Behaviour Code for Adults Working with Children

Our Approach

We strongly believe that all young people should be given unconditional positive regard, meaning that we offer a safe space for young people to try, to fail, to work things out for themselves, and to know that they are going to feel supported.

This approach is underpinned by our understanding of how the adolescent brain affects young people, and of how trauma can impact people’s behaviour.

Our approach to trauma is informed by…

It is vitally important to take time to listen to the people we work with, understand what lies behind the behaviours they present with, and avoid jumping to conclusions, making assumptions or offer solutions. To work in an adversity and trauma-informed way, is to
be sensitive to the wider context of the person’s life, and how this
 impacts them, and any support you might be able to give them.”
Young Minds, Adversity and Trauma-Informed Practice, 2019

Our approach to the Teenage Brain is summed up by author and neuroscientist, Dean Burnett:

Your teenage brain is constantly maturing, but not every part matures at the same rate. Those that produce emotional responses mature quickly, so they are operating at peak performance for much of your teens. But the more logical parts of your brain that keep your emotions under control? They aren’t fully ready until your mid-20s. The result is that teens have far more powerful emotional reactions, that require extra effort to keep under control. That’s why you are prone to emotional outbursts, and why you get so passionate about stuff that baffles your parents. But your brain learns how to deal with powerful emotions by experiencing them. Suppressing your emotions at such a key developmental time can lead to emotional dysfunction later in life.”
Dean Burnett, The Guardian, 2019

This behaviour code outlines the conduct Make (Good) Trouble expects from all our staff and volunteers. This includes contractors, interns, students on work placement and anyone who is undertaking duties for the organisation, whether paid or unpaid. 

The behaviour code aims to help us protect children and young people from abuse and reduce the possibility of unfounded allegations being made. It has been informed by the views of children and young people. 

Make (Good) Trouble is responsible for making sure everyone taking part in our services has seen, understood, and agreed to follow the code of behaviour, and that they understand the consequences of inappropriate behaviour. 

The role of staff, contractors, and volunteers 

In your role at Make (Good) Trouble you are acting in a position of authority and have a duty of care towards the children and young people we work with. You are likely to be seen as a role model and are expected to act appropriately. 

Responsibility 

You are responsible for: 

  • prioritising the welfare of children and young people 
  • providing a safe environment for children and young people 
    • ensuring equipment is used safely and for its intended purpose
    • having good awareness of issues to do with safeguarding and child protection and taking action when appropriate.
  • following our principles, policies and procedures, which can be found here: Make (Good) Trouble Policies
  • staying within the law at all times 
  • modelling good behaviour for children and young people to follow 
  • challenging all unacceptable behaviour and reporting any breaches of the behaviour code to a Safeguarding Lead: Tayler Cresswell or Jane Keating
  • reporting all concerns about abusive behaviour, following our safeguarding procedures
    • this includes behaviour being displayed by an adult or child and directed at anybody of any age. 

Rights 

You should: 

  • treat children and young people fairly and without prejudice or discrimination 
  • understand that children and young people are individuals with individual needs 
  • respect differences in gender, sexual orientation, culture, race, ethnicity, disability and religious belief systems, and appreciate that all participants bring something valuable and different to the group and organisation 
  • challenge discrimination and prejudice 
  • encourage young people and adults to speak out about attitudes or behaviour that makes them uncomfortable. 

Relationships 

You should: 

  • promote relationships that are based on openness, honesty, trust, and respect 
  • avoid favouritism 
  • be patient with others 
  • exercise caution when you are discussing sensitive issues with children or young people 
  • ensure your contact with children and young people is appropriate and relevant to the work of the project you are involved in 
  • ensure that whenever possible, there is more than one adult present during activities with children and young people 
    • if a situation arises where you are alone with a child or young person, ensure that you are within sight or hearing of other adults.
    • If a child specifically asks for or needs some individual time with you, ensure other staff or volunteers know where you and the child are
  • only provide personal care in an emergency and make sure there is more than one adult present if possible
    • unless it has been agreed that the provision of personal care is part of your role and you have been trained to do this safely. 

Respect 

You should: 

  • listen to and respect children at all times 
  • value and take children’s contributions seriously, actively involving them in planning activities wherever possible 
  • respect a young person’s right to personal privacy as far as possible. 
    • if you need to break confidentiality in order to follow safeguarding procedures, it is important to explain this to the child or young person at the earliest opportunity. 

Unacceptable behaviour 

When working with children and young people, you must not: 

  • allow concerns or allegations to go unreported 
  • take unnecessary risks 
  • smoke, consume alcohol or use illegal substances 
  • develop inappropriate relationships with children and young people 
  • make inappropriate promises to children and young people 
  • engage in behaviour that is in any way abusive 
    • including having any form of sexual contact with a child or young person.
  • let children and young people have your personal contact details (mobile number, email, or postal address)
  • act in a way that can be perceived as threatening or intrusive 
  • patronise or belittle children and young people 
  • make sarcastic, insensitive, derogatory, or sexually suggestive comments or gestures to or in front of children and young people. 

Upholding this code of behaviour 

You should always follow this code of behaviour and never rely on your reputation or that of our organisation to protect you. 

If you have behaved inappropriately, you will be subject to our disciplinary procedures. Depending on the seriousness of the situation, you may be asked to leave Make (Good) Trouble. We may also make a report to statutory agencies such as the police and/or the local authority child protection services. 

If you become aware of any breaches of this code, you must report them to a Safeguarding Lead: Tayler Cresswell or Jane Keating. If necessary, you should follow our safeguarding procedures. 

This policy was last reviewed: July 2021
It will next be reviewed: July 2022