Restrictive Physical Intervention and Restraint

1. Principles

Being able to promote positive behaviour and manage children’s behaviour well is central to the quality of care provided in any foster home. Negative behaviour should usually be managed through building positive relationships with children. Foster carers need to be able to respond positively to each child or young person’s individual behaviour and to be skilled at both diffusing difficult situations and avoiding situations escalating. The child’s Placement Plan must set out any specific behavioural issues that need to be addressed or approaches to be used.

The Fostering Service promotes a positive culture which minimises any restrictive practice. Restraint must be used only in strict accordance with the legislative framework and the Fostering Service policy to protect the child and those around them.

No form of corporal punishment can be used on any child by a foster carer or a member of their household, and no foster child can be subject to any excessive or unreasonable measure of control, restraint or discipline.

Restraint should only be used in exceptional circumstances where it is the only appropriate means to prevent likely injury to the child or other people, or likely serious damage to property, and in a manner consistent with the actions of any good parent. The use of restraint must be reasonable, proportionate and with the minimum of force.

Sanctions for poor behaviour must be clear, reasonable and fair and must not include restraint or corporal punishment.

Wherever possible foster carers should use constructive dialogue with the child or guide them away from a confrontational situation. They should also have an understanding of their own emotional response to a confrontation or threat, and know when to withdraw, concede or seek help.

All incidents must be reviewed, recorded and monitored and the views of the child sought, dependent on their age and understanding, and understood. Consideration should be given to the impact the intervention had on the child, why this was the right intervention, and what can be done to reduce the need for such an approach in the future.

See also Positive and Proactive Care: Reducing the Need for Restrictive Interventions - Department of Health and Social Care

2. Policy and Training

The Fostering Service has a clear written policy about acceptable measures of control, restraint and discipline of children placed with foster carers (Regulation 13 and Standard 3). All foster carers will be made aware of the policy and must apply it at all times.

Foster carers will be provided with appropriate training and development, including on understanding children’s unique needs and how they communicate.