Background

  • We believe that all adults connected with the Project have the same responsibility to ensure the well-being and safety of the children, as well as those adults who may have more regular and frequent contact with them.
  • If, by proxy, we hear from other adults they have concerns about a child, we would urge them to follow their own safeguarding policy if in a work place or assist them if a parent/carer.
  • In the following policy, the reference to “worker” refers to any ECP worker, volunteer, student placement or Executive Committee member or Trustee.

Objective

  • To ensure that workers of the Early Childhood Project maintain vigilance to enable them to spot signs or symptoms associated with child abuse and neglect and inform the relevant authorities.
  • The Early Childhood Project is committed to best practice guidelines and full co-operation between agencies and workers.
  • All involved with the Project will work together to achieve a safe environment for children, parents/carers and workers.
  • The well-being and safety of children is crucially important and workers have a duty to protect children from harm wherever possible.
  • All children will be treated with respect, dignity and sensitivity.
  • In any conflict between the needs of the child and those of the parent/ carer, the needs of the child will be first.

Procedure

  • Workers (see list above) should be aware of a change in a child’s behaviour or appearance and react accordingly.
  • Children will be listened to carefully and sympathetically and her or his word will be taken very seriously.
  • Workers must record everything that has been noticed and any decisions/actions taken.
  • Everything that has been said by the child must be recorded exactly.
  • Children must not feel as if they are being interviewed.
  • All information must be kept confidentially.

Safe Employment Procedures

  1. All workers (paid or unpaid) will be subject to DBS checks.
  2. All workers will provide references that will be taken up and work for a probationary period.
  3. Anyone not yet checked will not be alone with a child, supervise children in a separate room or undertake toilet/nappy changing duties.
  4. All adults will be given on-going and up to date Safeguarding Children training.
  5. All workers will attend a two-day Protective Behaviours course and incorporate Protective Behaviours into their work.

Procedures for dealing with suspected abuse or neglect

It is not the role of any ECP workers, volunteers or members of the Executive Committee to investigate allegations of abuse, neglect or suspicions of harm.

  1. Whatever is said or discussed between ECP workers/volunteers/student placements, parents/carers and other agencies/professionals must be in strict confidence.
  2. Parents/carers should always be involved in the monitoring of their children’s behaviour or development and should always be the first point of contact with the Project worker giving them the opportunity to discuss any worries they may have.
  3. If an allegation has been made, the worker will make a verbatim written record and stating what was seen including as much detail as possible.

Child Protection concerns flow chart

  1. Concerns noted by ECP worker/volunteer
  2. Concerns discussed with parent/carer unless it is assessed as placing the child at further risk
  3. Concerns discussed immediately with ECP Co-ordinator who will contact the safeguarding lead at “host” group’s children’s centre to report the issue. The outreach worker will, however, make immediate contact with the Safeguarding lead at the children’s centre or MASH direct if crucial and timely.
  4. After the event, the ECP worker will seek support from her/his Trustee supporter/mentor who will, confidentially and by agreement, inform the wider Executive group if deemed necessary
  5. This flow chart will be reviewed periodically to keep contacts and procedures up to date.

Worker Protection

  • When working in any childcare setting, workers are in a vulnerable position. One’s behaviour has to be professional at all times and open to scrutiny. There are steps that can be taken to prevent being unjustly accused of abuse: Record keeping is kept up to date.
  • If an accident has occurred, ensure that it is recorded and that another worker witnesses this and that the parent/carer is informed.
  • Suspicions or concerns about any child or colleague are reported to the ECP Co-ordinator and a written record is kept.
  • Worries are discussed within supervision and included in the confidential monthly worker reports to the Trustees.
  • Workers should belong to a union or professional association or support group
  • Co-workers and the child’s parent/carer are informed of any incidents, accidents or events that have occurred during the session/day.
  • Ensure that children are at all times well supervised and not left in the care of unauthorised people.
  • Appropriate behaviour and language is used in front of the children at all times.
  • Inappropriate touches from children should be reported at once, as well as other incidents that make you feel uncomfortable.

The Early Childhood Project has a responsibility to

  • Keep its workers up to date with changes in appropriate legislation and information
  • Keep in line with partner agency’s safeguarding policies and procedures when operating away from the ECP base.
  • Offer training in safeguarding issues as needed
  • Offer Protective Behaviours training as needed
  • Co-operate fully and supportively if the Project’s workers have concerns over another worker’s practice
  • Review this policy annually or when required by funders or a change in legislation and up date this policy as needed.

Last updated June 2015