Better lives,through better choices.

Safety First

How can I make sure that case planning and clinical decision-making promote the safety of the child first?

  • Determining the safety of ALL the children involved is the first priority.  When the problematic sexual behaviors involved another child or children in the home, the emotional impact on the siblings or children in the home must be examined. 
  • When the problematic sexual behavior occurred outside the home and involved extended family members, neighbors, or family friends this safety assessment is broader.  The impact on those living with the youth, or those who may ordinarily visit with the youth, must be considered. 

 What about the safety of siblings?

  • Siblings or other children who were the focus of the problematic sexual behaviors can have a variety of reactions. 
  • Some children may have ongoing anxiety, including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and considerable difficulty residing with the youth due to fear of continued problematic sexual behavior.  When separation is necessary, the appropriateness, timing, and process of beginning visitation and reunification requires thoughtful consideration. (See: Visitation and Reunification). (Coming Soon)
  • Safety of siblings who were not involved in the problematic sexual behavior must also be considered in the planning process.

 What do I need to know about safety planning?

Safety planning begins at the time of referral. Strategies to facilitate safety often require maintaining close, visual supervision at all times. Safety strategies include creative ways to use technology, strategic placement of furniture, and changes in daily routines that increase safety and enhance the likelihood of successful implementation of recommendations. (See: Intervention & Facilitating Safety). (Coming Soon)

 What happens when youth are not safe to remain in the home?

  • Youth with siblings in the home may be initially placed with another family member or friend until safety can be assessed adequately and appropriate interventions begin. 
  • It is preferable to remove the youth with problematic sexual behavior from the home, rather than the other children. 
  • When out-of-home placement is considered necessary, less restrictive alternatives should be considered first (See: Level of Care & Placement Decisions). (Coming Soon)
  • If the placement outside the home is in the community (such as, in a relative or foster care home), it is important that the new caregivers be provided with background information regarding the problematic sexual behaviors, supervision needs, and safety plan before placement. 
  • While placed outside of the home, continuous assessment of the youth is essential to determine when they can return to the community and for facilitating positive and safe outcomes.

Clinical Decision-Making