Principle and statement of intent
In Bumbles Day Care the welfare of the children in our care is paramount. We are committed to creating an environment in which children are safe from abuse, and in which any suspicion of abuse is promptly and appropriately responded to.
At Bumbles Day Care we have formulated our policy using the following publications:
- Getting it Right – standards of practice for the protection of children and young people, published by Volunteer Now third edition Aug 2009, updated Feb 2011 (funded by DHSSPS)
- Our Duty to Care (ODTC) – Principles of Good Practice for the protection of children and young people published by Volunteer Now, fifth edition 2009, updated April 2011 (supported by DHSSPS)
- Protecting Children: Principles and Practice – Guidelines for Early Years Workers, published by NIPPA/EYO in May 1995.
- Co-operating to Safeguard Children and Young People in Northern Ireland (2017) – outlines how communities, organisations and individuals must work both individually and in partnership to ensure children and young people are safeguarded as effectively as possible.
The standards and principles take into account:
- U.N Convention on Rights of the Child – This emphasises the child’s right to protection from harm and the provision of adequate services and participation in all matters that concerns him/her.
- The Children (NI) Order 1995 – This specifies that the welfare of the child is paramount. The role and the responsibility of parents to care for their children is emphasised.
- Social Services Department – In particular the guidelines and procedures as set down by the Area Child Protection Committee.
- The Safeguarding Board Act (Northern Ireland) 2011. This provides the legislative framework for the creation of a new regional Safeguarding Board for Northern Ireland (SBNI) and the establishment of five Safeguarding Panels to support the SBNI’s work at a Health and Social Care Trust level.
At Bumbles Day Care we will endeavour to safeguard our children by:
- Following Health & Social Service guidelines on child protection.
- Applying rigorous recruitment, selection and interview procedures.
- Pre-employment police check and vetting (we use AccessNI) (ensures we exclude known abusers).
- Effective management for staff and volunteers through support and training.
- We have a Designated Officer and Deputy Officer who are responsible for safeguarding children’s issues.
- Report concerns to statutory agencies who need to know and involve parents and children appropriately.
- Sharing information about child protection and good practice with children, parents, staff and volunteers.
- Ensuring safety procedures are adhered to.
Bumbles childcare staff team are committed:
- To protect and ensure the well-being of the children in their care.
- To develop awareness of issues that can cause children harm.
- To report any concerns following Bumbles child protection procedures.
Code of practice
All Bumbles staff have gone through an induction process which includes an awareness of key Policies & Procedures as well as an agreement to a code of conduct aimed to ensure good practice that includes valuing and respecting children as individuals, and the adult modelling of appropriate conduct – which will always exclude bullying, shouting, racism, sectarianism or sexism.
Staff members are instructed not to:
- Play with children in an aggressive manner.
- Have inappropriate physical or verbal contact with others.
- Allow themselves to be drawn into inappropriate attention seeking behaviour such as tantrums or crushes but deal firmly with such behaviour at all times.
- Exaggerate or trivialise child abuse issues.
- Show favouritism to any individual.
- Make suggestive remarks or gestures or tell jokes of a smutty nature.
- Go into a room or store alone with a child.
- Consider their use of a second language when conversing with a child.
The layout of the rooms in all settings, permits constant supervision of children and the appropriate adult to child ratios are maintained, with adults not being left alone for extended periods of time with individual children or small groups.
There is appropriate supervision of staff, volunteers, students and visitors to the premises. All staff and volunteers attend training and receive regular updates on:
- Child Protection issues
- Our Polices including Staff Code of Practice
- Recognising signs of abuse and what action to take
- How to protect children and self
- Directed to read current legislation
Staff and volunteers receive annual appraisals and reviews on their work as well as regular discussion on any concerns about children in our care as well as any concerns about the Bumbles setting.
Definition of abuse
There are several different categories of abuse, but essentially ‘child abuse’ occurs when the behaviour of someone in a position of greater power than a child causes significant harm.
Children can be abused in a number of ways, the harm caused cannot always be easily categorised, but we can identify five broad definitions of abuse.
- Physical – This is the deliberate physical injury of a child, or the wilful or neglectful failure to prevent physical injury or suffering.
- Emotional – Where children are persistently or severely emotionally neglected or rejected, for example, by not being given enough love or attention, made to feel worthless or being intimidated by threats or taunts. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of ill-treatment of a child, though it may occur alone.
- Sexual – Where children are encouraged or forced to observe or participate in any form of sexual activity.
- Neglect – This is where a child’s physical and/or psychological needs, are persistently or severely neglected or the failure to protect a child from exposure to any kind of danger.
- Exploitation – This is the intentional ill-treatment, manipulation or abuse of power and control over a child or young person; to take selfish or unfair advantage of a child or young person or situation for personal gain. It may manifest itself in many forms such as child labour, slavery, servitude, engagement in criminal activity, begging, benefit or other financial fraud or child trafficking.
Recognising or suspecting that a child is being abused may be stressful and upsetting. It is easy for people to believe that it could not happen to children in their care, but children are harmed in all sorts of families and in most instances the person causing the harm is well known to them.
The important thing to remember when you think you may see signs or indicators of abuse are to record it, get as much information as possible without leading the conversations, and record the information as clearly and accurately as possible.
Remember it is not our responsibility to decide if a child is being abused; it is your responsibility to raise cause for concern and to refer on.
How abuse or possible abuse may come to the attention of staff
- Through direct observation of the children they care for.
- Seeing unusual marks or unexplained bruising on a child they care for.
- Seeing significant changes in a child’s behaviour.
- Deterioration in their general well being.
- Neglect of a child.
- Comments children make during play or directly telling someone.
- From an outside agency, such as social services.
- Through a telephone call, letter, or E-mail or message.
- UPDATE : In November 2021 we have been advised by the Belfast Health & Social Care Trust that any bruising on a pre-mobile baby is reported to gateway without delay. Pre-mobile babies are defined as “babies who are not yet crawling, not actively rolling as a means of mobility, (including those only able to flip from back to front), not bottom shuffling, not pulling to stand, not cruising nor walking independently”.Further information regarding bruising can be found here : earning.nspcc.org.uk/media/1046/core-info-bruises-children.pdf
Any information about the possible abuse of a child received by staff, regardless of the source, must be acted upon without delay, and discussed on a “need to know” basis.
Procedure for reporting concerns
Each member of staff has a duty to inform the Designated Officer if they have any concerns about a child. The Designated Officer has a responsibility to:
- Ensure that a record is kept of any incidents, signs or symptoms that arouse concern.
- Accounts must be a detailed and factual observation, must be dated and signed.
- A note must also be kept of any further action to be undertaken.
- Immediately contact the Gateway and Early years team with any concerns of child abuse
- Ensure that appropriate information is available at the time of referral and that the referral is confirmed in writing under confidential cover within 24 hours.
- Liaise with local children’s social care services and other agencies, as appropriate.
- Ensure that a proper record is kept of any referral and action taken, and that this is kept safely and
- Deal with allegations or concerns involving staff members.
- Acting as a source of support, advice and expertise within the setting.
- Informing the owner of the situation and of the advice given by the Social Services Department.
Flowchart detailing the procedure for how and when to report a concern is displayed in each of our settings (Currently being updated November 2021)
Guidelines on responding to suspicions of abuse
Listening to safeguard a child
- Stay calm.
- Listen carefully to what is said.
- Find an appropriate early opportunity to explain that it is likely that the information will need to be shared with others – do not promise to keep secrets.
- Tell the child that the matter will only be disclosed to those who need to know about it.
- Allow the child to continue at her/his own pace.
- Ask questions for clarification only, and at all times avoid asking questions that suggest a particular answer.
- Reassure the child that they have done the right thing in telling you.
- Tell them what you will do next, and with whom the information will be shared.
- Record in writing what was said, using the child’s own words as soon as possible – note the date, time, any names mentioned, to whom the information was given and ensure that the record is signed and dated.
- It is important to remember that the person who first encounters a case of alleged abuse is not responsible for deciding whether abuse has occurred. That is a task for the professional child protection agencies, following a referral from the Designated Officer.
Recording child protection concerns
Staff will record the facts as told on a record form on the website.
Be specific – what is the exact nature of the concern and what has prompted this.
Show the evidence – what did you see, hear?
- Are there any physical, behavioural or indirect signs?
- Did the child speak to you and if so, what exactly did they say?
- Have the parents been contacted, if so, what exactly was said?
- Has anyone been alleged to be the abuser – if so record details.
- Has anyone else been consulted – if so record details.
Be precise – record times, dates. Use clear and concise language and avoid abbreviations. Be objective in your description, do not insert your own thoughts and feelings into the statement.
Sharing information appropriately
At Bumbles Day Care we will:
- Share any concerns only with those agencies that need to know.
- Involve parents and children appropriately as recommended by ‘Getting it Right’
- UPDATE : November 2021 : The safety of the child is paramount, and our focus is keeping them safe. If the child is considered to be at risk, a Child Protection concern may need to be reported to the appropriate agencies without first seeking parental permission.
General Data Protection Regulation May 2018 – includes recording of information about children. In certain circumstances, the Act allows for disclosure of personal information without the consent of the subject, including that “for the purpose and detection of crime, the apprehension or prosecution of offenders, when a failure to disclose information could place the protection of children, young people or vulnerable adults at risk.”
Bumbles confidentiality policy will be maintained.
Allegations against staff
All complaints of abuse must be investigated and at Bumbles any concerns received about staff will be assessed promptly, accurately and given to immediate action.
- All details of any incident will be recorded fully by the Designated Officer.
- Will then be passed to the owner who will:-
- inform the staff member of the allegation
- give staff member an opportunity to respond
- fully record response
- Owner will consult with statutory authorities.
- Take all protective measures to ensure that no child is exposed to unnecessary risk.
- Advise staff member of next steps:
- Possible suspension
- Referral to Independent Safeguarding Authority(ISA)
If appropriate then Bumbles Disciplinary & Grievance Policy will be applied.
Staff can seek advice and support from:-
- The Early Years Team
- Legal Advice
- Close family or friends but must be mindful of the confidential nature of the information
Staff should keep records of all telephone conversations, letters, interviews and meetings about the allegation. The staff member has the right to be kept informed about how the investigation is progressing and the likely timescale for completion.