Managing minor incidents at a care placement

About the issue

Children and young people in care placements are much more likely to be reported to police than non-experienced care children. This also includes for minor incidents, such as kicking a door, or smashing a glass.

Where there is no immediate threat or risk of harm, professionals should consider alternative ways for managing negative behaviours to reduce police contact and unnecessary criminalisation. Professionals told us that the following are important considerations:

  • Manage challenging behaviour in a restorative way to prevent the escalation of behaviour and police being called
  • Ensure children and young people have access to sufficient mental health support to help them come to terms with trauma and adverse childhood experiences, so that the possibility of this being expressed in negative behaviours, is reduced
  • Consider all steps that could be taken before calling the police. Think, how might a situation be resolved at home with a non-care experienced child or young person?
  • Ensuring care home staff dealing with challenging behaviour feel supported.

Good practice protocol for London encourages professionals to consider Levels 1-3 when responding to incidents, before deciding to involve the police.

Protocol for London