Care and Control Policy


This chapter informs staff of Childhood First's regard to care and treatment of children and young people in their care.


Sanctions Procedure

Use of Restraint and Physical Interventions Procedure

Relationships and Physical Contact with Children Procedure


This chapter was slightly amended in October 2015.


  1. Introduction
  2. Positive Behaviour Management Rationale
  3. Guidelines
  4. Promoting Good Behaviour
  5. Rewards
  6. Sanctions
  7. Physical Intervention

1. Introduction

Issues of relationships, authority and boundaries, care and control are particularly significant for all the children we care for. It is through attention to the details of relating that children are offered an opportunity for growth and development. We understand issues of Care and Control in this context.

It is clearly understood by all staff and emphasised in the support, supervision and training structures that the way adults relate together and to children has a significant effect on the development of children. The training and supervision framework provide group forums (e.g. case discussion, work discussion groups) to train staff groups and to discuss issues related to the care and control of children.

Understanding of the children's histories contributes to fostering positive relationships between staff and children.

Relationships between staff and children at Childhood First Communities are based on honesty, mutual respect and understanding. The staff teams are expected to maintain clear safe consistent and understandable boundaries for the children.

Community meetings provide a regular forum for children to participate in discussing the issues relating to care and control, relationships, rules boundaries and sanctions and their opinions are actively sought.

Children are helped to understand the impact of their behaviour on others, and to express their feelings about others' behaviour. High levels of supervision and guidance are provided to encourage behaviour and relationships which have a beneficial impact for themselves and others. Achievements and participation are celebrated and rewarded. Where behaviour is unacceptable or has a destructive impact it is responded to with consistency and clarity within a context of understanding the particular child's history as well as the group dynamic.

2. Positive Behaviour Management Rationale

Childhood First is committed to creating, within each of its centres, a culture of mutual respect where each child or young person can learn to develop inter-personal skills such as empathy, respect, co-operation and tolerance. The aim of the work is to help each child or young person develop into effective, contributing and productive members of society.

Each centre endeavours in practice and in its ethos to develop a sense of self-discipline in children and young people and an acceptance of responsibility for their own behaviour and actions.

We believe that children and young people who have experienced trauma, rejection and abuse need well-ordered, safe and containing environments in order to be able to make progress. We nurture a culture of honest exchange of views, of thoughtfulness and reflection, of recognising positive behaviours/attitudes wherever they occur. The ethos is one of encouragement and praise rather than criticism and punishment but misdemeanours, unacceptable behaviour or inappropriate language will also be attended to and addressed. We acknowledge that "acting out" behaviours are often a form of communication; that an expression of anger might be an essential first step in addressing deep seated problems. With this in mind staff are trained to respond rather than react to presenting behaviours in order not to fuel a volatile situation but also to model for children and young people how to manage situations that elicit strong emotional responses.

Positive behaviour will be encouraged through the use of:

  • Behaviour management plans;
  • Community meetings;
  • One-to-one work;
  • De-escalation techniques;
  • Conversations with social worker to ensure consistent parenting;
  • Disruption meetings;
  • Referrals to a psychiatrist/psychotherapist;
  • Physical intervention as a last resort.

Staff will be trained and supported in selecting the appropriate approach in each circumstance. This is in addition to the ongoing training each staff member receives regarding behaviour management issues through a range of meetings at each community. These include the community meetings, staff meetings, work and case discussions, individual supervision, team supervision, whole team dynamics, management meetings and consultant meetings.

Childhood First Ethos:

  • Fosters self-discipline and self-awareness in children and young people to prepare them to be good citizens;
  • Promotes independence and a sense of responsibility;
  • Provides a positive climate in which effective and supportive group living can take place;
  • Encourages positive and respectful relationships amongst all members of each community.

3. Guidelines

Behaviour management is a collective responsibility. Each member of staff is expected to draw attention to any concerns and refer these to a more senior member of staff, and ensure that the child's key/link worker is alerted and that the concern is recorded and the behaviour management plan is updated as required.

More serious behaviour management issues are to be brought to the attention of the senior management.

Children and young people are encouraged to solve problems through negotiation and compromise. Individual and group discussion is used to promoted conflict resolution and positive behaviour management strategies.

The support of parents, carers and those with legal responsibility is actively encouraged in promoting good behaviour.

Each centre has agreed procedures for rewarding positive behaviour, sanctioning unacceptable behaviour, and maintaining records.

4. Promoting Good Behaviour

Many children and young people coming into residential care have experienced stigma, exclusion and isolation. This background is often directly related to their ongoing challenging and disruptive behaviour. It is the work of the staff to create an inclusive environment where children and young people are offered good role models in how to cope with conflict and learn to develop good behaviour. In order to achieve this, we as an organisation will:

  • Look to employ staff who have already (or have a strong potential to quickly develop) the skills, qualities, attitudes and motivation to relate to children and young people and build positive relationships with them;
  • Involve children and young people in the recruitment and assessment process for new staff;
  • Provide each child and young person with a key/link worker to help them in building relationships;
  • Provide adequate staffing levels and predictable working shift patterns so that children and young people feel safe and contained;
  • Develop relationships between staff and children and young people where they feel listened to, understood and respected and through relationships manage challenging situations and effectively diffuse potentially disruptive behaviour;
  • Ensure staff work in consistent teams which enable good practice to develop and be put into place;
  • Maintain a robust line management structure that supports effective management of relationships.

Ensure that staff support children and young people to develop positive links with the local community through any appropriate social, educational, recreational or religious avenue.

Rewards and sanctions are part of the mechanisms for care and control within the context of thoughtful consistent relationships.

5. Rewards

Rewards for thoughtful and acceptable behaviour are most often in the form of praise and encouragement within individual conversations and the group forums. Contribution to and participation in the group is noticed and encouraged. Small achievements in these areas are praised and noticed in the context of children's own difficulties, struggles and efforts in this area rather than relative to each other.

6. Sanctions

Sanctions are used as a part of establishing positive relationships with children and helping to maintain boundaries and control. They are used to engender the concepts of restitution and reparation; the notion that mistakes or wrong-doing can be repaired and things, (including people) can be 'made better'. They may not be excessive or unreasonable, and may only be applied in accordance with the Sanctions Procedure.

There are occasions when a child's or a young person's behaviour or attitude may challenge our agreed standards for good behaviour. Sanctions:

  • Reflect the seriousness of an individual offence;
  • Are applied as soon as possible after an incident;
  • Are applied in a fair and consistent manner.

Sanctions are not:

  • Applied to a whole group of children or young people when the individual(s) responsible has(/have) not been identified;
  • Used to degrade a child or young person;
  • Used to cause a child or young person public or private humiliation;
  • Restricting liberty.

Sanctions may include:

  • Verbal warnings or censure;
  • Confiscation of prohibited items;
  • A financial penalty;
  • A grounding and withdrawal from social activities.

Continued misbehaviour or an incident of major concern will trigger a disruption meeting where strategies will be discussed and the need for temporary suspension or permanent exclusion will be considered in consultation with the placing authority, parents and child/young person where applicable.

7. Physical Intervention

Reasonable restrictive physical intervention is used only to prevent likely injury to the child concerned, to others or to prevent serious damage to property. It is never used as a punishment, sanction, or to force compliance. Physical intervention is only used in accordance with the Use of Restraint and Physical Interventions Procedure.

The only permissible techniques of restraint (holds) used are those outlined in the procedures and training. Currently the training framework used is Norfolk Steps in Norfolk or Positive Options in Kent. Only those thus trained in the intervention model for the individual community are permitted to physically intervene with a child.