Leisure and Activities
SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER
This chapter sets out the general principles in relation to leisure and recreation, which should be applied to all looked after children.
It should be read in conjunction with;Holidays and School/Organisational Trips inside and Outside the UK Procedure
- All looked after children must be encouraged to participate in recreational, social and leisure activities, suitable to their needs and interests, on a group and individual basis; within and outside the home.
- Children should have occasional opportunities to participate in special trips, outings and have at least one holiday per year.
- Birthdays, name days, cultural and religious festivals must be celebrated.
- Children must be encouraged to pursue hobbies, recreational interests and sports.
- There should be a proper balance between free and controlled time in the child's daily routine.
- Risk assessments must be completed before activities are undertaken and plans implemented to reduce or prevent identified risks (see Activities Procedure)
- Where required, qualified or certified staff/instructors must be engaged/employed.
- Children should have access to, and a choice in the selection of, newspapers, books and magazines suitable to their age and level of understanding.
- Children should have access to, preferably ownership of, suitable toys, music, books and games.
- Transport used by the home should not be marked in such a way as to distinguish it from an ordinary family vehicle, unless it has been received by the home as a charitable donation in which case it may carry the name of the donating charity.
- Children should be encouraged and enabled to make and sustain friendships with children of their own age outside the home. This may involve friends visiting the home, and reciprocal arrangements to visit friends' homes (see also Social Visits (Including Over Night Stays) Procedure) for the contact that residential staff/foster carers can agree).
If the social worker and manager believe that any special payment is necessary or justified, for example:
- A special payment to support the child's hobbies or sports activities;
- A special payment to support the child in developing useful skills, e.g. driving lessons, purchase of tools
the social worker should make a written application to the relevant manager for funding.
2. Computers, Electronic Games, Videos and Films
- Children should be encouraged and supported to use computer technology, including the Internet, and electronic games suitable to their age and level of understanding.
- Children may only watch videos, television programmes or films designated for their age.