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 Creating A Safety Plan

“A Safety Plan” is defined as an organized set of guidelines used to supervise and structure space and time, due to the behaviour of your child in that space.  It is used to work with and for the safety of the child that is acting out as well as for the other people in the space, including pets and property.  A safety plan may be needed in a variety of settings including school and home.

If you are concerned about any safety issues with your child you should consider creating a safety plan with the appropriate professionals as well as with the child’s involvement if possible.  It is a good idea to have the child agree with the plan.  There is no right or wrong way to create a plan and each child’s needs are unique.

How Do You Know If You Need A Safety Plan?

1. Sexual Acting Out

  • The child is openly masturbating in public areas or in family areas of the home.
  • The child is acting out with the family pet
  • The child is acting out with dolls, stuffed animals or other toys
  • The child is acting out with other children in the school, neighborhood or family. This may include sexualized talk or touch that is inappropriate.

2. Anger Problems

  • The child is verbally abusive to staff, students or family members
  • The child is physically abusive to staff, students or family members or pets.
  • The child destroys property when angry which can result in harming others.

3. Escape Artist

  • The child gets up in the middle of the night to eat or explore or sleep walks.
  • The child leaves school, activities or the house when someone isn’t looking or when angry, anxious, etc.

4. Fire Starter

  • The child has a history of, or is known to have a fascination with fire.

How to Create a Safety Plan

  1. Define the issue or problem. Be clear and precise.
  2. Be clear about who needs to be protected – the child, other children, teaching staff, property.
  3. Try to pinpoint when the behaviour occurs if it is predictable. Is it when the child is left unsupervised, when they are anxious, before tests or when told no.
  4. Determine who needs to be involved with the plan and who it should be shared with.
  5. Set a time limit for the safety plan re: how long you will use it, how often it will be re-assessed and what change in behaviour you are looking for, if any.
  6. What happens if the safety plan fails – do you have a list of crisis numbers to call and are you prepared to call the proper authorities if needed – i.e. – police, case workers, etc.
  7. Re-evaluate the plan and decide if it was a success, what worked, what didn’t, what can be changed and what did we leave out. With educational safety plans they may need to be modified frequently.

We recommend that you attach the personal health information to the safety plan so that all data is quickly available. (printable sample link here)