CHILD PROTECTION POLICY

HS31, HS32, HS33

 

 

 

RATIONALE / INTENT:  

To protect children from abuse.

To respond in ways that keep children safe when abuse is suspected or identified

To protect staff and other adults from being suspected of child abuse.

 

Current requirement of Reg46/HS31 and HS32 – ECE regulations 2008

 

GUIDELINES

 

Key Points

Little Scholars Early Learning Centre is committed to the prevention of child abuse and the protection of children. This means that the interests and welfare of the child are the prime considerations when any decision is made about suspected abuse. The centre supports the roles of the Police and the New Zealand Children and Young Persons & Family Service.

  1. We are committed to supporting families and maintaining relationships with agencies and individuals in the community who are able to counsel and support families.

 

Staff Training

Little Scholars Management is committed to ensuring that staff are familiar with this policy and are aware of how to prevent, recognise and respond to abuse.

As part of the induction process, all staff will be asked to read and understand this policy.

 

Professional Agencies

The Management and Staff will be aware of the professional agencies to contact in case of suspected child abuse. Management in consultation with Staff may contact the Public Health Nurse, Parent line, or contact the care and protection division of Child, Youth and Family (CYFS) or The Ministry of Education. In serious cases, the staff may have contact with the Police. Staff should not assume responsibility beyond their level of expertise and should contact a professional agency for support when necessary.

 

The Basic Procedures of Responding to Suspected Child Abuse

  1. Believe what children tell you and what you see.
  2. Inform management, including the centre contact person.
  3. Always take action in the short term to ensure the immediate safety of the child. This will mean contacting Child, Youth and Family (CYFS) or the Police.
  4. Record your concerns or communication with the child, which caused your concern. Record observations and keep any relevant artwork from the child if you think this may help. All records must be stored confidentially in the centres filing system and made available only to people dealing with the abuse. Our record book will be filed in the Office for Staff to record any incidents
  5. Do not make decisions alone. Consult with someone experienced. If there is no short-term risk, take time to consult thoroughly in order to make a well-informed decision. If you are certain that the suspected child abuse has occurred outside the family or by a person not closely known to the family, speak to the parents before you report the suspected abuse. Be sure you have the skills, help and support to inform the parents. If you suspect that the abuse may have been perpetrated by a family member or someone close to the family, do not contact them; obtain support from an appropriate agency who will inform them. If you suspect that the child abuse has been perpetuated by a staff member or any other person assisting at the centre report the matter promptly to management and they will report it to the statutory authorities such as the Ministry of Education. Staff members under suspicion will be suspended while the matter is investigated and they will be fully informed of their rights.
  6. Act on your concerns. Don’t leave it to someone else or hope it won’t happen again. Always speak to the Head Teacher. If you have told the Head Teacher and they do not act, inform the centre contact person.
  7. The situation can be stressful. Seek support for yourself, by informing management. Management will obtain support from agencies and organisations that specialise in abuse situations.
  8. Outside organisations which offer support are the Child, Youth and Family (CYFS), Police, Public Health Nurse, Local Area Health Board and Family Counselling Services, Awhina Wahine, Child Help lines, Community Mental Health Services and HELP sexual abuse foundation.

 

 Staff selection

The management will employ staff only after an interview and a thorough check on an applicant’s work history. This will include making contact with referees and previous employers. This will only be done with the applicants consent. The managements’ prime consideration when choosing staff is to ensure that they have the skills and attributes which ensures the children’s safety. When employing temporary or casual staff, the applicant’s referees will be contacted prior to employment. All staff including volunteers will be asked to read this policy.

 

Staff supervision

Careful consideration has to be taken in the deployment of staff to ensure children are supervised at all times and staff are visible at all times to other staff. When staff are changing children’s nappies, or bathing them other staff should be made aware that they are carrying out these duties. Two staff will be on duty with the children wherever practical.

Our centre has an open door policy where parents are welcome into the centre at any time.

Except in an emergency, children are not to be taken from the centre without parental approval in writing. Every centre trip (except spontaneous walks- permission for these is provided on enrolment) will require written permission from parents. When children go on an outing the adult to child ratio will be known to parents prior to the outing. If insufficient adults are present on the day, the trip will be cancelled.

 

Rules about touching children

The care of children involves physical contact; this is normal, natural and desirable. It is natural to touch them to show affection, to comfort, to reassure them and to give them praise as well as taking care of their physical needs. It is not acceptable to force unwanted affection or touching on a child. Physical contact with children during changing or cleansing must be for the purpose of that task only and be no more than necessary. Parents and visitors are welcomed into the centre, but should not perform care tasks with other people’s children or be alone with them.

 

Exposure to Inappropriate Material – HS32

All practical steps will be taken to ensure children are not exposed to inappropriate/explicit material. Children will only be allowed access to the internet under the close supervision of a teacher, any magazines brought into the centre for use by the child will be checked by teachers for indecent images prior to being given to children.

 

Professionalism

The Management will encourage staff to keep their personal and professional lives separate. Staff will be discouraged from having personal relationships with the children and families outside the work environment unless this is approved by management. This includes after hours babysitting. Confidentiality is to be maintained at all times. At least once per year at a staff meeting the child abuse prevention policy will be discussed and performance in meeting the standards outlined will be evaluated.

 

Parent Relationships

We encourage parents/extended family/whanau to visit freely and to be involved as much as possible within the centre. If parents have concerns about the treatment of a child they are encouraged to make this known to the Head Teacher and/or management/centre contact person, who will ensure that the matter is investigated and acted upon immediately. Steps are outlined in the complaints procedure.

 

Preventative Education

Education of children and parents/whanau is important in the prevention of child abuse. We encourage parents to make use of education programmes organised by people in the community.

 

Exposure to people under the influence – HS33

No person on the premises uses, or is under the influence of, alcohol or any other substance that has a detrimental effect on their functioning or behaviour during the services hours of operation.

 

Reviewed: July 2016

Next Review: July 2017

 

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