5.1 Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy
SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER
This chapter should be read in conjunction with the Local Safeguarding Board Procedures in the area where homes are located.
Thornby Hall and Greenfields Schools Safeguarding PolicySchools anti-radicalisation policies
This chapter has been amended in August 2016
- Safeguarding and Promoting Welfare
- Impact of Abuse
- Multi- agency Approach
- Open Forums
- Referral to Local Authority Children's Social Care
- Local Children's Safeguarding Boards/Multi- agency Safeguarding Hubs
- Prevent Strategy
- FGM (Female Genital Mutilation)
- Forced Marriage
- Sexual Activity Between Children
- Peer Abuse
- Disclosures of incidences of abuse or neglect
- Recruitment and HR Procedures
Childhood First is committed at every level to safeguarding and promoting children's welfare. We take seriously our duty to protect every child from abuse and maltreatment and to prevent impairment of children's health or development.
The safeguarding and welfare of the children is considered within the context of their relationships with others and from within a culture of listening to, and engaging in dialogue with children and seeking their views about all aspects of their lives and their care.
Child Protection is a part of safeguarding and promoting welfare. We understand it as the activity undertaken to protect specific children who are suffering, or are at risk of suffering, Significant Harm. Children who receive a service from Childhood First have suffered significant harm or have been at risk of doing so and remain vulnerable especially as children who live away from home.
Childhood First is working with children experiencing the long-term effects of abuse on health, development and wellbeing.
Many children have suffered sustained maltreatment which impacts deeply on capacity to relate to the world often manifests in anxiety, depression, substance misuse, eating disorders and self-destructive behaviours. The treatment model is designed to help children with difficulties in forming or sustaining close relationships which impact on their ability to establishing themselves in school and in work, and in forming close relationships as partners, friends and parents.
Childhood First has a clear line of accountability in each of its services up to the Director/Registered Manager of the service. Each Director is line managed by the Residential services Director who is the Responsible Person and designated safeguarding lead for the organisation. The Executive is accountable to the Board of Trustees, Childhood First has a safeguarding Trustee sub-committee which is accountable for the management of all safeguarding concerns within the organisation and ensuring that childhood first safeguarding processes are conducted in a transparent and consistent way that enables external scrutiny as required. Also see Organisational Structure.
Every member of the organisation has a duty to report Child Protection concerns to their line manager or somebody higher. Immediate steps must be taken to prevent the child from harm or further harm. These should be agreed with the most senior person available. It is the responsibility of the Director/Registered Manager or Responsible Person (or their deputies) to instigate a Child Protection investigation where necessary and to ensure that all the necessary people are informed. This will include the child's social worker and parents; the police if necessary; the LCSB/MASH teams (of the appropriate area) where the alleged abuser works with children. Also refer to Child Protection Referrals Procedure.The ongoing systems of training, supervision, and consultancy, in group forums and individual sessions, work together to ensure that all employees of Childhood First are clear about their responsibility to work together to safeguard children. These systems ensure that all remain aware of policy and practice areas which impact on our joint ability to safeguard children. All staff are reminded that they must remain alert to the potential indicators of abuse or neglect and to the risks that individual abusers, or potential abusers, may pose to children. Each community also has a designated safeguarding lead who provides technical support/advice in ensuring that all children/young people are appropriately safeguarded.
Childhood First is committed to working in partnership with local authorities and other agencies to prevent and protect children from abuse. Good inter-agency co-operation and communication are the essential bases for carrying out child care and child protection. We co-operate with all statutory and other professional agencies in the spirit of protecting children.
Child Protection procedures in each place of work are consistent with local policies and agreed with the Local Safeguarding Children Board/Mash teams. The Director/Registered Manager of each facility will ensure that all staff have access to these procedures and are provided with regular Safeguarding/Child Protection training commensurate with their role. All induction training includes Safeguarding/Child Protection.
Events and Notifications under Regulation 40 of Children's Homes Regulations are sent to the required authorities as well as to the Responsible Person, the Trustee safeguarding sub-committee review all safeguarding notifications/referrals/ concerns every 3 months. See Delegated Authority and Notifiable Events Procedure.
The Childhood First Treatment Methodology- founded in psychoanalytic and systemic principles is holistic in approach, based on child development and fully involves children and their families. Children are provided with a range of individual and group forums within which they are helped and encouraged to express their views.
Adult facilitators of these forums are skilled in understanding verbal and non-verbal communications. The culture is one of openness where all opinions are listened to and children are valued and respected by the adults and helped to value and respect each other and themselves. This programme of group and individual work helps children build on their strengths and identify difficulties.
These systems promote and encourage open communication about all aspects of the children's lives including everyday living together. Staff teams encourage, listen to and respond to both 'minor' complaints and major ones and are trained and experienced in remaining alert to children's welfare at all times. Children are encouraged to raise concerns and make suggestions for changes and improvements. It is recognised that the children we work with often have undisclosed issues of historical abuse, and that it is our job to help them to tell adults things, to experience them being taken seriously and responded to for themselves and in preparation for other disclosures. These forums provide opportunities for children and young people to learn about keeping safe; to recognize and manage risks in different situations and discuss what kind of physical contact is acceptable and unacceptable. Children are helped to learn to recognise when pressure from others threatens their personal safety and develop effective ways of resisting pressure, as well as understanding their own propensities to creating dangerous situations.
Information about helpful organisations and their phone numbers are distributed to children and young people through the Children's Information leaflets. Staff members ensure that all children and young people are aware of the options and independent agencies available to them. Children are encouraged to have contact with people outside the organisation to whom they can have ready access. These contacts include families, social workers, advocates, and independent visitors. From within the organisation but outside each community there are regular visits Regulation 44 visitors and the Organisational leadership team are available as necessary. See Advocacy and Independent Visitors Procedure.
The intensive programme of staff support meetings ensure that adults are able to take children's concerns seriously and respond to them.
All concerns of a Child Protection nature will be referred by the Director/Registered Manager, the Residential services Director or delegated authority to the Local Authority Children's Social care team and the Regulator and as applicable the LADO, see Allegations against staff. This will include incidences of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse as well as neglect. Directors/Registered Managers are alert to the potential for significant harm to be caused also by: Prostitution; fabricated or induced illness; complex (organised or multiple) abuse; CSE, The possible or actual Radicalisation of Children, Female genital mutilation; Forced marriage,Breast ironing or any other concerns that may constitute a child protection concern. See Child Protection Referrals Procedure.
Local Safeguarding Children's Boards/ Multi- agency safeguarding hubs are the key statutory mechanisms for ensuring safeguarding and protection of children. Their roles include agreeing how relevant organisations (like Local Authorities, providers of residential care like ours) will co-operate to do this and ensuring effectiveness including training and increasing understanding of safeguarding issues. It is their and our job to ensure that children and adults know who to contact if the have a concern that a child is being harmed. They are particular concerned with children who are vulnerable to abuse in the ways the children we work with are.
Prevent is the safeguarding process which is part of the UK Governments counter terrorism strategy to stop people from becoming terrorists or supporting all forms of terrorism, the prevent strategy aims to identify those people most at risk of terrorism, due to the vulnerability of the children we work with at Childhood first our children may be at risk of radicalisation. Any staff member who has any suspicion or actual concern that a child is at risk or subject to radicalisation must follow the normal safeguarding procedures and report any suspicions or concerns to the Director/Registered manager. A referral will be made to childens social care or were applicable direct to the police who should refer for assessment to a multi- agency panel known as the Channel referral panel.
Channel is a multi- agency approach to provide support to individuals who are at risk of being drawn into terrorist related activities. The channel referral panel considers how best to safeguard the individuals and address their vulnerability through an individual plan.
Female genital mutilation is a criminal offence in the uk. It is also a criminal offence for UK nationals or permanent UK residents to carry out female genital mutilation abroad, or to aid, abet, counsel or procure the carrying out of female genital mutilation abroad even in countries where the practise is legal. All staff will follow the normal safeguarding procedures should they have any concerns that a child has been subject to or at risk of genital mutilation they must report to the Director/Registered manager who will refer to the relevant authorities.
Staff need to be vigilant to the potential of forced marriages taking place, this is likely to happen where there are increased levels of contact with family or there are missing episodes.
A forced marriage is different to an arranged marriage which is a marriage entered into freely by both parties although their families may take a leading role in the choice of partner.
The Anti-social behaviour and policing act 2014 made it a criminal offence to force someone to marry.Any concerns that a child may be subject to a forced marriage arrangement must be reported to the Director/Registered manager and where a child may be at immediate risk of being taken oversees it may be necessary to alert the police immediately.
A child under 13 is not legally capable of consenting to sexual activity and every instance must be taken as indicating a risk of Significant Harm to the child and will be referred to the Local Authority Children's Social Care Team. Under the Sexual Offences Act, penetrative sex with a child under 13 is classed as rape.
Sexual activity with a child under 16 is also an offence and consideration will always be given as to whether there is reasonable cause to suspect significant harm to a child has occurred or is likely to occur and therefore we will make a referral to children's social care who will assess whether a concern is evident. These considerations will take into account the following: age of the child; level of maturity and understanding of the child; the child's living circumstances or background; age imbalance; overt aggression or power imbalance; coercion or bribery; familial child sex offences; the misuse of substances as a disinhibitor of other person or of consent giver; where attempts to secure secrecy have been made by the sexual partner, beyond what would be considered usual; whether the child denies, minimises or accepts concerns; where the situation is consistent with grooming and where the sexual partner/s is known by professional agencies.
Childhood First works with the Local Authority Children's social care team and the LCSB to ensure the child is not at continuing risk.
Sexual and emotional bullying and abuse by peers will be taken as seriously as abuse perpetrated by an adult. It will be subject to the same safeguarding children procedures as applied in respect of any child who is suffering, or at risk of suffering, Significant Harm from an adverse source. It is recognized that a significant proportion of sex offences are committed by teenagers and, on occasion, such offences are committed by younger children.
It is acknowledged that disclosures of abuse, and the business of protecting children is a continuing process, not an event, can happen within the context of providing safe and effective care, and in the context of the open forums referred to in Section 5, Open Forums. It is recognised that the children we work with often have undisclosed issues of historical abuse, and that it is our job to help them to tell adults things, to experience them being taken seriously and responded to for themselves and in preparation for other disclosures.
Childhood First staff take seriously every disclosure. The first step when there is any disclosure or allegation of abuse is always to make sure the child is safe from risk of harm. Clear procedures are in place, and all staff must report any disclosure immediately after ensuring the safety of the child to their line manager or the Director/Registered Manager. The Director/Registered Manager will decide, according to the procedure how to follow-up the disclosure. Staff have a responsibility to deal sensitively, and listen carefully to a child or young person who discloses abuse, while not asking leading or probing questions, which may hamper any subsequent formal investigation. In addition basic induction includes Safeguarding/child protection and all staff are aware that they may not give a guarantee of confidentiality.
Investigating child abuse can be distressing for all concerned. The impact on children and young people, their families and staff is not under-estimated. Staff teams are supported to remain committed to establishing and maintaining a climate of openness. Both staff and children and young people, or their families may need access during processes of disclosure to independent persons outside the direct line of management. Disclosures can be a source of stress to all involved.
Staff must always talk to their seniors and they must neither offer or imply that they are in a position to keep information relating to children's safety and welfare to themselves. Additionally, supervision and training reinforces the importance of not asking leading or probing questions which may prejudice a future investigation. The Director/Registered Manager will guide the staff teams in how to offer children a realistic notion of what might happen bearing in mind that such cases are difficult to prove and can be disappointing for the victim.Responses to allegations by an adult of abuse experienced as a child will be of as high a standard as a response to current abuse. It is recognised that there is a likelihood that a person who abused a child/ren in the past will have continued and may still be doing so and criminal prosecutions can still take place.
Childhood First has comprehensive recruitment and selection procedures; supervision and appraisal, disciplinary and whistle blowing procedures which must be complied with at all times. Childhood first follows safer recruitment principles from the point of advertising a role to interview and appointment. As Childhood first is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of all children we expect that all staff regardless of status share this commitment with us.
All staff members undertake mandatory Safeguarding/ Child Protection training and further training is provided commensurate to role starting at basic induction, and including refresher training at regular intervals.