SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER
This procedure is primarily designed for the management of children in foster care and residential care; but the principles apply to all looked after children, and social workers should be mindful of them when placing children with parents, relatives and friends.
For specific chapters see Hull Children's Homes Procedures ManualAlso see: ReFRESH Procedures
Drugs and substances are defined as any substances, whether restricted or prohibited, which may have a harmful effect upon a child, such as:
Alcohol, Cigarettes, Tobacco, Aerosols, Gas, Glue, Magic Mushrooms (Amanita), Petrol, Solvents, new psychoactive substances (previously known as 'legal highs') and all controlled substances such as Amphetamines, Barbiturates, Benzodiazepines, Cannabis, Cocaine, Hallucinogens, and Narcotics.
All reasonable measures must be used to reduce or prevent children from obtaining drugs or substances that may harm them.
If it is known or suspected that children are obtaining products that may harm them, the manager/supervising social worker and social worker must be informed and a strategy adopted to reduce or prevent it.
If the problem persists or is serious, relevant specialists or bodies, including Trading Standards or the Police, should be informed.
It is a criminal offence for cigarettes or e-cigarettes to be purchased by or on behalf of those under 18 years of age.
Staff and carers must not condone a child or young person smoking, for example by looking after their cigarettes or allowing the young person time to smoke. If children are permitted to smoke, this must have the parents' consent or, if the parents are not available, the Group Manager for LAC. The arrangements for managing the child/young person's smoking should be set out in the child's Placement Plan.
In foster homes, carers/visitors should be discouraged from smoking cigarettes or tobacco in front of children and children may not smoke inside the home. Foster carers are not permitted to purchase or give cigarettes, tobacco or the materials for making or lighting cigarettes or tobacco to children and, as indicated above, this is a criminal offence.
In residential care, staff/visitors are not permitted to smoke in the establishment or in front of children and children may not smoke inside the home. Members of residential staff are not permitted to purchase or give cigarettes, tobacco, or the materials for making or lighting cigarettes or tobacco to children and, as indicated above, this is a criminal offence.
It is an offence to smoke in a vehicle carrying children and young people under 18 years.
In foster homes, the supervising social worker and the social worker for any children placed should come to an agreement with the foster carers whether alcohol may be consumed by the child.
In residential care, staff/visitors and children are not permitted to consume alcohol on duty or in the establishment and staff are not permitted to take children into licensed premises other than those with separate restaurants.
Staff/carers must ensure that aerosols, gas, glue, petrol and similar substances are only used for the purpose they were designed for; and that all reasonable measures are taken to restrict their use to children who are known to pose no risk to themselves or others if they have access to them.
In foster homes, the arrangements for the obtaining, storage or access to children of these substances will be outlined in the Placement Plan for individual children.
In residential care, the arrangements for the obtaining, storage and use of these substances must be outlined in the Staff Handbook and Children's Guide or individual children's Placement Plans.
Under no circumstances may controlled drugs and substances, other than those prescribed by a medical practitioner, be permitted in any foster home or children's home. See Administration of Medication Procedure in relation to the requirement to safely store prescribed drugs in children's homes.
All staff/carers should ensure that information, guidance and advice on the risks associated with harmful drugs and substances are available to all children looked after. Additionally, any child known or suspected to be participating in drug or substances misuse activities must be provided with the following:
If it is suspected that a child is misusing harmful drugs or substances and no strategy exists to reduce or prevent the behaviour, the child's social worker should be contacted and an agreement reached on how to proceed; this will include whether the Police will be notified.
If there are immediate risks and the social worker or manager/link worker are not available, staff/carers should take what actions are immediately necessary then inform the manager/supervising social worker and the child's social worker at the first opportunity.
The actions that staff/carers take will be dependent on the circumstances and the degree of offence or injury that is likely.
The overall responsibility of staff/carers is to protect children, themselves and others from injury and reduce or prevent the likelihood of criminal offences.
If there is a risk of serious harm, injury or of a serious criminal offence and staff/carers are unable to manage safely, the Police should be notified.
If solvents are involved, allow air to circulate freely and extinguish naked lights.
If any person is unconscious, in a fit, convulsing or otherwise seriously ill, emergency first aid should be given and an ambulance requested. The emergency services should be informed that there are suspicions of drug or solvent misuse.
The drugs/substances should be removed or confiscated, preferably with the co-operation of the child, and preferably by two staff/carers; who must record their actions, describing what they have obtained and where it has been safely stored.
If children do not cooperate or there is a risk of injury or damage to property, it may be necessary to use Physical Intervention, conduct a search or call for Police assistance.
No further action, beyond making the situation safe and attempting to confiscate harmful drugs or substances, should be taken without a manager's authorisation, preferably in consultation with the child's social worker.
However, the staff/carers should undertake the following if a manager/supervising social worker is not available within a reasonable timescale:
When safe to do so, the manager/supervising social worker and child's social worker should be notified and a decision reached on the actions/measures to be taken. This should include whether the Police should be notified.
Staff/carers should record any occurrence as outlined in this procedure in the child's Daily Record.
Only valid for 48hrs