Safeguarding / Child Protection Policy
Safeguarding is a term which is broader than ‘child protection’ and relates to the action we take to promote the welfare of children and protect them from harm. Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility. Everyone who comes into contact with children and families has a role to play.
Safeguarding is defined in the Working together to safeguard children 2013 document as:
- Protecting children from maltreatment
- Preventing impairment of children’s health and development
- Ensuring that children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care; and
- Taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes
The African Families in the UK CIC Directors, Volunteers and Staff members work with a variety of vulnerable groups, including children, and will always act in their best interests and will ensure they take all reasonable steps to prevent harm to them. Having safeguards in place within this organisation not only protects and promotes the welfare of children but also it enhances the confidence of directors, staff, volunteers, parents/carers and the general public.
All children have the right to be safe and to be protected. All professionals have the responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. This can only be achieved through professionals working together and agencies co-operating to ensure the well-being of children within their area. The African Families in the UK CIC is committed to working in partnership with others across the statutory and voluntary sectors to ensure that children are protected from harm.
The African Families in the UK CIC shares the beliefs that:
The welfare of the child is paramount and should underpin all child protection work and resolve any conflicts of interest;
All children deserve the opportunity to achieve their full potential;
All children have the right to be safeguarded from harm and exploitation whilst consideration must be given to:
- Race, religion, preferred language or ethnicity
- Gender or sexuality
- Health or disability
- Location or placement
- Criminal behaviour
- Political or immigration status
These must not impede a child’s right to be safeguarded from harm and exploitation.
The African Families in the UK CIC ensures that all staff and volunteers:
- Have been checked for suitability for working with children and understand the extent and limits of their role;
- Are sensitive to the possibility of child abuse and neglect in all environments in which they have responsibility for children;
- Have access to training opportunities to promote their knowledge;
- Know how to report any concerns they have about possible abuse or neglect;
- Are vigilant about their own actions so they cannot be misinterpreted.
The African Families in the UK CIC has designated a senior member of staff:
Colchester – Rachel Walton
Oxford – Jacqui Gitau
- to take responsibility for drawing up and maintaining policy and procedures for the protection of children;
- to promote and maintain links with local statutory agencies in relation to both general and specific child protection matters;
- to ensure that all staff and volunteers are appropriately vetted through appropriate uptake of references and enhanced DBS disclosure before commencing paid or unpaid work with the company;
- to ensure that all staff and volunteers are aware of their responsibilities to safeguard children, to promote their welfare and act according to company policy;
- to facilitate access to the most up-to-date Southend, Essex and Thurrock Safeguarding policy and procedures for all staff and volunteers;
- to ensure that all parents and carers are aware of the responsibility of all staff and volunteers to act according to company policy to safeguard children and young people;
- to enable parents to access company safeguarding policies if they wish to do so;
- to ensure that all staff and volunteers have access to appropriate training and regular supervision with respect to safeguarding issues;
- to offer support to staff, volunteers, carers or group leaders during any child protection investigation.
Recognising signs of abuse or neglect
All staff and volunteers will be made aware that:
§ It can often be difficult to recognise signs of abuse or neglect in children and young people;
§ Children may behave strangely or appear unhappy for many reasons, depending on their age and circumstances;
§ Someone can abuse a child by actively inflicting harm or by failing to keep a child safe from harm;
§ Abuse can take place within a family, institutional or community setting;
§ Abuse can be delivered in person, by phone or over the internet;
§ Abuse can be carried out by someone known to the child or by a complete stranger.
§ No member of staff should be left alone with a child where they cannot be observed by others
All staff and volunteers will be given information and training about the signs and symptoms to look out for that may indicate abuse or neglect (see appendix 1)
If a member of staff has any concerns about the safety of a baby, child or young person, it is important that these concerns are shared with the parent or carer if it is deemed appropriate to do so. If this action might place the baby, child or young person at risk of additional or immediate harm, the member of staff should follow Southend, Essex and Thurrock safeguarding procedures and notify Social Services. If the member of staff is unsure about the best course of action, he / she should always share his/ her concerns with the designated African Families in the UK lead for child protection.
All incidents and concerns must be recorded. A confidential record will be made whenever there are worrying changes in a child’s physical condition, appearance or behaviour, there are worrying aspects of the parents health or circumstances which might compromise the child’s safety or statements are made about the baby, child or young person, by the parent or carer that give cause for concern.
In the event that a child or young person makes a disclosure of abuse against an adult or another child or young person, African Families in the UK staff and volunteers must
- Listen to the child or young person and / or closely observe their presentation and behaviour;
- let them know that they are being taken seriously and that the information needs to be shared with someone else in order to help them;
- not attempt to question or interview the child or young person;
- inform the designated child protection officer as soon as possible;
- make a written record of the allegations and events.
Written records should include details about:
- location, time and circumstances in which the member of staff encountered the child, parent or carer;
- the child’s name, date of birth, place of residence, next- of- kin, household and family composition, accompanying relative (s);
- contact details for the accompanying adult and/ or the next-of-kin;
- details of what actually happened, what was observed and the explanations given for the injury or presenting features that were giving cause for concern;
- any communications, information and advice given to the parents, carer or accompanying adults;
- the course of action taken by the member of staff;
- the name and signature of the member of staff;
- the date and time of the written entry.
All information about the child and his/ her family is confidential unless it is the best interests of the child to share that information. See appendix 2 for the ‘seven golden rules for information sharing’. All written documentation will be kept in a locked filing cabinet in the African Families UK central office or recorded in a password protected electronic file.