​Parent and Carer Guidance

Parents and carers are the focus of this year’s Play Safe campaign. Its aim is to ensure everyone understands the part they can play to safeguard children throughout football in England. 

As far as parents and carers are concerned, our current goal is to emphasise the valued and vital safeguarding role every parent/carer plays in football. We’ve also developed a free, short online safeguarding awareness course we’re encouraging all parents/carers to take. You’ll find it here.

We have also recently filmed an incredibly open and frank conversation from three survivors of child sexual abuse in football, which you can see here.

Jamie, Gary and Ellie share a difficult conversation of their own experiences and memories from a horrific time in their lives in the hope that it paves the way for a more open conversations in football to help prevent abuse.

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 FAs, 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:



Clair Shield

Designated Safeguarding Officer

01642 717770

What if I have a concern?


A child or young person may inform you directly that he or she is concerned about someone’s behaviour towards them or you may become aware, through your own observations or through a third party, of possible abuse occurring.

There are five ways to report a concern:

- To the Club Welfare Officer – please find out from the club who these people are

- To the County FA Designated Safeguarding Officer on

- By emailing The FA Safeguarding Team at or by calling and asking for the team on 0800 169 1863.

- If urgent and you cannot contact the club, league or County FA Designated Safeguarding Officer, you should call the NSPCC on 020 7825 2505 (Mon to Fri 9am–5pm) or anytime online

- If it is an emergency because a child or children are at immediate risk, then call the Police (999) or Children’s Social Care in your area.

Any adult or young person with concerns about a colleague’s conduct towards a child or young person can also use whistle-blowing by calling 0800 169 1863 and asking for The FA’s safeguarding team, or via email to