Child Protection Policy
The Children (N.I) Order 1995, taking into consideration the five main principles of the Order, the first being “the welfare of the child is paramount”.
Staff members in the nursery believe that the child’s needs are paramount. They strive to provide a warm and caring environment where the children can develop at their own rate in a safe and stimulating way. The aim of the child protection policy is to protect the children by ensuring that everyone in the nursery - Staff and students, have clear guidance on the detection and inter agency management of situations where Physical abuse, Neglect, Sexual Abuse, Bullying and Emotional Abuse of a child is suspected. The overriding concern of all caring adults must be the care, welfare and safety of the child.It is the duty of all persons to voice any concerns which may prevent continued or subsequent abuse of children.
Article 19 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) states that: “children have the right to be protected from being hurt and mistreated either in body or mind.”
Statement of intent:
In Trinity Park we are committed to creating a safe environment for children which is free from abuse and where any suspicion of abuse is dealt with promptly and appropriately. We will comply with Health and Social Service Guidelines on Child Protection and will appoint designated persons to deal with Child Protection issues in our setting
In accordance with the trust Guidelines, Our Duty to Care, and Getting It Right, we will endeavor to safeguard children by:
Excluding known abusers.
To achieve this, we will ensure:
- Pre-employment interviews and take up two references.
- Police checks and vetting is carried out, and reference is made to legislation, Children (NI) Order 1995 – Access NI.
- New staff will be employed in line with employment rights (N.I order 1996).
- At least two references are taken up for all adults prior to employment or voluntary work, (one of the references will be from the last employer).
- All appointments will be subject to satisfactory vetting procedures by social services.
- All appointments will be subject to a probationary period, which should be reviewed within three months of taking up the post.
Preventing abuse by means of good practice.
To achieve this, we will: adhere to areas referred to by the “Area Child Protection Committee.” And adhere to the following:
- Ensure that a staff code of conduct as recommended in our duty to care, and getting it right, is drawn up (see last page of Child Protection Policy)
- Ensure that staff and volunteers receive clear instructions on tasks and limits that apply to them as new comers during the induction process.
- Ensure that all staff / volunteers attend training and regular refresher courses on: Child Protection.
- Ensure appropriate adult /child ratios will always be maintained.
- Ensure that the layout of the room will permit constant supervision of all children. Staff will be aware that they are responsible for their own actions and behaviour, avoiding any conduct which would lead to questions regarding their motivation and intentions.
- Activities to develop children’s self-esteem regarding self-protection will be provided.
- Ensure all staff are aware that children have a right to be treated with respect and dignity, and that no form of degrading or humiliating behaviour should be used to punish a child, the use of sarcasm, demeaning or insensitive comments towards children is not acceptable in any situation.
- Staff will be trained in how to keep records and what to do about concerns about possible abuse or neglect.
Responding appropriately to suspicions of abuse.
We will do this by:
- Informing the Designated Child Protection Officer (Karen Dawson) or the Deputy Designated Child Protection Officer.
- Using appropriate strategies to support children who make a disclosure of abuse, staff will not question the children unnecessarily.
- Discussing with the Parents/Carers a concern that may have arisen about a child. However parental permission will be bypassed if we feel that a child is at risk from significant harm, and by talking to the parent/carers it may be detrimental to the child’s wellbeing and prejudice the prevention, detection and prosecution of a serious crime. Further advice would then be sought from the appropriate agency. All information will be kept confidential and only shared on a need to know basis.
- Observing children on an ongoing basis, noting any significant changes in the child’s manner that may give cause for concern and record this information.
- Keeping the appropriate records in accordance with confidentiality guidelines and the Data Protection Act and the Public Interest Disclosure Order.
- Storing records until the child’s 21st birthday due to the possibility of legal action.
We will do this by:
- Sharing our concerns with those agencies on a need to know basis, i.e. Early Years Social worker.
- Involving parents and children appropriately as recommended by “Getting it Right.”
Supporting the staff.
Dealing with and reporting abuse can be a distressing experience for staff and volunteers.
Where and when required help and support will be given from the proprietor/management and any other relevant bodies.
Dealing with a Child’s Disclosure
- If a child does make a disclosure, then the staff member should remain calm and reassure the child.
- All children who make a disclosure will be listened to and the disclosure will be taken seriously.
- Disclosures will be factually recorded, giving precise details of what the child has said and in turn what the adult has said to the child, giving details of what has been said or what has taken place prior to the disclosure. A record sheet must be completed as soon as possible after the disclosure has been made, as all the information will be fresh in the staff members mind. This information will be stored in a locked drawer.
- The designated child protection officer will be informed as soon as possible, and appropriate action will then be taken. Consideration must be given as to whether it is safe for the child to return home or not. If the designated child protection officer feels it is unsafe to let the child go then the local Gateway Team (social services) will be informed. However, if it is felt that the child is not at risk of significant harm the designated officer will discuss concerns with the parents/carers and then make the judgement whether to make a referral depending on the outcome of the discussion.
The referral processes
If there is a concern about a child the Designated Child Protection Officer will investigate the concern, they will then consult/enquire with the parent or carer and based on the outcome of this consultation/enquiry they may make a formal referral to the Central Gateway Team. Within 24 hours of a formal referral being made, the child will be seen by a social worker and an investigation and initial assessment will be carried out. If further action is required a case conference will be held within 15 days of the referral being made and a Child Protection Plan will be put in place.
The Designated Child Protection Officer in Trinity Park is Mrs. Karen Dawson, should Karen not be available to speak to, the Deputy Designated officers are as follows: Lauren Dawson or Andrea McCardle
If concerns are raised, then the steps listed above will be taken. However, there are other means of reporting suspicions of abuse, they are as follows:
- Early Years Social Services Team – Our Early Years Link Social Worker is Mrs. Aine Faloon
- Gateway Team 028 3834 3011 or Freephone Telephone Number 0800 7837745, (please note this number is free from landlines only).
- Regional Emergency Social Work Services – 02895049999
Allegations against staff:
All staff will have the appropriate vetting checks carried out before commencing employment, they will be treated fairly and with respect. Allegations against staff may occur because they have behaved in a way which has harmed a child or may harm a child, have committed a criminal offence against a child or children, behave towards children inappropriately deeming them unsuitable to work with children. In any of these instances:
- Should a parent/carer, child or staff member have any concerns regarding the conduct of an employee in the Pre-School then procedures will be followed as per our whistle blowing policy
- Where there are concerns that a child has been put in danger of abuse or has suffered abuse owing to the actions of a member of staff the police will be contacted, and the member of staff may be suspended to facilitate an investigation. Gross misconduct procedures may be implemented depending on the findings.Accurate and detailed records will be kept in a locked drawer.
- A detailed report on the allegation, how it was followed up, what decisions were made following any investigation and what action was taken will be recorded and securely stored. A copy of this report will be given to the staff member for his/her own records.
- If an allegation against a staff member is proven to be false, the staff member will be informed formally both orally and in writing of the allegation and that it has been proven to be without foundation. They will also be informed that there is to be no further action taken and they will be offered support as necessary.