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Nottingham City Safeguarding Children’s Board Procedures Manual
Nottingham City Safeguarding Children’s Board Procedures Manual Nottingham City Safeguarding Children’s Board Procedures Manual
Caption: main heading

6.13 Bullying in Foster Care - Policy and Procedure


For further information, please see:

Department for Education website - Preventing and Tackling Bullying

Jenny Mosley and Positive Press Quality Circle Time website

This chapter was added to the manual in February 2012.


  1. Policy Aim
  2. Legislative Summary
  3. Key Policy Objectives
  4. Key Actions
  5. Context
  6. Definition of Bullying
  7. Procedure for Carers
  8. Procedure for Children’s Services

1. Policy Aim

To ensure that, wherever possible, Children Looked After and the children of foster carers are protected from bullying and that incidences of bullying are dealt with effectively and without delay.

2. Legislative Summary

The Children Act 1989 places a clear responsibility on local authorities to protect children from all forms of abuse.

Caption: legislative summary
1.1 NMS Standard 9.6 states that Fostering Services must have systems in place to recognise, record and address any instance of bullying.
1.2 Standard 9.3 requires foster carers to produce a safe caring policy.
1.3 Standard 9.2 requires that foster carers’ training should cover recognising signs of abuse and ways of maintaining the child’s self esteem.

3. Key Policy Objectives

To give clear guidance to foster carers, supervising social workers and managers on the recognition of and actions to be taken to address, bullying.

To minimise the incidence of bullying, both as victim and perpetrator, among fostered children.

4. Key Actions

Foster carers, social workers and managers will be required to develop an awareness of bullying in all its forms, symptoms exhibited by children and strategies for dealing with bullying.

5. Context

Children Looked After may be at particular risk of being bullied because bullies often focus on a particular aspect of a person that makes her/him different to try and justify bullying behaviour. By definition, children in foster care are different as they do not live at home with their parents and also, they may exhibit demonstrably more vulnerability. This makes them fit the potential profile.

Bullying is often ongoing but can be one-off.

6. Definition of Bullying

The intentional or perceived causing of harm, distress, anxiety, humiliation or social exclusion to one or more people by one or more people, by physical, verbal or other means, or through damage to or loss of property.

7. Procedure for Carers

It is important that carers treat all instances of bullying seriously and take the following action:

  • Listen to the child or young person and allow her/him to tell you the problem in her/his own words;
  • Treat all disclosures seriously, no matter how trivial the incident may seem to you;
  • Where suspicion of bullying exists but the child will not disclose, the carer could consider asking the young person to talk to another adult, e.g. the Social Worker, teacher or SSW;
  • In instances of bullying it is important to consider the issues carefully before taking action. Consider the child’s views as the adults response may be exactly what the child was dreading. Children often fear revenge from the bully if they disclose;
  • Involve the child in the action that is going to be taken;
  • Make an appointment to speak to the teacher and the social worker;
  • Encourage the child to keep communicating with you as the carer;
  • Make the child feel listened to and cared for.

8. Procedure for Children’s Services

Children’s Services should take the following action where they believe or are informed that a looked after child is the victim of bullying:

  • Take all notifications of bullying seriously;
  • Update case not6es contemporaneously;
  • Offer to provide support and encouragement to the carer as soon as is practicable;
  • Arrange counselling where it is appropriate to do so;
  • Speak directly with the child or young person, (with the carer’s knowledge), to offer support;
  • Fostering Services should consider bullying and its impact when considering foster carers’ training regarding managing behaviour, recognising signs of abuse and maintaining the child’s self esteem. (Standard 9.2);
  • Consider involving the police, the school, or other relevant agencies, depending on the circumstances.