ChelseaHouse Early Childhood Centre Child Protection Policy

CHILD PROTECTION

The child protection policy Chelsea House Early Childhood Centre has in place, aims to protect children from abuse by staff or other adults, and to protect adults from unfounded accusations of abuse.

Protection comes through the accurate recognition of abuse, and in knowing what to do when abuse is suspected.

Through careful selection of staff, and supervision of both children and other adults, Chelsea House Early Childhood Centre provides and environment which is caring, secure and above all safe.

WHAT IS CHILD ABUSE?

There are four types of child abuse, they are :

Physical abuse: Where non – accidental injuries occur.

Sexual abuse: Where the use of children is for the sexual gratification of someone who takes advantage of their power and/or children’s trust.

Neglect:  Where children are deprived of necessities such as food, shelter, supervision appropriate to their age,   and essential physical and medical care.

Emotional abuse: Where the behaviours of adults severely affect a child’s emotional and physical development.

WHAT TO DO WHEN A CHILD TELLS OF HIS OR HER ABUSE

* Guard the child’s privacy –
Do not let the story become public

* Listen to the child –
Do not put words into their mouth.
Do not be tempted to solve the problem – it is not your responsibility to determine the extent of
the abuse, or who is responsible for it.

* Five Basic Rules –
Believe what they say.
Say you are glad they told you.
Say you are sorry it has happened.
Let them know it is not their fault.
Let them know you will help them.

* Let them know that it happens to other children too sometimes.

* Do not over react or panic –
The child will be monitoring every reaction, and if they judge you unable to handle the situation
they may not say any more.

* Do not criticise –
Do not say ” You should have told me sooner” or “Why did you let him/her?”, always ensure them
that you are pleased the they  told you of what happened to them and therefore are able to help
them.

* Do what you can to ensure the child’s safety –
Do not tell the alleged abuser.
Ensure you seek assistance from Professional agencies, CYFs and the Police who have a
mandated responsibility for follow up.

* Keep a written record –
Record dates, times, observations of comments and behaviour and an accurate record or action
taken : KEEP THIS CONFIDENTIAL.
Record times and date of referral to both CYFs and the Police, and who was spoken to.

* Find Support for Yourself
This is a stressful time, so ensure you have support for yourself.

* Seek advice and assistance –
Ensure you use the expertise of professional agencies.

* Reporting abuse –
Staff must discuss suspected abuse with the Centre Director of the Centre, together they can
decide on action to be taken and if needed to contact CYFs and the Police

Continue to support the child.
Find support for yourself.
Continue to keep records as long as the child is in your care

STEP 1:  ESTABLISHING BASIC PRINCIPLES

GOAL:

To identify and make public the underlying philosophy and commitment of Chelsea House Early Childhood Centre to child abuse prevention.

OBJECTIVES AND PRACTICES:

  • The interest and safety of the children are paramount at Chelsea House Early Childhood Centre.
  • The staff are committed to the prevention of child abuse and to the protection of children and adults working in the centre
  • The centre supports the roles of the Police and the New Zealand and Young Persons Service and will use these agencies when necessary.
  • The staff realise the importance of support for families, and staff will maintain relationships with agencies and individuals available to provide support and counseling.

STEP 2:  STAFF TRAINING

GOAL:

To ensure that individuals working for Chelsea House Early Childhood Centre have an awareness about and knowledge of child abuse.

OBJECTIVES:

  • Staff need to attend at least one workshop or in service course on child abuse. All new staff to attend a course within a year of their appointment.
  • Chelsea House Early Childhood Centre is committed to increasing staff awareness of how to prevent and respond to child abuse.
  • Staff will be encouraged to read the available resource material and familiarise themselves with the Centre’s policies on child abuse.
  • Staff will learn to recognize the signs and symptoms of physical, sexual and emotional abuse and neglect.
  • Staff will get support and supervision from the correct agencies and will learn to recognize and

deal with their own feelings.

STEP 3:  KEEPING IN TOUCH WITH PROFESSIONAL AGENCIES

GOAL:

To maintain a knowledge of trust in agencies which have the appropriate statutory power and skills to respond effectively to child abuse.

OBJECTIVES AND PRACTICES:

  • Staff at Chelsea House Early Childhood Centre will not attempt to deal with child abuse or suspected abuse on their own.
  • Staff will not assume responsibility beyond the level of their own expertise.
  • Chelsea House Early Childhood Centre will establish and maintain a good working relationship

with the correct professional   agencies i.e.

The New Zealand Children and Young Persons Service, or Police personnel from a sexual abuse or Youth Aid division.

STEP 4:  LAW REGULATIONS WHICH PROTECT CHILDREN FROM ABUSE

GOAL:          

To ensure that all staff keep up to date with laws and regulations which protect children from abuse

OBJECTIVES AND PRACTICES:

  • The Centre Director of the centre will ensure that all material that arrives at the Centre dealing with child abuse is made available to staff. The Centre Director will purchase reference books dealing with child prevention, which will be available to staff at all times.

e.g.  Ministry of Education: Prevent Child Abuse Guidelines for Early Childhood Education Centres.

STEP 5:  RESPONDING TO CHILD ABUSE

GOAL:

To ensure that all cases of child suspected child abuse are responded to in a manner which will keep the child safe.

OBJECTIVES AND PRACTICES:

Confidentially:

All written records will be confidential and will be stored in a manner to ensure this

confidentially  remains. Staff will only discuss information gathered with those who are dealing with the abuse. e.g. NZCYFS & Police.

Appropriate record keeping:

Staff will respond to suspected child abuse by keeping a written record of observations, impressions and communications which cause concern.

Reporting of Abuse:

No staff member will act alone about suspected child abuse, but will discuss the situation with the Centre Director who will be committed to taking action and arranging for consultation with the appropriate agencies.

They will be reported to NZCYFS or the Police.

Appropriate informing :

  • If a staff member or any other person working at the Centre is suspected    of abuse, the matter will immediately be reported to the Centre Supervisor, who will inform Management and then seek advice from NZCYFS.
  • If a Staff member is suspected they will be placed on special leave while the matter is investigated.
  • Access to the Centre, by any other person suspected of the reported abuse, will not be permitted.
  • It is the role of CYFS and/or the Police to inform the parents. Centre staff will not enter into discussion with parents or families.

Support for Staff and Child:

As the situation will be very stressful for all staff and the child, outside guidance, support and assistance will be sought from professional    agencies as referred to earlier in policy.

The Centre will also maintain knowledge of individuals, agencies and organisations that they can refer to for support.

Professional advice for suspected staff member:

A Staff member, under suspicion, will be directed to appropriate legal/professional advice and support.

STEP 6:  STAFF EMPLOYMENT:

GOAL:

To ensure that thorough checks are made into the background of applicants before they are employed .

OBJECTIVES AND PRACTICES:

  • The prime consideration in choosing staff for Chelsea House Early Childhood Centre, is ensuring that they have the skills and attributes which will contribute to the children’s safety and to their health, physical, emotional, intellectual and social development.
  • Applicants work histories will be thoroughly checked.
  • When employing new staff, whether full time or part time, the Centre Director will make personal contact with past employees and referees. Questions asked will refer to relationships formed with children and whether they were appropriate, were there any complaints from parents, staff etc., about the applicant.
  • Applicants will be informed of this process.
  • Applicants will be interviewed by the Centre Director and Centre Supervisor.
  • Applicants will visit the centre and their interaction with children and staff will be observed.
  • A person with a history of abuse will not be employed at the Centre.
  • The centre will make use of a regular pool of relievers and their backgrounds will be checked in the same way as applicants for permanent positions.
  • Chelsea House Early Childhood Centre will be have a process of screening staff, by including an authorization form to enable a police check.

STEP 7:  SUPERVISION

GOAL:

To protect children from child abuse by staff members and other adults, and to protect adults from unfounded accusations of child abuse.

OBJECTIVES AND PRACTICES:

  • Chelsea House Early Childhood Centre ensures that all staff and other adults visiting or working in the centre are supervised and visible in the activities they perform with the children.
  • There is an open door policy for bathrooms and changing rooms. There are adequate vision windows into these areas and the Nursery.
  • Older children are encouraged to help themselves in toileting, and are encouraged to change wet and paint stained clothes in the bathroom only.
  • Visitors and parents at the Centre are not to perform caretaking tasks or be alone with children, specific tasks will be defined.
  • Children are not to be taken from the centre without written parental consent (except in an emergency ). Blanket permission is given on the enrolment form for spontaneous walks. Planned excursions will require written permission.
  • To ensure the safety of the children on Excursions a high adult to child ratio will be organised.
  • It is natural to show children affection, to comfort and praise them, and all staff are given guidelines for acceptable touching of children. These are discussed with staff and other adults

STEP 8:  PROFESSIONALISM

GOAL:

To protect children from child abuse, and staff from suspicion, by clearly establishing boundaries of staff roles, and by maintaining high standards of adult behaviour and attitudes.

OBJECTIVES AND ATTITUDES:

  • Staff are aware of their role in a child’s life – that of a caregiver/ teacher, while the child is attending the centre.
  • Staff are encouraged to keep their professional and personal lives separate.
  • This Child Abuse Prevention Policy will be reviewed annually, or more frequently if necessary.  Students, relievers and parents will be encouraged to familiarize themselves with it also.

STEP 9:  RELATIONSHIP WITH PARENTS:

GOAL:

To protect children from abuse through encouraging and maintaining parents involvement in centre activities, and responding to their concerns in a sensitive way.

OBJECTIVES AND PRACTICES:

  • Parents are welcome to “drop in” at the Centre at any time during the day, are encouraged to help, if they wish to, and to be involved in all parent/staff activities.
  • Parents and prospective parents have access to the Child Abuse Prevention Policy.
  • Any problems or concerns a parent may have is carefully listened to and acted upon by the Centre Supervisor – any outside agencies will be called upon for support if this is necessary.  The complaints procedure will be displayed in the centre

STEP 10:  PREVENTATIVE EDUCATION:

GOAL:

To protect children from abuse by ongoing education of staff, parents or children.

OBJECTIVES AND PRACTICES;

  • Parents are encouraged to make use of resource material available at the centre i.e. books and other written information.  Books about personal safety for young children are available in the parent library for parents to read themselves and to their children.
  • The staff will organise parent evenings with speakers from professional agencies to inform parents about child abuse prevention.
  •  Regular training for staff and any interested parents will ensure that staff become familiar with the symptoms of abuse and comfortable with responding to questions and responses from children.
  • Books etc. are available for staff to read and to use with children.

Reviewed: November 2013                                                      Next Review: November 2014

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