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3.8.3 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.

RELEVANT CHAPTERS

Holidays and School/Organisational Trips in the UK Procedure

Holidays and School/Organisation Trips Outside the UK Procedure

AMENDMENT

This chapter was updated in August 2016 with a link added to 'Child Safety Online: A practical guide for parents and carers whose children are using social media'.


Contents

  1. General
  2. Computers, Electronic Games, Videos and Films


1. General

  1. 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;
  2. Children should have occasional opportunities to participate in special trips, outings and have at least one holiday per year;
  3. Birthdays, name days, cultural and religious festivals must be celebrated;
  4. Children must be encouraged to pursue hobbies, recreational interests and sports;
  5. There should be a proper balance between free and controlled time in the child's daily routine;
  6. Risk assessments must be completed before activities are undertaken and plans implemented to reduce or prevent identified risks;
  7. Where required, qualified or certified staff/instructors must be engaged/employed;
  8. Children should have access to, and a choice in the selection of, newspapers, books and magazines suitable to their age and level of understanding;
  9. Children should have access to, preferably ownership of, suitable toys, music, books and games;
  10. 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;
  11. 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.

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

  1. Children should be encouraged and supported to use computer technology, including the Internet, and electronic games suitable to their age and level of understanding;
  2. Children may only watch videos, television programmes or films designated for their age;
  3. Children should be reminded of the potential risks of going online and the need to protect their identity and personal information when using social media. Parents and carers may consult 'Child Safety Online: A practical guide for parents and carers whose children are using social media' for further information.

End