Parent and Carer Guidance
The FA is launching Play Safe (20/21 November 2021) – a national campaign to focus attention on the vital importance of safeguarding in football. Play Safe is officially supported by the NSPCC and will run on a designated weekend every season from now on.
We would encourage you to take a moment to watch our Play Safe film for parents/carers and listen to what some of our England players have to say about what to do if a child feels unsafe or worried.
Play Safe aims to ensure everyone understands the part they can play to safeguard children throughout football.
We are also encouraging parents/carers with a child in football to:-
Ensure you know who your child’s coach/manager is, how they will communicate with you, how you can contact them and how to get feedback on your child - ask if they are FA DBS checked and safeguarding trained
Put the NSPCC Helpline and CWO name and contact details in your phone/notebook - ensure you and your child understand the CWOs role
Be clear about acceptable and unacceptable behaviour at your child’s club - sign up and adhere to their codes of conduct
Ask your child what they enjoy about playing - and remember this when supporting them!
Agree with your child how you will support/check-in to see how they are doing
Ensure your child understands their rights - find out more
Ensure you and your child know how to report a concern - find out more
Encourage your child to speak to you about anything that worries them, no matter how big or small
What you can expect and how to play your part in safeguarding your child.
Everyone involved in football has a part to play to ensure children can play in a safe and enjoyable environment. County FA's, club committees, designated safeguarding officers, coaches, medics, referees and parents/carers – all are key to ensuring football has effective safeguards in place.
What can parents expect?
All affiliated clubs must have a Safeguarding Children Policy and a Club Welfare Officer (CWO) who has been DBS-checked and safeguarding-trained. The Chairperson, Secretary, Treasurer and CWO must have completed our free ‘Safeguarding for Committee Members’ course. All coaches must be named against the team they're involved with on our system, must be DBS-checked and safeguarding-trained.
What can parents do?
Firstly, it’s important to know who’s helping your child play football, understanding what’s expected of your child and in turn how you and their coaches are expected to behave. A well-run club will be happy to share how they organise things, so go ahead and ask, check out the club’s website and social media pages (if they have them) as these will also give you some insights to the club.
You might be offered parent/carer and or player ‘welcome packs’, player ‘taster sessions’ and pre-season parent/care meetings. All are helpful in getting to know exactly what’s on offer.
As a guide, here are the questions you should ask before you register your child with a club:
What if I have a safeguarding concern?
If you're worried about a child, it’s vital you report your concerns. There are five ways to do this:
- To your club or league Designated Safeguarding Officer (usually referred to as the club welfare officer in grassroots football);
- To your County FA Designated Safeguarding Officer. Here's a list of all County FA contact details;
- By emailing our Safeguarding Team at safeguarding@TheFA.com
- If urgent and you cannot contact your club, league or County FA Designated Safeguarding Officer, you can contact the NSPCC Helpline for expert advice and support on 0808 800 5000 or firstname.lastname@example.org;
- If it's an emergency because a child or children are at immediate risk, then call the Police or Children’s Social Care in your area.
If you’d like to find out more about what happens when you report a concern or to access The FA Referral Form please visit Section 2 and refer to our Guidance Notes 2.1: How to Report Safeguarding Concerns and Guidance Notes 2.2: Safeguarding Referral Form – Affiliated Football.
You have a right and a responsibility to ensure that your children are safe at all times.
The FA is committed to:
- Implementing preventative safeguarding measures (including DBS Checks and safeguarding training)
- Making the reporting of concerns as easy as possible (via a network of club welfare officers)
- Ensuring safeguarding concerns are investigated swiftly and thoroughly, working with statutory agencies (via football’s network of Designated Safeguarding Officers and The FA’s Case Management Team)
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