Clothing, Pocket Money and Allowances


The Quality and Purpose of Care Standard


Pocket money, leisure and clothing allowances provided within residential care can be used to help children develop money management and finance skills and awareness.

It is important to remember that young people who are placed in residential care should be afforded the same individuality in relation to their clothing and personal requisite needs as any other young person.

Personal requisite needs include such things as toiletries and hair care products but this is not an exhaustive list because, by their very nature, they are open to interpretation and personal choice. As such, each home, within the budget allowance, has the flexibility to discuss and negotiate with young people that their personal requisite needs are:

  • All young people should have clean, good quality clothing available to them and their agreed personal requisite needs should be met. At the same time, young people need to be able to make individual choices about their appearance;
  • It is also important to be aware that some young people may have self-image issues that influence their state of dress and this may lead them to dress in an unkempt manner. Staff should work to help young people develop a more positive self-image, and thus influence their state of dress over time. The particular ways in which a young person is been helped should be clearly recorded within their Placement Plan and this would include a recording of their present approach to clothing and personal appearance;
  • All young people attending school, irrespective of fashion choices, should have school uniforms that are clean and well maintained;
  • Particular attention should be paid to supporting and meeting any cultural, ethnic or religious needs that young people may have, with respect to their clothing and personal requisites;
  • Young people should be supported, encouraged and guided to choose their own clothes. Young people should be enabled and given the choice to go shopping without staff;
  • Where there are issues within a young person’s life that make it difficult for them to take responsibility for their own clothing and personal requisite money, this should be clearly recorded within the Placement Plan. The recording should include the reasons why such a decision has been taken, for example, an issue with substance misuse that has led to a misuse of clothing and personal requisite money or items. Furthermore, the recording should also include the ways in which the young person is been helped to address the issue;
  • Suitable and acceptable clothing and personal requisites should be purchased for any young person who is unable or unwilling to choose and purchase for his or herself;
  • Young people should have their own clothes and personal requisites for their own exclusive use;
  • In situations in which it has been assessed that young people cannot safely use toiletries dispensed by aerosol; such decisions and actions should be recorded;
  • Young women should have their own supply of sanitary protection and should not have to request it from a central stock;
  • Young people should receive, when appropriate, non-judgemental guidance and advice from staff about choice and care of clothing, use of cosmetics, toiletries and sanitary protection;
  • All young people should receive pocket money. The amount should be related to age and consistent throughout the whole residential childcare sector. Amounts of which, are set each year;
  • Pocket money should be kept safe and recorded separately on the Pocket Money Recording Sheet for each young person and this is kept within his or her Daily Living File. Each young person should also sign for his or her pocket money. If, however, they refuse to sign, this should be recorded and two staff members should witness that the young person has indeed received their pocket money. If a young person consistently refuses to sign, this issue will need to be addressed as part of the daily living arrangements and actions and approaches recorded within the young person’s Placement Plan;
  • If a young person is unable, albeit temporarily due to illness or accident, arrangements need to be agreed with the young person about how to record that he or she has received their pocket money. Such arrangements may involve two staff signing to witness a young person’s receipt;
  • Young people should be encouraged and supported to take responsibility for looking after their own money, making use of their lockable cabinets within their lockable bedrooms. Further, whenever possible, young people should be encouraged and helped to learn about the value of saving money. This will also help young people to learn about the different ways in which banks operate and provide a choice of safe keeping and accessing their money;
  • If it is agreed, that the way for a young person to make amends for a misuse of money (for example, using money given for bus-fares on something else) is by re-payment from their pocket money, no more than two-thirds of the total pocket money amount should be deducted.