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Safeguarding Children Policy

The Children Act 2004 and Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015 define safeguarding and promoting children and young people’s welfare as:

  • Protecting children from maltreatment
  • Preventing impairment of children’s health or development
  • Ensuring that children are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care, and
  • Taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes.

Child protection is the activity undertaken to protect specific children who are suffering, or are likely to suffer, significant harm.

Safeguarding action may be needed to protect children (and parents) from:

  • Neglect
  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Emotional abuse
  • Bullying, including online bullying and prejudice-based bullying
  • Racist, disability and homophobic or transphobic abuse
  • Gender-based violence/violence against women and girls
  • Radicalisation and/or extremist behaviour
  • Child sexual exploitation (CSE) and trafficking - CSE is illegal activity by people who have some form of power and control over children and use it to sexually abuse them. It involves forcing or enticing a child (under the age of 18) to take part in sexual activities whether or not the child is aware of what is happening, including exploitative situations, contexts and relationships where children (or a third person or persons) receive ‘something' (e.g. food, accommodation, drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, affection, gifts, money) as a result of performing, and/or others performing on them, sexual activities. CSE can be a form of organised or complex abuse, involving a number of abusers and/or a number of children.
  • CSE can occur through use of technology without the child's immediate recognition, for example the persuasion to post sexual images on the internet/mobile phones with no immediate payment or gain. In all cases those exploiting the child/young person have power over them by virtue of their age, gender, intellect, physical strength and/or economic or other resources.
  • Honour Based Abuse (HBA), including Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and Forced Marriage (FM)
  • Honour Based Abuse (HBA) is violence and abuse in the name of honour, covering a variety of behaviours (including crimes), mainly but not exclusively against females, where the person is being punished by their family and/or community for a perceived transgression against the ‘honour’ of the family or community, or is required to undergo certain activities or procedures in ‘honour’ of the family.
  • Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a collective term for illegal procedures which include the removal of part/all external female genitalia for cultural or other non-therapeutic reasons. The practice is not required by any religion. It is painful, medically unnecessary and has serious health consequences at the time it is carried out and in later life. The procedure is typically performed on girls of any age, but is also performed on new born girls and on young women before marriage/pregnancy. A number of girls die as a direct result of the procedure, from blood loss or infection. FGM may be practised illegally by doctors or traditional health workers in the UK, or girls may be taken abroad for the operation.
  • A Forced Marriage (FM) “is a marriage conducted without the valid consent of both parties, where duress is a factor” (’A Choice by Right’ HM Government 2000).
  • The impact of new technologies on sexual behaviour, for example, sexting
  • Teenage relationship abuse
  • Substance misuse
  • Issues that may be specific to a local area or population, for example gang activity and youth violence
  • Domestic violence
  • Fabricated or induced illness
  • Poor parenting, particularly in relation to babies and young children
  • Other issues not listed here but that pose a risk to children, young people and vulnerable adults.

My first responsibility and priority is towards the children in my care as I am the lead safeguarding practitioner for my setting. I will follow the steps contained in the ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children April 2018’ guidance, ‘What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused – Advice for Practitioners March 2015’ document and the ‘Southend, Essex and Thurrock (SET) Safeguarding and Child Protection Procedures 2018’.  I will refer to the LSCB website www.safeguardingsouthend.co.uk for up to date information for professionals and families.

I am aware of the additional barriers that exist when recognizing signs of abuse and neglect of children who have special educational needs and/or disabilities or medical conditions and will ensure their needs are met.  If I have any cause for concern, I will report it to the MASH+ Team, following the Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) procedures. The relevant local procedures that are held by me are available on request. I understand that child abuse can be in the form of any of the above bullet points or a mixture of these. I must notify Ofsted of any allegations of abuse, which are alleged to have taken place while the child is in my care.

I keep up to date with child protection issues and relevant legislation by taking regular training courses and by reading relevant publications such as ‘The Childcare Professional’. I also subscribe to www.SafeguardingChildrenea.co.uk’s monthly newsletter. This helps me be aware of the signs of abuse or neglect and what to do if I have a concern.  Safeguarding training will be updated every 3 years or when required.

I have copies of, and am familiar with, the LSCB procedures. I have a copy of the relevant booklets and guidance. I have read them and understand them.

If I am concerned about a child’s welfare, I will contact the Local Authority’s MASH+ Team, the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years (PACEY), or other relevant support services for advice. Confidentiality will be assured only when it is clear that there is no risk of harm to a child. I follow the procedures outlined in my Confidentiality Policy. I aim to share all information with parents but in some instances (where I am worried about a child’s wellbeing) I may have to refer concerns without discussing this with you.

If a child is in immediate danger or is at risk of harm, I will refer to MASH+ and/or the police. I will record, in writing, all concerns and discussions about a child’s welfare, the decisions made and the reasons for those decisions.

Child protection concerns that could identify a particular child are kept confidential and only shared with people who need to know this information.

Parents must notify me of any concerns they have about their child and any pre-existing injuries to the child. These will be recorded and signed by the parents either in the incident part of my Accident, Incident and Medication book or in my Bumps and Bruises book.

I work together with parents to make sure the care of their child is consistent. Please see my Working in Partnership with Parents policy.

If I notice:

  • significant changes in children’s behaviour
  • deterioration in children’s general wellbeing
  • unexplained bruising, marks or signs of possible abuse or neglect
  • children or parents comments which give cause for concern including expressing extremist views
  • any reasons to suspect neglect or abuse outside the setting, for example in the child’s home, and/or
  • any comments made which give me cause for concern
  • signs of neglect, abuse or inappropriate behaviour displayed by other members of staff, or any person working with children. For example, inappropriate sexual comments, excessive one-to-one attention beyond the requirements of their usual role and responsibilities, or inappropriate sharing of images

I will implement the LSCB procedures, without delay to minimise any risk to the child. I will keep a factual record of the concern and will ask the parents for an explanation, providing it would not put the child at risk and will call the MASH+ Team.

The EYFS welfare requirements for registered childminders in England require me to let Ofsted know of any concerns that I have reported without delay.

If a child tells me that they or another child is being abused, I will:
  • show that I have heard what they are saying, and that I take their allegations seriously
  • encourage the child to talk, but I will not prompt them or ask them leading questions. I will not interrupt when a child is recalling significant events and will not make a child repeat their account
  • explain what actions I must take, in a way that is appropriate to the age and understanding of the child
  • write down what I have been told using exact words where possible
  • make a note of the date, time, place and people who were present at the discussion

I will call the MASH+ Team – 01702 215007 for advice on the day of the concern. I will follow this phone call up with an email attaching a completed EHFSA the same day to fct@southend.gcsx.gov.uk . I will record the concern and all contact with MASH+ and/or social services thereafter. The EYFS welfare requirements require me to let Ofsted know of any concerns that I have reported as soon as is reasonably practical, but in any event within 14 days of the incident.

Before calling the MASH+ Team I will record:

·       the child’s full name and address

·       the date and time of the concern/incident

·       factual details of the concern, for example bruising, what the child said, who was present

·       details of any previous concerns

·       details of any explanations from the parents

·       any action taken such as speaking to parents.

It is not my responsibility to attempt to investigate the situation myself.

If an allegation is made against me, or any member of my family, or other adults or children in my home who have had contact with minded children, I will record it and will report it to the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) and Ofsted within 24 hours following the LSCB procedures. I will follow this phone call up with a letter/email to the MASH+ Team the same day. Appropriate support will be available for any person who is the subject of allegations whilst the procedure is being investigated.

I must also ensure that no individual who is unsuitable to work with children has unsupervised access to a child in my care. I will refer to the ‘Working together to safeguard children’ 2018 document and the ‘What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused’ – Advice for Practitioners document 2015.

More information and advice can be found on the following websites if I have concerns over a child or their family. I can also seek advice from my PACEY Co-ordinator at the Local Authority.

Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre – http://www.ceop.police.uk Childnet International website – http://www.childnet.com Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) – http://www.paceuk.info/ Domestic Abuse and Violence (DAV) – https://www.gov.uk/domestic-violence-and-abuse

Honour Based Abuse, including forced marriages and female genital mutilation – http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/h_to_k/honour_based_violence_and_forced_marriage/

Google: Southend early help family support assessment

 

The use of mobile phones, cameras and any other electronic device used for recording images

I understand that mobile phones are an everyday part of life for parents and childminders and, with that in mind, I have laid out my procedure for their use:

  • I will ensure my mobile phone is fully charged and with me at all times in case of emergencies
  • I have the facility to take photographs on my mobile phone and will seek your permission to take any photographs of your child to record activities and share their progress with you.
  • Any photographs taken will be deleted after sending to you via What’s App.
  • The photographs will be used for daily diaries and observations, the photographs will then be removed from the device.
  • I will never publish any photographs of your child on any social networking sites or share with any other person without your permission
  • I do not allow children to bring their electrical devices to my setting.
  • Visitors to my setting are not permitted to use their electronic devices whilst on my premises, except in exceptional circumstances, when the devices must be used away from the children
  • I have registered with the Information Commissioners Office as a data controller in line with the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR)
  • I will always be able to justify to Ofsted the reason for taking the photographs.
  • I will always ensure children are appropriately dressed.
  • When your child leaves my setting, I will obtain permission to continue to use photos of your child in my Characteristics Of Effective Learning (COEL) file. This file never leaves my setting and is shown to prospective parents, Ofsted and PACEY.  This permission can be rescinded at any time.

No-one else will be allowed to have access to my mobile and it is protected with a password.  My mobile phone contains parent’s confidential contact telephone numbers.  I request that you do not use your mobile phone whilst dropping off and collecting your child.  Any visitors to the setting will also be asked not to use their mobile phone.

In order to comply with the Data Protection Act 1998, I have registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office as a data controller to allow me to store digital images on a device or computer. Parents must not post any photographs of other children from my setting (only their own child) on social media sites.

Southend has issued a ‘Safer user of images guidance’ which references specific issues.  I will be the only person who will be able to take photographs of the children. Digital photo will be used for the child’s daily diary and to evidence their learning and development sent to the parents via What’s App. Prior parental permission will have been obtained before any photographs are taken of the child.

If I am sent an indecent image on my mobile phone, or any other device, I will immediately call MASH+, Ofsted and the police to inform them.