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1.3 Our Ethos and Key Policies

REGULATIONS AND STANDARDS

The Quality and Purpose of Care Standard
Regulation 5 – Engaging with the wider System to ensure each Child’s Needs are Met

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This chapter provides an overview of our ethos and key policy statements.

All new users must familiarise themselves with this Chapter, which provides the context within which all procedures should be applied and users must be familiar with it when implementing procedures.

This chapter should be read in conjunction with the following Chapters:


  1. The best interests of the child: We will ensure that children’s welfare, their safety and needs are at the centre of the care we provide and that all decisions made in relation to children must have, as the first and paramount consideration, the best interests of the child;
  2. Admissions and reception of children and Reviews: Wherever possible we ensure that Children are placed in a planned and sensitive manner, and that services are provided on the basis of initial and continual assessment, planning, monitoring and review. To this end, each child will have a Placement Plan or Written Agreement that underpins their Care Plan and other significant plans and which accurately reflects the way in which identified needs will be met whilst placed with us. Behaviour and Activity Risk Assessments will be undertaken as part of the process of Placement Planning and review to ensure the Child or family lives within a structured and safe environment, within which it is hoped they can take steps towards meeting their full potential in all areas of their life and development;
  3. Avoiding delay: All decisions in relation to the provision of services to children will be made promptly and within agreed time-scales, having regard to the needs of the child; the achievement of these timescales will be monitored and reviewed;
  4. Valuing Diversity: We are committed to the principles of anti-discriminatory practice; Children and families will be treated fairly with respect and dignity. Children and families will receive services which respect their race, culture, language, disability, sexuality and religion; and we will ensure that procedures and practices in our services are designed to combat racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination. Also see Equality and Diversity Policy;
  5. Valuing the family: Children have the right, whenever possible, to be brought up within their own family, either with their parents or relatives;
  6. Partnership: In promoting this right, services will be provided in partnership with parents and with other agencies to assist and support parents in meeting their children's needs within the family;
  7. Quality services for children: Where services are provided for children, they will be provided by skilled people, committed to meeting children's needs; in a manner which promotes their physical, emotional, social and psychological needs and in an environment where they feel safe, positive and encouraged;
  8. Keeping children informed: Children will be provided with a wide range of accessible information about our services and those which they may require to improve their life chances;
  9. Promoting independence: We encourage children to be as independent as possible and to take a full and active part in everyday life as is appropriate to their age and level of understanding. To this end we provide children with information, advice and further education to help prepare them for adult life. We work in partnership with appropriate agencies in the development and implementation of Pathway Plans and we will develop appropriate social and life skill packages which promote children's independence and prepare them for the time when they move on from us or leave care;
  10. Education: We promote and support the educational achievement of children throughout the time they live with us and will ensure that children enjoy a wide range of opportunities, educationally, to develop their talents and skills leading to a successful adult life. To this end a positive learning environment is promoted both at school and within the home, for example, by supporting children with homework, coursework and possibly home study. We also work closely with social workers and other professionals e.g. teachers to ensure that each child has a clear Personal Education Plan (PEP) which accurately reflects their needs and is reviewed at regular intervals. Each individual PEP will be regularly reviewed and any changes made will be communicated to all relevant parties;
  11. Health Care: We promote children's healthcare, ensuring that there is a continuity of treatment and that children's physical, emotional and psychological health needs are properly assessed and accounted for. Care is taken to ensure that the needs of children from differing cultural, religious or ethnic backgrounds are addressed appropriately. All children are provided with healthcare assessments and screening resulting in a Health Care Plan designed to ensure their healthcare needs, including immunisations, are up to date. Children are provided with guidance, advice and support on health and personal care including sexual health and relationships, smoking and other drugs or solvents and we ensure that individual needs are addressed in Placement Plans;
  12. Promoting Positive Behaviour and Relationships: Our home has high expectations of all children and staff and we aim to create an environment and culture which promotes and supports positive behaviour. Our behaviour management strategies include supporting positive behaviour, de-escalation of conflicts and we train our staff to build and maintain positive relationships, to be assertive and resolve conflicts positively. Children are encouraged to take responsibility for their behaviour, in a way that is appropriate to their age and abilities; sanctions and rewards for behaviour are clear, reasonable and fair and are understood by all staff and children. Staff are trained to understand and manage their own feelings and responses to the emotions and behaviours presented by children and understand how past experiences and present emotions are communicated through behaviour. We aim to ensure that children do not identify bullying as a problem in our home and we train staff to understand their role in helping to prevent and counter bullying by any adult or child living or working in the home. We have a clear and unambiguous procedure on searching children and their belongings;
  13. Leisure and Recreation: Children are provided with opportunities to participate in a range of leisure, exercise and recreational activities appropriate to their needs, abilities and interests. There is a budget to fund suitable leisure activities and consideration is given to how young people will be encouraged and financially supported. Children's birthdays, name days, cultural and religious festivals will be celebrated where appropriate, and children will participate with staff in the planning of these events. Children are to be encouraged and supported to pursue particular interests and develop confidence in social skills within and outside the home. There is also a balance between free and controlled time in the daily routine and children are given opportunities to rest and relax;
  14. Protecting children: We understand our first priority is to promote Children's rights, protecting them from harm or injury and safeguarding their welfare. All reasonable steps will be taken to ensure staff/carers, children and parents are informed about how to deal with suspicions or allegations of Significant Harm, and we will ensure that any issue is dealt with promptly, in keeping with Local Safeguarding Children Board procedures;
  15. Physical Contact and Relationships: We encourage staff/carers to develop professional relationships with children, based on clear boundaries, which demonstrate affection, acceptance and reassurance. We encourage staff/carers to use appropriate physical contact, positively and safely in keeping with children's past experiences, needs and wishes. We understand that staff often have to spend time alone with children, but we ensure that such practice is underpinned by effective procedures, evidence-based risk assessments and training which safeguard the interests of both children and staff/carers. No play fighting under any circumstances between the Children or between the staff/carers and Children is allowed;
  16. Children’s Wishes and Feelings: We fully recognise that Children have their own views, wishes and feelings, and that we must promote each child’s right to have a say. Children’s views, wishes and feelings will be sought in all aspects of their planning and day to day care, no child is assumed unable to communicate their views; therefore appropriate methods for gaining views should be sought and provided. For example, Children’s views sought during Key and Link Worker sessions, reviews and planning meetings. We will ensure that children are provided with information about how to contact the Children’s Rights Director, have access to a Children’s Rights Officer (within the Placing Authority) and/or an Independent Advocate;
  17. Complaints and Representations: We welcome comments, both positive and critical about the service we provide, and actively seek information and feedback under our review and quality of care procedures. Routinely, we seek information through consultative questionnaires from all professional bodies, children and their parents/carers who have knowledge about the service. The purpose of seeking this information is to give us the opportunity to learn, adapt and provide a better service;
  18. Resolving dissatisfaction: Where children, or others on their behalf, are dissatisfied, we will take steps to resolve their dissatisfaction and provide opportunities for them to complain if they wish. Mallards has a clear procedure that enables young people to make a complaint and be kept aware of what actions are being undertaken in response to that complaint;
  19. Respecting privacy: Children will be treated with respect and afforded privacy, where they can express their individuality through their possessions which they can enjoy and, when they move on, take with them. Also see Confidentiality Policy;
  20. Promoting contact: We promote meaningful contact between children, their birth and wider families, friends and other significant persons unless particular circumstances indicate that such contact would not be in their best interests. We will assist children in having regular contact with official visitors such as their Social Workers and those that have some responsibility for the child's welfare. We will encourage those with Parental Responsibility to participate in some way in the child's daily life in so far as this is compatible with the facilities of the home, the child's Placement Plan and associated agreements. We encourage children to establish and maintain relationships with friends within and outside the home and with people from the wider community. We ensure that such relationships do not threaten or harm children's rights and interests;
  21. Safe Practices, Health and Safety: We have a written Health and Safety policy which clarifies responsibilities under The Health and Safety at Work Act and related legislative guidance. In accordance with this we implement controls of the health and safety risks arising from our work activities. A senior manager responsible for Health and Safety and designated Health and Safety representatives. All members of staff/carers are consulted on matters affecting health and safety, in order to provide and maintain safe working and living environments. Each Home completes comprehensive Health and Safety Risk Assessments, which are regularly reviewed and monitored. Utmost vigilance is ensured in the safe handling and use of substances and information, instruction and training are given to all employees;
  22. Monitoring: We will ensure that all children receive regular and frequent visits from their social workers for the purposes of monitoring and reviewing the suitability of their placement arrangements. A ‘Visitors Book’ recording all visitors (professional and personal) to the home is kept and monitored, and details relating to individual young people is also recorded on their notes.

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