SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER
This procedure applies to children placed in children's homes and foster homes managed by the authority, but the principles apply to the placement of all looked after children. Therefore, where children are placed with parents, relatives or friends or in placements not managed by the authority, the social worker must ensure these or other adequate procedures are applied.
As set out in Social Worker Visits Procedure, the social worker when carrying out visits to the child at his or her placement must see the child's bedroom at least once every 3 months.
Suitable arrangements should exist in all foster homes and children's homes for matters relating to children's bedrooms, including security, visiting or sharing of bedrooms etc.
2. Bedroom Furniture, Facilities, Equipment and Decoration
Children's bedrooms should be pleasantly furnished, equipped and decorated in a manner appropriate to their individual needs, interests and choices.
Children should be encouraged to personalise their bedrooms, with posters, pictures and personal items of their choice.
Children of an appropriate age and level of understanding should be encouraged and supported to purchase furniture, equipment or decorations, preferably as part of a plan to prepare the child for independence.
3. Bedroom Security and Keys
Children should have adequate, safe, storage for their belongings and medicines, if permitted to administer their own.
Each child should have a lockable cupboard where they can keep personal items.
If it is necessary to do so, to protect children or their belongings, bedrooms may be fitted with locks or other forms of security. If locks are fitted, keys must be made available to children.
4. Monitoring Arrangements
Where it is necessary to install or use listening or other strategies to monitor children, these arrangements must be set out in the Placement Plan /Placement Information Record for individual children.
5. Staff / Carer Presence in Rooms
Children's privacy should be respected.
Unless there are exceptional circumstances, residential staff/foster carers should knock the door before entering children's bedrooms; and then only enter with their permission.
The exceptional circumstances where residential staff or foster carers may have to enter a child's bedroom without knocking or asking permission are as follows:
- To wake a heavy sleeper, undertake cleaning, return or remove soiled clothing; (although, in these circumstances, the child should have been told/warned that this may be necessary);
- To take necessary action, including forcing entry, to protect the child or others from injury or to prevent likely damage to property. The taking of such action is a form of Physical Intervention;
- To look for information which may help to find the whereabouts of a missing child.
When entering a child's bedroom when they are not there, there should be respect for the child's privacy, for example if documents or the child's diary have been left out, they should not be routinely inspected, unless a specific risk has been identified and recorded.
Residential staff/foster carers should always record when they have entered a child's bedroom and share the recording with the child.
6. Visiting and Sharing Rooms
Children should have their own bedrooms wherever possible.
The risks associated with a child sharing a bedroom must be assessed as part of the placement planning process before a decision is made to allow this and the outcome of the assessment should be shared in full with foster carers prior to the child's placement.
The risks associated with a child receiving visitors in his/her bedroom should also be assessed before it is allowed. Where visitors are allowed in the child's bedroom, the door should always be kept open while the visitor is there.
Children may not share bedrooms or receive visitors in their bedrooms unless this has been agreed by the social worker, the children's views and wishes have been obtained and considered, and the arrangements are outlined in the relevant Placement Information Record.