Looking after children in care

Family rules

All families have rules, and these should be agreed with your carers. They will explain clearly any action they will take if you break the rules. The sorts of punishments that may be used are:

  • being asked, if you have caused damage, to repair the damage or pay for it, either fully or in part
  • cutting back on your leisure activities
  • giving you extra chores in the home

Your foster carer has the right to punish you if you misbehave, but you should not be:

  • hit, slapped, pinched, squeezed, shaken, dealt with roughly nor have things thrown at you
  • deprived of food or drink
  • stopping from having visits to or from your family, friends and other visitors
  • stopped from having letters or phone calls
  • made to wear inappropriate clothing
  • given any medication or medical or dental treatment as a punishment, and neither should treatment be withheld from you
  • locked in your room
  • deliberately deprived of sleep
  • stopped from getting pocket money, although some of it can be used to pay for damage you have done or to replace money if you have stolen some – this should not be more than half your pocket money, for over four weeks
  • made to have a strip search or anything similar

Your carer should only ever restrain you physically to prevent you from injuring yourself or other people, or causing serious damage to property. Younger children may be stopped from leaving somewhere and putting themselves in danger.

If you are with foster carers and you are punished in any of the ways that are not allowed or you feel that you are being treated unfairly, tell your social worker. You can also make a formal complaint.