Guidance for Staff on Risk Taking with Young People


  1. Introduction
  2. Physical Risk Taking
  3. Emotional / Intellectual Risk Taking

1. Introduction

Although the phrase "risk taking" can cause many adults to feel anxious, for most children and young people it is part of a natural progression of learning. Through direct experiences they learn how to deal with risk as a natural part of their learning processes. Children need to know how to balance risks and they do this through gaining knowledge and experiencing risk situations.

All children and young people will be encouraged to take part in activities which allow them to explore their environment and build up their skills and confidence, helping them to cope with the "real world". Some of these skills will be developed through taking on challenges and risks within normal situations.

2. Physical Risk Taking

There needs to be a balance between supervised and unsupervised activities which children and young people participate in:

  • Where there are concerns about dangerous behaviour or activities these will be considered in consultation with senior colleagues or / and in supervision.
  • Where it is seen as necessary a risk assessment will be undertaken on the activity and the child and the group of young people who may also be participating in the activity
  • Some activities are immediately seen as risky or even hazardous to the child involved and where this happens staff must undertake a full risk assessment.

3. Emotional / Intellectual Risk Taking

Although risk is often associated with promoting physical activities for children outside of the Home, there are other activities which also have a high risk element attached to them. It is important to recognise that some less energetic leisure activities may also have a risk element attached to them.

The Home Manager may have to act as censor on entertainment products that are readily available to young people including checking that the material children are watching or using is age appropriate.

The Home Manager will make sure that young people do not have access to over 18 films', DVD's or computer games.

No form of pornographic material will be allowed in the Home; including calendars, posters and magazines which are explicit in their content.

It is the Home Manager's responsibility to consider which newspapers and magazines will be allowed in the Home for young people to read.

It is important to acknowledge that young people will take risks in their choices of viewing and listening materials and resources.

Staff and the Home Manager must recognise the need to keep within the legal guidelines regarding films, games and music that may be unsuitable for young people.

Children must only have access to age appropriate entertainment materials.

Children's Homes will not have over 18 films, DVD's or computer games in the building.

Where young people are given over 18 games or films as presents from their family, the family must be discouraged from giving such entertainment items to the young person. These must not be used by the young person and should be returned to their family or kept in a safe place.

Where films are displayed in the Home, often on a book shelf, these must all be "U" category and not include any film that is a "PG" category. This is because they could be easily accessible to younger children.

Staff must make sure that all computer games used by the young person are age appropriate i.e. not "PG" or "18" and that none of the games young people are using are intended for adults.