Principles for Residential Child Care

The principles upon which residential child care is delivered are important elements that underpin the Regulations and this Guide. The principles below, originally drafted by NCERRC[2], have been amended for use in this document following contributions before and during our consultation period by the residential child care sector. We would expect all homes to apply the principles below, and to ensure that residential child care is a positive choice for children and young people where a children’s home is the best placement to meet their individual needs.

Residential Child Care - Key Principles

Children in residential child care should be loved, happy, healthy, safe from harm and able to develop, thrive and fulfil their potential. Residential child care should value and nurture each child as an individual with talents, strengths and capabilities that can develop over time. Residential child care should 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. Residential child care should be ambitious, nurturing children’s school learning and out- of-school learning and their ambitions for their future. Residential child care should be attentive to children’s need, supporting emotional, mental and physical health needs, including repairing earlier damage to self-esteem and encouraging friendships. Residential child care 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. Residential child care 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. Residential child care 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.

[2] National Centre for Excellence in Residential Child Care

Last Updated: February 9, 2022

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