within your organisation (SMO) will contact the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) for advice on what process should be followed. At this stage it is unlikely that you will be told about the allegation.

This initial consideration will look at whether the allegation or concern fits within the scope of the statutory guidance that you have:

  • Behaved in a way that has harmed a child, or may have harmed a child
  • Possibly committed a criminal offence against or related to a child, or
  • Behaved towards a child or children in a way that indicates he or she may pose a risk of harm to children or
  • That the allegation is clearly and demonstrably without foundation

Where it is believed that allegation falls within the scope of the guidance, there are three possible strands to enquiries that may be initiated:

  • Child protection
  • Criminal enquiries
  • Disciplinary

In some cases all three strands of enquiry will be followed, coordinated by a strategy meeting (see below). However, it is more usual that your employer’s investigation will be held in abeyance until the external agency investigations are complete. Where it is felt that the allegation or concern does not necessitate child protection or criminal enquiries, the SMO and LADO will agree an appropriate internal process to be followed by your agency.

Whilst the investigations will always be conducted as speedily as possible, this will always be balanced against the need for a thorough and fair process.

Where it is deemed that the allegation is demonstrably false, you will be informed formally, both verbally, and in writing, of the nature of the allegation and that it is without foundation. You should be informed that no further action will be taken and you should be offered support as necessary.

Strategy meeting

When considered that the allegation fits within the scope of the guidance, a strategy discussion, convened by Children's Social Care, will take place involving the Police, Social Care, your employers, the LADO, and others who have relevant information to contribute. The strategy discussion is held under Child Protection Procedures and the primary focus is on the needs of the child.

Your manager will normally be asked to attend. The discussion could take place before you have been made aware of the allegation, but in either case you will not be invited to contribute. The discussion will determine what actions are to be taken next and is not part of any disciplinary procedures.

The strategy discussion will consider not only the children directly involved in the allegation but also any other children with whom you have significant contact. This could include your own children.

What considerations are made regarding suspension?

You should not be automatically suspended. Your employer should consult with your agency’s Human Resources/Personnel department and consider the recommendations made by a Strategy Meeting before any decision to suspend is taken.

Suspension is not a sanction, does not indicate guilt, and should only occur when:

  • the allegations are so serious that a dismissal for gross misconduct is possible
  • a child or children may be at risk
  • the suspension is necessary to allow the conduct of the investigation to proceed unimpeded

Where suspension is being considered a meeting will be normally be arranged with you and you are advised to seek assistance from your trade union or professional body. You may be accompanied at the meeting where suspension is a possible outcome. One of the roles of the union or professional body representative will be to promote your interests during suspension and raise issues that may be of concern to you. At this stage you may not be informed about the details of the allegation, where it is felt that informing you may prejudice enquiries.

Importantly, the meeting is not concerned with examining the evidence; rather, it is an opportunity for you to make representations concerning possible suspension.

Alternatives to suspension should always be considered, for example, transfer of duties or additional supervision.

If you are suspended you should be kept informed of the position regarding your case by your employer on a regular basis even if there are no developments to report.

General information about the disciplinary process and suspension can be found on the ACAS website or in their guide. For specific guidance please consult your employers human resources manual or union.

Who will be notified?

Various people will need to be informed that an allegation has been made, regardless of whether a suspension has taken place or not. Decisions will be based on who needs to know and taking into consideration, as far as possible, the issues of confidentiality.

The following individuals will be informed that an allegation has been made and the likely course of action:

  • The child or young person concerned, their parents/carers and any party making an allegation.
  • You – at the appropriate time.
  • Your employer.

There may be occasions when the police will decide the appropriate timing for the above individuals to be notified.

On those occasions where the matter becomes common knowledge or subject to speculation it may also become necessary to issue a brief and accurate statement for parents, children, and the public. However, it is for the Strategy Meeting to make this decision and you will be informed in advance.

It may also be appropriate to release a press statement for the media during and/or at the conclusion of any investigation; however, where possible you will be informed in advance.

What support will be offered to me if an allegation is made?

You should be:

  • Advised to contact your union representative or professional body
  • Given the name a supporter (appointed by your employer) as an information contact, who will in turn contact you on a regular basis as agreed between the parties (as appropriate)
  • Offered the services of the staff counselling service and/or occupational health services, if available.

What happens regarding a return to work?

If a decision is made for you to return to work, arrangements will be made to lift the suspension, where one is in place. You should be involved with your union or professional body representative (as applicable) in planning your supported return to work. This may include discussion of opportunities for future training and development, guidance and support.

What records will be kept?

Your employers must retain key documents, relating to an investigation, in a secure place. A record will also be kept by the LADO on a secure database. If involved, Children's Social Care and the Police will also keep records on a secure database.

Anxiety and worrying 

If your child is feeling anxious NSPCC has some useful advice.

Bullying

Kidscape and NSPCC both offer useful advice and guidance for parents/carers if your child is being bullied.

Child abuse - definitions and signs

Emotional abuse

Emotional abuse is when a child is deprived of love, warmth and affection or is persistently treated negatively, inconsistently, inappropriately or is rejected. This may include the child being constantly told that they are worthless, unloved or inadequate or the parent or carer having unreasonable and unrealistic expectations of the child's abilities or making the child being made to feel frightened or in danger.

Recognising emotional abuse

Signs of emotional abuse include:

  • very low self esteem, often with an inability to accept praise or trust in adults
  • excessive clinging and attention seeking behaviour
  • over anxious - being excessively 'watchful', constantly checking or being over anxious to please
    withdrawn and socially isolated

Physical abuse

Physical abuse may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning or suffocation.

Recognising physical abuse

Bruising is a concern when bruises:

  • can be seen on parts of the body not normally harmed through play
  • appear in or around the mouth (especially in young babies)
  • appear as small 'grasp' or finger marks to a child's arms or legs
  • look like they have been caused by a stick or belt
  • appear to be of different ages (colour) in the same area
  • appear the same on both sides of the body, legs, head or arms
  • appear as bite marks especially when the marks appear to be those of an adult or older child (more than 3cm across)
  • are seen in a baby which is not mobile

Most fractures are treated by a hospital. It is concerning when a child is not taken for treatment if they are suffering pain, swelling or discolouration over a bone or joint. Although it may not always be possible to know whether a child has a fractured bone it is difficult for a parent or carer to be unaware that the child has been hurt. It is rare for children under the age of one to sustain a fracture accidentally.

It can be difficult to distinguish between a burn or scald that has been caused accidentally or non-accidentally. As with fractures all burns and scalds should receive medical treatment.

Sexual abuse

Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening.

Sexual activities may involve physical contact such as sexual intercourse, buggery or non-penetrative acts.

Sexual activities may also include non-contact activities like involving children in looking at pornography, creating pornography, watching sexual activities or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways.

Recognising sexual abuse

Signs of sexual abused include:

  • sexually explicit talk or play, especially in prepubescent children
  • sexual behaviour, such as pretending to have sex during play
  • sexually provocative relationships with adults
  • itching, redness, soreness or unexplained bleeding from a child's vagina or anus
  • bruising, cuts or marks to the genital area
  • repeated genital infections

Neglect

Neglect is when there is a constant failure to meet the child's basic physical or psychological needs in a way that is likely to cause serious damage to the child's health or development. Neglect can include failing to provide a child with adequate food, shelter or clothing or failing to protect a child from harm or danger or failure to ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment.

Recognising neglect

Signs of neglect include:

  • the child frequently appearing hungry
  • the child consistently appearing unkempt or inappropriately dressed for the weather or smelling
  • failure to seek medical attention
  • failure to prevent accidental injury

 

Child protection conference guides

Children's Mental Health

Dealing with disclosures

We know the thought of anything having happened to your child will come as a shock and is very upsetting. However, if you are concerned, or if your child says something to you, it is important to listen and, as difficult as this may be, not to show shock or upset.

The City of York Safeguarding Children Partnership has developed the following guidance for parents and carers who are worried about how to respond if their child tells them they have been abused.

Remain calm

  • Listen!
  • Remain calm.
  • Respond to your child with calmness and kindness, regardless of how you may be feeling in reality.
  • Accept how your child feels.
  • Allow your child to talk about what has happened as many times as they wish to. Children tend to say things gradually over a period of time. An initial disclosure to you is often a child’s way of testing your response and whether it is safe to tell.
  • Thank your child for telling you. Remind them that you will help keep them safe.
  • Reassure your child that what happened was not okay, that you believe them and that they are not in trouble.

Accept what your child says

  • Don’t put words into your child’s mouth. Ask general questions only (e.g. tell me about that?)
  • Don’t pressure your child to continue or ask them for more details than they are ready to give.
  • Don’t question your child in a way that will introduce new words, phrases, or concepts into their minds.
  • Don’t “correct” or influence your child’s information (i.e. “why didn’t you tell me sooner”; “ why did you let him do it?”)
  • Don’t challenge, confront, or criticise your child’s information even if the information seems unlikely or there are obvious errors. Remember children are sometimes unable to give accurate timescales or dates.
  • Try to get the message across that talking is OK. If your child does not mention what has happened again, you can make a general reference to what they have said and use this opportunity to reassure him or her that it is OK to talk about it.

Keep a written record

Accurately write down what your child has told you, what you said, and the date. This may be used as part of your statement or as evidence in court. It also reassures your child that you have heard them, that what they have said is important, and you are taking it seriously.

Talking to others

  • It is important to respect your child’s right to privacy while balancing this with the need to discuss their disclosure with other adults. Don’t expect your child to re-tell to other family members/friends.
  • It is important for you and your child not to continue to keep the alleged abuse secret. Gently explain to your child that what they have said needs to be shared by you with another trusted adult. Explain that this is the job of adults and it is how they help keep children safe.
  • Explain to your child that he or she has done the right thing to tell and that they will may have to tell their story to someone else whose job it is to talk to children about these issues.

Get help

Discuss your concerns, fears, or doubts about your child’s statements with another trusted adult, friend, childcare professionals, or counsellor.

Your child's recovery from their experiences largely depends on you and your ability to support and respond appropriately to your child's needs, behaviours, and statements.

Following these general guidelines, trusting your own instincts, and being a loving parent will be helpful to the healing process for all concerned.

And finally

You must not take the law into your own hands – not only will this make the situation worse for you but it can also work against any investigation.

For further advice or sources of help please contact:

  • The Multi-agency safeguarding hub (MASH)01904 551900 or email: mash@york.gov.uk. Outside office hours, at weekends and on public holidays contact the emergency duty team tel: (0845) 0349417.
  • ChildLine is the free 24-hour helpline for children and young people in the UK. Children and young people can call our helpline on 0800 1111 about any problem, at any time - day or night. Children who are deaf or find using a regular phone difficult can try our textphone service on 0800 400 222. ChildLine's counsellors are there to help you find ways to sort things out.
  • NSPCC HelpLine on 0808 800 5000 to speak to a Helpline adviser, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Adapted from The New Zealand Governments, Department for Child, Youth and Family’s advice for parents

Dealing with tantrums

Royal College of Psychiatrists offer advice for parents and carers.

Domestic abuse

Domestic abuse is more than just violence

Domestic abuse is more than just violence and is defined by the Government as ‘…any violence between current or former partners in an intimate relationship, wherever and whenever the violence occurs. The violence may include physical, sexual, emotional or financial abuse’

Children are affected by domestic abuse even when they have not been physically hurt.

The research shows that 90% of children living in a domestic abusive household witness abuse directly or are in the next room. Although there is always the risk of a child being physically harmed by getting caught up in the parental/carers violence, it recognised that witnessing domestic abuse also harms children.

Children who experience domestic abuse are affected by the fear and distress of their parents. Although they may not always show signs of upset their confidence and self-esteem may be affected and they can develop problems in their educational, physical, and emotional development.

Protecting children from the harm of domestic abuse means taking action to protect yourself. You may worry that seeking help means your children will be taken into care. This is very rare and only happens in the most serious cases. Try talking to your children about how they feel, you may be suprised.


Domestic abuse is never the fault of the victim!

If you are an adult experiencing domestic abuse you may feel confused by a mix of feelings including, isolation, fear, guilt and a belief that the abuse in some way is your fault. You may also feel that you can change the person who is being abusive or that if you change something you are doing the abuse will stop.

The responsibility for domestic abuse rests 100% with the abuser and in our experience domestic abuse when action is taken to stop the abuse. Sometimes this can happen when the abuser recognises that what they are doing is wrong and take real steps to change but importantly they cannot do it with specialist help. Often abuse will only stop when the victims takes steps to remove themselves from the abuse.

Taking action to stop abuse is not easy and maybe one of the most difficult decisions you have had to make. You may fear the loss of your home, income, and friends or may still feel that you love the person who is harming you. You may also fear what will happen if you decide to leave or tell someone about what is happening. Remember – you are not alone and these feelings are normal.

If you are being affected by domestic abuse – seek help

If you are affected by domestic abuse, either as a child, a victim, or a perpetrator, you are not alone and there are services, in York and nationally, that can help. Please contact any of the services listed on the Domestic Abuse resources page for help.

Young Minds, Royal College of PsychiatristsNSPCC, Women's Aid all offer useful advice and support.

Grief

It’s natural to feel sad, depressed, anxious and angry when someone close to you dies. Bereavement is difficult for anybody.  Childline, Young Minds  and Marie Curie all over useful support.

Home alone

When can you leave a child at home?

The law doesn’t say an age when you can leave a child on their own, but it’s an offence to leave a child alone if it places them at risk. Use your judgement on how mature your child is before you decide to leave them alone, e.g. at home or in a car.

The NSPCC says:

  • Children under 12 are rarely mature enough to be left alone for a long period of time
  • Children under 16 shouldn’t be left alone overnight
  • Babies, toddlers and very young children should never be left alone

Parents can be prosecuted if they leave a child unsupervised ‘in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering or injury to health’. This means that they can be fined or sent to prison if they are judged to have placed a child at risk of harm by leaving them at home alone.

Advice for leaving a child at home

Whether you or your child are comfortable with the idea will often depend on how mature and adaptable your child is.

The advice below is there to help you make up your mind about whether leaving your child home alone is a good idea, as well as tips for choosing appropriate childcare if you decide it's not.

  • Babies, toddlers and very young children should never be left alone
  • Children under the age of 12 are rarely mature enough to cope in an emergency and should not be left at home alone for a long period of time
  • Children under the age of 16 should not be left alone overnight

A child should never be left at home alone if they do not feel comfortable with this, regardless of their age

If a child has additional needs, these should be considered when leaving them at home alone or with an older sibling

When leaving a younger child with an older sibling think about what may happen if they were to have a falling out - would they both be safe?

Questions to consider?

Would they know how to contact you or another family member or friend if they needed to?

Do they have these contact numbers to hand?

How would they feel about being left alone – pleased to be given the responsibility or scared by the thought of it?

 If your child is over 16 and you think they’re ready to be left alone overnight, let them know exactly where you are and how they can get in contact if anything goes wrong. And remember to have those conversations about who they’ll invite over while you’re away.

For further advice: 

https://www.nspcc.org.uk/keeping-children-safe/in-the-home/home-alone/#/#

If you are concerned about a child who has been left alone at home please report your concerns to Children's Services or the police.

Internet safety

The Internet is a resource, which has greatly enriched our lives, opening up new and exciting opportunities for learning and communicating around the world. However, the rate of technological advancement has been, and still is, phenomenal. Many professionals, parents and carers find themselves overwhelmed by these developments and, in many cases, the young people they work with, (and their own children) are streets ahead in their knowledge and use of this resource.

The Internet can contain material and websites  that are inappropriate for children and young people; promote racial, or other hate ideologies; and, can also provide an opportunity for abusers to target, contact and ultimately abuse children and young people. It is important that professionals are aware of the dangers and are able to direct and support young people and their parents/carers in safe use of Internet based services.

Keeping Children Safe from Sexual Exploitation

Myths and Truths

 

Myth: Children are usually abused by strangers

Truth: Most children are abused by someone they know and trust

 

Myth: Women do not sexually abuse children

Truth: Although the majority of sexual abusers are male, in around 5-10% of cases the sexual abuser is female

 

Myth: It doesn’t happen here – this is often said in the context of family, class, ethnic group or community

Truth: Abuse happens in all classes, ethnic group, cultures and communities

 

Myth: Children are prone to lying about abuse

Truth: Children very rarely lie about abuse, and their greatest fear is that they won’t be believed (abusers will often tell children that no-one will believe them if they tell)

 

Myth: When parents have abused a child the children are usually taken into care

Truth: Child protection professionals know that whenever possible the best place for a child to grow up is with their parent(s), so they always try to protect a child within the home whenever possible

 

Myth: Child abusers come from deprived backgrounds, are below average intelligence, or are recognisable as dangerous

Truth: Abusers come from all walks of life, social class and intellectual background.  They may be well-liked and respected members of the community

Parental separation and divorce

Many children in Britain will experience the separation and divorce of their parents by the time they are 16.

When the parents' relationship breaks down, it is usually painful for everyone in the family. It's very important to try to minimise the stress and bitterness that can result, particularly when children are involved. It is easy for parents to be so distracted by their own feelings about the situation that they lose sight of how it may be affecting their children.

Research shows that the children of parents that separate can experience poorer outcomes than other children. However, some of the difficulties can be offset by the way parents deal with the separation.

Good, continuing communication and contact between children and both parents appear especially important in assisting children to adapt. Clear explanations about 'what' is happening and 'why' can help, as can reassurance for younger children that they are not being abandoned and that a parent can still be a parent even if he/she leaves the home to live elsewhere. (Joseph Rowntree Foundation)

Importantly, although experiencing a parental separation can be very upsetting for children, parents can help prevent the experience being traumatic for their children.

So what is meant by trauma?

Traumatic stress is brought about when children cannot adequately express what they are feeling about what is happening for them. Children may often feel anger or fear but are unable to talk about their feelings to either parent maybe because of a divided loyalty or a belief that they won’t be listened to. It is this sense of powerlessness along with the often on going acrimony between their parents that can lead to traumatic stress.

Trauma is determined by the child’s experience of the event, not simply the event itself. Different children in the same family may have a dramatically different emotional reaction to the numerous changes related to divorce. Your attitude shapes your children's attitude. Your words and actions can either expose your children to unnecessary emotional pain or help them develop in positive ways. (Helpguide.com)

Parental separation is like bereavement and children often find it difficult to cope with the strong emotions that arise from such a loss.

Symptoms of distress following a parental break up can include:
•Anger
•Anxiety
•Aggression
•Bedwetting
•Behavioural problems
•Bullying
•Lack of concentration
•Depression
•Falling out with friends
•Low self esteem
•Guilt (thinking it is their fault)
•Increased dependency
•Minor health problems

What can you do?

Advice is always easier to give than to take, especially in the case of a difficult separation. However, the one thing most parents have in common is the love for their children and in not wishing anything to upset and harm them. You may having extremely strong negative and confused feelings towards your ex partner – anger, jealousy, sadness, each of which can feel overwhelming, but it is important to remember that these are your feelings and not those of your child.

Interviews with children around the time of separation show that most wish their parents had stayed together and hope they will get back together. They are likely, in the short term, to experience unhappiness, low self-esteem, problems with behaviour and friendships, and loss of contact with a significant part of their extended family. (Joseph Rowntree Foundation)

Children love both parents and, as the research shows, may wish their parents had stayed together. Making children chose by being negative about your ex partner or expecting them to take sides can cause long term damage. Try and put yourself in their position – the two people you love most in the world, the two people who have been your world, want you to take sides – how would you feel? If you add the fact that children cannot assert themselves like adults and do not easily understand what is happening, you can start to see that they are in a ‘no win’ situation.

The answer then is to remain focussed on what is in your child’s best interest and try not to:
•Argue with your ex partner in front of your children or on the phone.
•Talk with your children about details of your ex partner’s negative behaviour.
•Expect your children to take sides or talk negatively about the other parent
•Use you child as a ‘go between’ or use them as the only means of communication with your ex partner

Parents need to communicate

Ideally, children need both parents and separation when you have children means that there will always be a link to your ex partner through your children. In such circumstances, parents have a choice – you can either maintain the acrimony, with the risks to your children’s and your mental health, or you can find a way of communicating, albeit about the decisions you both need to make about your children.

Remember, help is available (see the links below):

Family mediation is a way of resolving disputes after separation or divorce. In mediation, couples are helped to look for their own solutions to their disputes.

Family mediation is also increasingly being used to solve other types of family problems, such as disputes between a parent and child.

Both parties explain their concerns and needs to each other in the presence of a qualified family mediator.  The mediator is impartial, which means that they are not on anyone's side.  They are there help both parties, unlike a solicitor who only works for one party in each case.  Sometimes the mediator will suggest a way of solving a problem to help them to reach an agreement acceptable to both, but they will never tell either party what to do.


The mediator can give information about law but cannot give anyone advice about what to do. We would recommend that you go to see a solicitor who can give legal advice.  The solicitor can help you before, in between sessions and when agreement has been reached so that you know that whatever agreed to is fair to you.

Relate - Relate for Parents puts the emphasis on the children. If you and your partner are separating Relate can help you to deal with the process positively and learn how best to help the children through the experience. It can help you shield them from negative emotions and plan important contact with the parent who is no longer at home.

Counselling – can take many forms and can be provided to both parents (as with Relate) or individually. Sometimes, the feelings experienced during and following a separation can feel overwhelming and disabling:

•What did I do wrong?
•What’s the point in going on?
•What’s wrong with me?


These feelings can affect your job, your social life and can get in the way of being the parent you want to be. If this is how you feel you may want someone to talk to who will listen, someone who will not make judgments about you. This is where counseling can help. To help find a counselor please click here.

If you would like more advice on how to safeguard children when dealing with separation and divorce please click on the following links:

Childline
NSPCC Children and parental separation

Relateline 0845 130 4010 (Monday - Friday, 9.30am-4.30pm) Telephone helpline service from Relate. Users can talk to an experienced Relate counsellor for up to 20 minutes and all calls are confidential.

Parentline 0808 000 2222 Free, confidential 24-hour helpline for parents and carers.
It's not your fault - NCH (National Children's Homes) Website for children whose parents are splitting up, with separate advice sections for children, teenagers, and parents.
Helpguide - a free resource for a range of health issues with useful advice for parents experiencing separation (American)

Parenting Advice

The following organisations offer advice for parents and carers:

Good parenting

NSPCC positive parenting guide

Young Minds

Action for children 'Parent Talk'

Private fostering

  • Is your child living with another family?
  • Is another family’s child living with you?

What is Private Fostering?

Most children will spend some time staying with friends and relatives as they grow up. These times can be great experiences for children and provide a well-earned break for parents. However, where it is planned for a child to spend more than 28 days with friends or wider family members, or a child ends up spending more than 28 days in the care of friends or wider family, the law requires that City of York Council Children’s Social Care Referral and Assessment Team are told about it so that they can check to make sure that the child is safe and well cared for. This is because the child becomes subject to something known as ‘Private Fostering.

Private Fostering is basically the arrangement by a parent for care of a child by another person. Not all arrangements are ‘Private Fostering’.

  • Private Fostering only applies to children under the age of 16 years old (or under 18 if they have a disability).
  • It doesn’t apply to children in the care of grandparents, aunts and uncles, adult brothers or sisters or step parents.
  • It does apply to children living with the parents of friends, living with a parent’s ex-partner, with wider family such as adult cousins, or with friends of the family.

There are all sorts of arrangements that may be Private Fostering and the law states that the Council must be told about them.  

Why must I involve Children’s Social Care?

The short answer is because the law requires it. The law was introduced to ensure that children in Private Fostering arrangements are seen and spoken to and their welfare is checked to make sure that children do not suffer abuse or neglect. City of York Council will also ensure that the person or people caring for the child and the child’s parents get the help and support that they need.

What will Children’s Social Care do?

When the Council is told about a Private Fostering arrangement, a Social Worker will undertake an assessment. They will visit and speak with the child, the carers and the child’s parents to gather information to be able to make a decision about whether the Private Fostering arrangement is right for the child. If there are no concerns about the arrangement, the Social Worker will continue to visit at regular intervals to make sure everything is going well. They are there to offer support and guidance to the child, the carers and parents. 

Parents’ rights and responsibilities

When a child lives in a Private Fostering arrangement, the child’s parents keep all legal rights and responsibilities. They are expected to continue to financially support their child. Parents should be:

  • Involved in planning the child’s future.
  • Kept in touch about the child’s progress.
  • Involved in any decisions made about the child.

Parents can end a Private Fostering arrangement at any point.

For more information about Private Fostering or to contact City of York Council’s Referral and Assessment Team on 01904 551900 or email childrensfrontdoor@york.gov.uk

Self Harm

Self-harm can cover a range of things that people do to themselves in a deliberate and harmful way.  It's important to know that support is available for anyone who self-harms or thinks about self-harm, as well as their friends and family.

NHS advice

Young Minds - Parents advice self-harm

NSPCC offers good advice to understand the reasons why children and  young people self-harm

Self harm in young people for parents and carers

Sex offenders

Taken from the Home Office's guide 'Keeping Children Safe from Sex Offenders'

Who are child sex offenders and how do they operate?

When the term ‘child sex offender’ is used in this leaflet, it is referring to people who commit sex offences against children. People from a wide range of backgrounds and ages are known to commit sex offences. Most known child sex offenders are men, though some are women and around one third are young people themselves. Strangers carry out around 20 per cent of child sex offences and these are the cases often focused on in the media. However, the vast majority (at least 7 per cent) of child sex offenders are known to their victims – they are often a member of the family, a friend of the victim or a friend of the victim’s family.

Offenders seek out young people who desire friendship, either through direct contact or online. They often use a number of ‘grooming’ techniques, including building trust with the child through lying or befriending a member of the child’s family. Child sex offenders may also use threats and guilt to manipulate a child.

Whether the offender is known to the child’s family or not, in all cases this crime is devastating for victims and their families. It is important that people harming children in this way are brought to justice and prevented from harming other children in the future. A significant number of sex offences against children go unreported to the police because victims or their families feel they are unable to talk about what has happened. Sex offenders can only be prosecuted, convicted and managed by the police, probation services and other agencies if their offences are reported.

Therefore you also have a huge role to play in child protection – by listening to children and reporting any concerns you have.

What specific information about child sex offenders do I have rights to?

Effective management of child sex offenders in the community sometimes requires the police, the probation and prison services to share information with members of the public about specific offenders and their risk. This way of sharing information works through a national system of ‘controlled disclosure’. Leading child welfare organisations, such as the NSPCC and Barnardo’s, support this way of sharing information.

Controlled disclosure means that, on a case-by-case basis, the police, probation and prison services make decisions to disclose such information as is relevant and necessary to protect children. Information on individual child sex offenders who may pose a serious risk of harm will be provided to people who have professional responsibility for the safety of children, or to people who have influence over the offender. Many meetings will take place to discuss each offender and the circumstances in which disclosure of detailed information would help to protect a child.

Key responsible people in your community, such as headteachers, leisure centre managers, employers and landlords, are often given details about child sex offenders in their area. Therefore these people are able to play an important part in keeping your local environment and community safe for children to live, learn and play in.

The Government is also currently looking at the best way of setting up a system to allow some parents and carers to check on a named individual, in specific circumstances.

The Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre has developed a ‘most wanted’ website, which publishes details about certain non-compliant offenders that everyone can access.

Sexting

Smacking

We advise that children should not be smacked as evidence shows that smacking has no benefit to the child and may be counterproductive and harmful.

In England and Wales the law allows children to be smacked. The law permits parents and carers (with the permission of the parents, excluding foster carers, schools and nurseries) to use 'reasonable chastisement'. Unfortunately, the law does not define what is reasonable or in what circumstances a child can be hit.

The City of York Safeguarding Children Partnership's policy position on smacking is:

The CYSCP believe it is both wrong and impracticable to seek to define acceptable forms of corporal punishment of children. Removing the defence of "reasonable chastisement" and thus giving children in their homes and in all other settings equal protection under the law on assault, is the only just, moral and safe way to clarify the law. We believe this would eliminate the current dangerous confusion over what is acceptable and provide a clearer basis for child protection.

We recognise that evidence from other countries demonstrates that legal reform, coupled with the promotion of effective means of positive discipline, works to reduce reliance on corporal punishment and reduces the need for prosecutions and other formal interventions in families. The CYSCP believes that using positive forms of discipline reduces stress and improves relationships between children, their parents and other carers.