Providing Personalised Care


The Quality and Purpose of Care Standard


Children’s homes must provide personalised care that meets each child’s needs and takes account of their background.


This guidance was updated in August 2017 to include information on the role of residential care workers in supporting young people who are experiencing gender identity issues (see Section 3.2, Gender).


  1. Personalising Care for Children and Young People
  2. Inclusion for Children and Young People
  3. Promoting Diversity and Positive Identity when Caring for Children and Young People

1. Personalising Care for Children and Young People

Homes are required to provide personalised care to meet the needs of individual children. A child’s needs will be identified in their Care Plan, Education, Health and Care Plan (if they have one) and any other plan prepared by the placing authority.

Personalised care is defined as:

Care which meets each child’s needs and promotes their welfare, taking into account the child’s gender, religion, ethnicity, cultural and linguistic background, sexual identity, mental health, any disability, their assessed needs, previous experiences and any relevant plans.

The child’s plan will form the basis of all care provided by the home. The child’s plan must take account of all available information in relation to gender, ethnic origin, religion, cultural and linguistic background, sexual identity, mental health and disability; these issues should be considered again each time the child’s Care Plan is reviewed.

2. Inclusion for Children and Young People

Homes should be welcoming to all children and young people and others significant to their care and wellbeing. Care and support provided should recognise and build on the strengths of individual children and young people. Maintaining links with the child's home and community is an important part of meeting individual need.

All staff working in residential care homes should complete Equality and Diversity training and are expected to challenge attitudes, behaviour and language that are non-inclusive and discriminatory.

Home's managers should identify local community resources that can contribute to meeting the needs of individual children and young people, for example hairdressers who specialise in braiding or cutting African Caribbean hair.

Home's managers should also look for ways in which diversity can be promoted in the home, for example through food preparation and menu choices.

Managers will monitor the range of children and young people placed within the home in terms of ethnicity, gender and disability.

3. Promoting Diversity and Positive Identity when Caring for Children and Young People

Ethnic origin, language, faith / religion, gender, sexuality and culture are important to the developing identity of all children and young people.

3.1 Ethnicity

Homes can take practical steps to ensure that they provide care which supports the ethnic, cultural, religious and language needs of children. These include the need for multicultural resources, reading and display materials (e.g. pictures) in order to:

  • Provide an environment in which all children feel comfortable;
  • Promote positive black and minority ethnic images and role models;
  • Provide visual illustrations which promote discussion of issues of difference, ethnicity, culture, religion and language;
  • Assist in discussion of issues concerning identity.

Homes can display materials such as wall charts with a translation of words like "hello" into other languages, posters with black and minority ethnic children as well as white children featured in them, a calendar of religious festivals, black and minority ethnic books and other ethnic play materials. Wherever possible, books used in direct work should include black and minority as well as white characters.

Assessments and on-going work with children should explore their natural and extended family, their ethnic and cultural origins, any experience of racism and the role of religion in their lives. The child’s view of his/her own identity and any identity confusion should also be explored.

Choice of diet - When children are placed in homes having access to familiar food assists with continuity and will demonstrate that their culture and religion are valued. Homes should discuss with the child and the parent what food they like and are familiar with and find ways of accommodating the child's preferences.

Issues around differences in food can be used to promote discussion within a group of young people about living in a multicultural society.

Choice of clothing and toiletries for skin and hair care - Children should be provided with the opportunity to buy clothes appropriate to their cultural backgrounds.

A range of toiletries should be purchased which meet the needs of black and minority ethnic children. For example, African and Caribbean children may need specialist hair products.

3.2 Gender

Girls, boys and transgender young people living in children’s homes should be treated equally and encouraged to pursue their talents, interests and hobbies. Sexist stereotypes of behaviour must not be imposed or condoned. These principles will be achieved by:

  1. A wide range of activities being offered to both sexes and attempts being made to overcome peer group pressure, if it prevents a child pursuing his or her interests;
  2. Having equal expectations that boys and girls will participate in domestic tasks;
  3. Providing information and sex education advice to all young people, regardless of gender or sexual orientation. All young people have a right to information and counselling around sexual health issues, including pregnancy, Infections and Blood Borne Viruses;
  4. Encouraging staff and carers to model behaviour to children that demonstrates that there are no specifically male and female roles. Whilst individual members of staff or carers will have different talents, interest and skills, the imposition or toleration of sexually stereotyped roles is not acceptable;
  5. The resources and physical environment of the home should promote positive and varied images of girls and boys. The display or circulation of sexist or pornographic material, either by adults or young people, is totally unacceptable.

Young people who are experiencing gender identity issues should, in general, be given space and support to develop their own gender identity, However it is important that they are protected from adverse effects such as bullying and discrimination.

In particular staff may need to support young people with the following:

  • How to respond to young people sharing their issues;
  • Recording a change of name and gender;
  • Bullying;
  • Inclusion in sport; and
  • Access to toilets.

Children and young people experiencing gender identity issues may be subject to prejudice, discrimination and misunderstanding, all of which can have a detrimental effect upon quality of life, and physical and emotional well being. If staff have any concerns about the emotional well being of young people living the home, specialist support should be sought.

3.3 Sexuality

Where children in the home are lesbian or gay or unsure of their sexual identity they should expect acceptance and understanding from staff in relation to their sexual identity.

Counselling should be made available as required to young people who may identify as gay or lesbian or are questioning their sexuality to help them with their uncertainties or feelings.

3.4 Children with Disabilities and Long Term Health Conditions

Under the Disability Discrimination Act, the care setting must make reasonable adjustments to ensure children with a disability are not placed at a substantial disadvantage to their peers. This may include providing additional staffing and accessible transport or ensuring the venue is appropriate to the needs of the child concerned. Design features that make it difficult for people with a disability should be avoided, and reasonable adjustments made to improve the environment for children, young people and visitors with disabilities.

Staff working in children’s’ homes’ should minimise barriers for children and young people who have physical or mental impairments or long-term health conditions. Children and young people with additional needs should be included in day trips and activities.