Residential Child Care – Key Principles


The Quality and Purpose of Care Standard

Regulation 5 – Engaging with the Wider System to Ensure Each Child’s Needs are Met


This chapter provides the context for all work with children and young people living in our homes.


Providing Personalised Care Procedure

Information Sharing Procedure

Case Recording Procedure


This chapter was updated in November 2021.


  1. Overview
  2. Key Principles
  3. Achieving the Key Principles

1. Overview

The manager will ensure that the home is conducted:

  • So as to promote and make proper provision for the safeguarding, health and welfare, care, education, supervision and, where appropriate, treatment, of accommodated children;
  • In a manner which respects their privacy and dignity;
  • With due regard to their sex / gender identity, religious persuasion, racial origin, cultural and linguistic background and any disability.

2. Key Principles

The Children’s Homes Regulation (including the Quality Standards) 2015 set out the following key principles which all homes will apply to ensure that the care  we provide is a positive choice for children and young people and meets their individual needs.

Children in residential child care:

  • Should be loved, happy, healthy, safe from harm and able to develop, thrive and fulfil their potential;
  • Should be valued and nurtured as an individual with talents, strengths and capabilities that can develop over time;
  • Should be supported to foster positive relationships, encouraging strong bonds between children and staff in the home on the basis of jointly undertaken activities, shared daily life, domestic and non-domestic routines and established boundaries of acceptable behaviour;
  • Should be ambitious, nurturing children’s school learning and out- of-school learning and their ambitions and aspirations for their future;
  • Should be attentive to children’s need, supporting emotional, mental and physical health needs, including repairing earlier damage to self-esteem and encouraging friendships;
  • Should be outward facing, working with the wider system of professionals for each child, and with children’s families and communities of origin to sustain links and understand past problems;
  • Should have high expectations of staff as committed members of a team, as decision makers and as activity leaders. In support of this, children’s homes should ensure all staff and managers are engaged in on-going learning about their role and the children and families they work with;
  • Should provide a safe and stimulating environment in high-quality buildings, with spaces that support nurture and allow privacy as well as common spaces and spaces to be active.

3. Achieving the Key Principles

To achieve these key principles, practice in Children’s Homes should be shaped around the following:

The best interests of the child: Children’s welfare, safety and needs will be at the centre of the care provided. All decisions made in relation to children will have, as the first and paramount consideration, the best interests of the child.

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.

Children’s wishes and feelings: Children have their own views, wishes and feelings, and homes 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.  All children should be enabled to communicate their views (including very young children or those with communication difficulties) and appropriate methods for gaining their views should be sought and provided the home, including through the use of Independent Advocates. Children will be provided with information about how to contact the Children’s Commissioner, their social worker and Independent Reviewing officer and should be offered access to a Children’s Rights Officer (within the Placing Authority) and/or an Independent Advocate.

Keeping children informed: Children should be provided with information about the home and other services available locally. They should also be helped to understand the types of personal information which is kept in their case records, what it is used for, who it will be shared with and how long it will be kept for. Their right to access their case record should also be explained to them.

Promoting family time/contact: Contact with family members, friends and other significant persons will be promoted (unless particular circumstances indicate that such contact would not be in the child’s best interests). Parents and others with Parental Responsibility will be enabled to participate 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. Children will be encouraged to establish relationships with friends within and outside the home and with people from the wider community.

Promoting diversity: Staff will take every step to make sure that individual children and young people are not subject to discrimination, marginalisation or bullying from their peers by virtue of their gender, religion, ethnicity, cultural and linguistic background, sexual identity, gender identity, mental ill health, disability or for any other reason. Children and families will be treated with respect and dignity, and receive services which respect their ethnicity, culture, language, disability, sexuality and religion.

Admissions and reception of children and reviews: Wherever possible children should be placed in a planned and sensitive manner and services provided on the basis of initial and continual assessment, planning, monitoring and review. Each child will have a Placement Plan that underpins their Care Plan and other significant plans and which accurately reflects the way in which identified needs will be met. 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. Children will receive regular and frequent visits from their social workers for the purposes of monitoring and reviewing the suitability of their placement arrangements.

Promoting independence: Children will be encouraged 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. Young people will be provided with information, advice and practical assistance to help prepare them for adult life.

Promoting educational achievement: Staff will promote and support the educational achievement of children and ensure that a positive learning environment is promoted both at school and within the home. This could include supporting children with homework, accessing the internet and possibly home study. Staff will work closely with social workers and other professionals (e.g. teachers) to ensure that each child has a Personal Education Plan (PEP) which accurately reflects their needs and is reviewed at regular intervals.

Health care: To promote children's health, staff in the home should ensure there is a continuity of treatment and that children's physical, emotional and psychological health needs are properly assessed and accounted for. All children will have healthcare assessments and screening resulting in a Health Care Plan designed to ensure their healthcare needs, including immunisations, are up to date. Young people should be provided with advice and support on sexual health and healthy relationships (including consent, criminal exploitation, sexual exploitation and domestic abuse where appropriate), smoking, alcohol and substance misuse.

Promoting positive behaviour and relationships: Homes should have high expectations of all children and staff and aim to create an environment and culture which promotes and supports positive behaviour. Behaviour management strategies should support positive behaviour and de-escalation of conflicts.  Staff will be trained to build and maintain positive relationships and resolve conflicts positively. Children will be encouraged to take responsibility for their behaviour, in a way that is appropriate to their age and abilities. Sanctions and rewards for behaviour will be clear, reasonable and fair and understood by all staff and children. Bullying within the home will not be tolerated.

Leisure and recreation: Children will provided with opportunities to participate in a range of leisure, exercise and recreational activities appropriate to their needs, abilities and interests. Children's birthdays, name days, cultural and religious festivals will be celebrated where appropriate, and children should participate with staff in the planning of these events.

Protecting children: All staff will have training in how to recognise, and respond to, concerns of abuse and neglect.  Any allegations against staff members will be deal with promptly in accordance with the Blackburn with Darwen, Blackpool and Lancashire Children's Safeguarding Assurance Partnership (CSAP)Procedures.

Physical contact and relationships: Staff will develop caring and nurturing relationships with Children, based on clear boundaries, which demonstrate affection, acceptance and reassurance. Staff are encouraged to use appropriate physical contact, positively and safely in keeping with the child’s past experiences, needs and wishes. Where staff spend time alone with Children, this will be underpinned by effective procedures, evidence-based risk assessments and training which safeguard the interests of both children and staff/carers. Play fighting is not allowed under any circumstances.

Complaints and representations: All children will be provided with information on how to make a complaint or comment about their care. In addition we will carry out on-going consultation with children, young people and carers.

Safe practices, health and safety: Each home will have a written Health and Safety Policy clarifying responsibilities under The Health and Safety at Work Act and related legislative guidance. The home will identify a senior manager responsible for health and safety and designated health and safety representatives. Each home should complete comprehensive Health and Safety Risk Assessments; these should be regularly reviewed and monitored.