No matter how far along you are in your fostering journey, you’ve likely heard of the term ‘safeguarding.’
At Compass, our top priority is ensuring the health, safety, and well-being of every child in our care. We work hard to improve the outcomes of our children and young people, and we expect all our foster carers to share the same commitment to safeguarding the children in our care.
But what does safeguarding mean, and how exactly does it protect our foster carers and the children in our care?
What is Safeguarding?
In a nutshell, safeguarding refers to the measures taken to promote the wellbeing, safety and human rights of individuals, helping them to live free from abuse, harm and neglect.
When it comes to children, safeguarding policies and procedures exist to make sure that every child – regardless of their age, gender, sexuality, disability, race, religion, or belief – is protected from harm or maltreatment.
Safeguarding children also means actively advocating for their health and development, ensuring that all children receive safe and effective care while growing up – no matter their background or familial or personal circumstances.
Ultimately, the aim of safeguarding is to ensure that children feel safe and are safe, which is why safeguarding is so important when it comes to foster care.
What Are Some Examples of Safeguarding Issues?
Safeguarding issues include anything that may pose a risk to the health, safety, or wellbeing of an individual.
For children in foster care, safety risks might come in a variety of different forms both inside and outside of the home. They may occur in real life, or online.
Some of the safeguarding risks for children include:
- Poor supervision
- Emotional abuse
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Domestic Violence
- Online Cyberbullying
- Gang Involvement
- Forced Marriage
These issues all pose a significant and detrimental risk to the safety and wellbeing of children, threatening to impair their physical, intellectual, emotional, and social development.
How Does Safeguarding Apply to Foster Carers?
Being aware of safeguarding and its procedures and policies is essential for any individual that works or volunteers with children and young people.
In the UK, safeguarding is part of Government law, which is why it is mandatory that all individuals working with children undergo safeguarding training.
All foster carers have a duty of care to their foster children, meaning they must consistently and actively work toward ensuring safeguarding policies are upheld. The role of a foster carer involves cultivating a safe and positive environment within which vulnerable children can grow and develop into well-rounded individuals.
As a foster carer, you are expected to encourage the children in your care to take appropriate and sensible risks that contribute to normal childhood development and experiences. Part of this involves helping your young people to understand how they can keep themselves safe when interacting with the world.
This also means being aware and alert to any potential risks facing a foster child that might cause them harm, following the correct protocols and procedures to ensure that the children in your care are kept safe and secure.
Does Safeguarding Protect Foster Carers too?
Children in foster care have often experienced varying degrees of trauma and instability throughout their lives. This can cause a wide range of emotional and behavioural issues, which, at times, can be challenging for foster carers to manage.
Sometimes, allegations of misconduct are made against foster carers – either by their foster children, members of the fostering household, or other individuals involved. These allegations assert that the foster carer has or may have behaved in a way that has caused harm to the child.
Following safeguarding policies should help to avoid allegations like these being made, ensuring that foster carers are always behaving in a manner that promotes the wellbeing of their children.
Part of safeguarding in foster care also involves keeping a daily log that records any and all happenings that occur within the foster home. These logs might record the details of disagreements or a foster child’s behaviour, helping to provide greater understanding of certain events, should any allegations be made.
What Kind of Support Does Compass Provide?
At Compass, we take the safety of our children, foster carers, and staff very seriously; our safeguarding policies make sure that all those in our community – including our staff, foster carers, and children – can work and live within a safe and supportive environment.
As a foster carer with Compass, you will receive a comprehensive range of high-quality training to help support you throughout your fostering journey, including essential safeguarding training.
Every member of our community is given full guidance to help them protect the children in our care, working together to safeguard our children and support them in achieving better outcomes. Our foster carers have access to 24/7 support from our team of childcare professionals, ensuring they are able to provide the best care possible for our children.
If you think you could make a difference to the life of a young person, and are interested in becoming a foster carer, you can get in touch with us here.