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Internet safety

A report of the Growing up Digital Taskforce January 2017
The Children’s Commissioner has published a ‘Growing Up Digital’ report which explores how well children are prepared to engage with the internet.

Led by an expert advisory group, Growing Up Digital found that when children use social media they sign up to terms and conditions that they do not understand.

The study also looked into children’s experiences of reporting concerns on social media sites and asking for content about them to be removed.

It recommends giving children more power to tackle social media companies by appointing a digital ombudsman to mediate between them over the removal of content.

The report also recommends that every child in the country studies digital citizenship to build online resilience, learn about their rights and responsibilities online and prepare them for their digital lives.

To read the full report, please click here.


Online Safety – Carer Survey 2016

Guardian Saints conducted a survey to determine what challenges and concerns foster carers have regarding online safety for the children they look after. We will publish the results of this survey soon.


Nowadays children and young people spend a lot of time on the internet via smartphones, tablets, laptops and games consoles. There are many benefits to accessing social media but there are obviously risks which you and your looked after young person need to be aware of.

At the end of December 2015, the UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) UKCCIS published a new guide to support child safety online entitled, ‘A practical guide for parents and carers whose children are using social media’. This guide is designed to help children understand the risks and benefits of social media, and prevent risks becoming problems. You can read a copy of the guide here.

Survey of popular social networking sites
The NSPCC, O2 and Mumsnet carried out a survey of parents of 8-12 year olds as well as young people to get their opinions on different social network sites. The children and young people were asked to rate how risky a particular social network or app was, and what their top concerns were.
Each social network provides a minimum age, and as part of this survey an independent panel gave their review of what the minimum age they thought it should be. Click here to discover the most popular social networking sites assessed in the survey to help raise your awareness and help keep your young person safe.

Advice on child internet safety
UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) has produced a guide that draws together the most effective messages for keeping children safe online.

Advice for parents and carers
The National Crime Agency’s CEOP Command has revised and updated the parents content on the Thinkuknow website – the new site offers a completely refreshed suite of articles and guidance on all aspects of child internet safety, as well as providing specific advice for parents and carers on preventing their children from becoming victims of sexual abuse and exploitation both online and in the ‘real world’. The guide includes practical tips about the use of safety and privacy features on apps and platforms, and some conversation prompts to help families start talking about online safety.

Using parental controls
Parental controls are a great tool to help protect your children online. There’s plenty of advice available to help you using them may not be as difficult as you first thought and there is help available. Find out more here.

Using placement plans to keep children safe online
If you’re a foster carer or social worker make sure you consider online safety before, during and after any placement. Read more here.

Keeping children in care safe online
Most children in care use the internet safely but there are risk factors which can make them more vulnerable online. As a carer there are steps you can take to keep them safe.

Keeping adopted children safe online
Early experiences can make adopted children more vulnerable online. Here are practical things you can do to help them stay safe.

Does your child have Autistic Spectrum Disorder?
If your child has Autistic Spectrum Disorder you’ve probably developed strategies for helping them learn how to stay safe. Here are some practical steps you can take to keep them safe online.

Nude Selfies: What Parents and Carers Need to Know
This series of four short animated films for parents and carers offer advice on how to help keep children safe from the risks associated with the sharing of nude and nearly nude images. Click here to find out more.

The process of ‘grooming’ is used by adults with a sexual interest in children. Often these adults will trick children into sharing personal information or sexual imagery, performing sexual acts over the internet or meeting them in person. Read more here and find out what the 31 internet acronyms EVERY parent and carer needs to know.

A guide to vlogging
Vlogging is the art of making video blogs or ‘vlogs’ on YouTube, find out more here.

Useful links:

Have YOUR Say

We believe it’s vital for foster carers to have a say in decisions that affect their lives. That’s we work hard to ensure that your voice is heard as much as any other childcare professional.

Our website will keep you up to date with the latest consultations taking place on fostering related issues, so that you can comment on proposed changes that may affect you or the children and young people you care for.

We also work closely with policy-making teams across the UK to share your opinions and concerns with the people who make important decisions on your behalf.




Northern Ireland


Fosterline Logo


Fosterline is delivered by FosterTalk and funded by the Department for Education.

Fosterline is free, confidential, impartial and supportive for you as a foster carer, or if you ar thinking of becoming a foster carer.

Garden advice for foster carers

Having a garden is a relative luxury in this day and age where urban areas are becoming dense with housing and offices. If you are a foster carer fortunate enough to have a back garden, then this can act as a therapeutic area, not just for your own family but for foster children as well. Gardens by their very nature are calming with grass, trees and greenery and can act as a special space for thought and reflection. An oasis of calm in nature that allows children to run around, get exercise, feel happy and energised.

This article explores how the garden can benefit the whole of the fostering family and the safety measures foster carers should put in place. For further information, click here.

Assessment of pets

Having pets does not prevent you from fostering, however, every animal is different and your pets will be assessed as part of the process of becoming a foster carer, taking into account factors such as their temperament and behaviour, and where they eat and sleep. You may be restricted to the ages of children you can foster depending on the type of pet you have.

As a pet owner, you also need to think about how you would feel if one of your pets was harmed or injured by a child. This would be addressed as part of the assessment process.

For further information click here.

Food in Care

The ‘Food in Care’ resource pack provides practical support for those who look after Children in Care (CiC) and has been co-designed with experienced foster carers, providing a detailed insight into the needs of CiC, and a comprehensive understanding of practical tools and ideas that carers and other professionals can use in everyday situations when providing child care.

The main aims of the ‘Food in Care’ resource pack are to provide carers with a tool to support them in a range of food behaviour challenges that they may face with children in their care; to support them in providing a healthy environment, and to contribute to better health outcomes for CiC.

To access the Food in Care website, please click here.

Fostering Information Exchange

FIE logo2

The Fostering Information Exchange (FIE) is a secure online knowledge sharing platform for anyone who has an interest in, or a connection to fostering to create connections to peers and experts in their fields of interest, share learning, experiences and ideas.

FIE has been developed by a partnership involving FosterTalk, Coram BAAF, the Fostering Network, the Nationwide Association of Fostering Providers, Become, and the Department for Education.

What are the benefits of FIE 

FIE provides a whole range of tools to help share knowledge and discuss matters with others.

  • Discussion forums – share thoughts and good practice or ask for advice and practical solutions.
  • Blogs – reflect on your work and what you’ve learnt, share your opinions.
  • A library – share reports, research, presentations, videos and images. For example the latest speech from the Minister, Edward Timpson is available here.
  • Event promotion – find out about forthcoming events and promote your own events, training sessions and workshops.
  • Connections – connect with other Knowledge Hub or FIE group members and follow their activity.
  • Instant and Direct messaging – easily send messages to other registered Knowledge Hub members.
  • Email notifications – set up regular e-alerts for your groups, connections, messages and individual content items of your choice.
  • Social media links – link your profile to other social network accounts you might have, for example Twitter, LinkedIn etc.
  • Personalised homepage – access everything via your activity streams on your homepage. It’s personalised to you depending on who you’re connected to, which groups you join and which conversations you’ve contributed to.
  • A clever search function – that not only allows you to find things more easily, but also enables the information to find you, based on your profile and activity.

To register and for more information, click here.

The IRM explained

The IRM in England and Wales
The Independent Review Mechanism (IRM) was introduced by statute
in England and Wales in order to increase public confidence in the
transparency of the approvals process and to encourage more people
to consider fostering and adoption. In England, the IRM has been
considering fostering applications since 2009 and in Wales, since 2010. As yet, there aren’t any corresponding bodies in Scotland or Northern Ireland.

For more information about the IRM, read this article here.

Young people in custody

Young people in custody in England and Wales

The Home Office has updated information on the rights and entitlements for young people under 18-years-old who have been detained in custody. The leaflet details: what will happen when you arrive at the police station; things the police may do, such as measuring your height and scanning your fingerprints; the interview; your rights and entitlements to legal aid.

For further information, please click here.