Settings must have a range of policies in place which ensure the safety, security and well-being of the children in their care. These will set out the responsibilities of staff and the procedures that they must follow. All staff within the setting has a responsibility to safeguard children. Safeguarding is important in order to protect children and keep children away from harm and maltreatment. It is important to safeguard children as abuse and maltreated can affect future life choices and also affect a child’s development. They must have a practitioner who is designated to take lead responsibility for safeguarding children within each early years setting and who should liaise with local statutory children’s services agencies as appropriate. This lead should also complete child protection training. The lead known as the Designated Safeguarding lead (DSL) formally known as CPLO (Child protection liaison officer)
Settings have a responsibility to:
• Promote children’s right to be strong, resilient and listened to.
• Work closely with parents to build their understanding of, and commitment to the principles of safeguarding all our children.
• Ensure all staff and parents are made aware of our safeguarding policies and procedures.
• Provide adequate and appropriate staffing resources to meet the children’s needs.
• Make sure every employee has carried out an ‘enhanced disclosure’ check with the disclosure and barring service (DBS).
Settings also have a responsibility to follow some important acts;
Children act 1989- This act states that services must be put into place to safeguard and promote the welfare of children within the area who are in need. This act also states that the local authority has a duty to investigate when there is reasonable cause to suspect that a child is suffering or likely to suffer from harm. This act introduced that the child’s welfare is paramount and that a child should be centre of planning which we use every day when planning for our key children. This act highlights the responsibilities of parents keeping children safe.
Children act 2004- This act was introduced after a high profile case highlighted the failures of services to work together effectively and introduces requirements to ensure services work together closely and effectively. These include, increased responsibility of local authorities, for services to work more closely together and share information, to identify needs earlier and offer support, the introduction of a shared process to gather information, a shared database for information about safety and welfare of children, the legal framework ever child matters, and a local safeguarding children board to be set up in every area to support and monitor children’s services and investigate and report. This act highlights the importance for us as a setting to share information and express concerns with other services to protect a child.
Education act 2002- this act highlights the responsibilities of local education authorities, governing bodies, head teachers and those working in schools to ensure children are safe and free from harm.
Policies give an outline of how a setting aims to comply with legislation.
Procedures will give practitioners guidance on what to actually do in practice.
Policies and procedures relating to the safeguarding, protection and welfare of children in settings are the result of legislation passed in Parliament. They are written by the setting and/or the local authority and they give guidance on how to protect children.
Each setting will have its own set of policies and procedures but may include:
• Children’s rights and entitlements: promoting a child’s right to be strong, resilient and listened to; helping children to establish and sustain satisfying relationships within their families, with peers and with other adults; working closely with parents to build their understanding of, and commitment to, the principal of safeguarding children.
• Safeguarding children and child protection:
Policy statement: our setting will work with children, parents and the communities to ensure the rights and safety or children and to give them the very best start in life. Our safeguarding policy is based on the three key commitments of the Pre-School Learning Alliance Safeguarding Children’s Policy.
Procedures: the nursery is committed to building a ‘culture of safety’ in which children are protected from abuse and harm in all area of its service delivery.
The nursery is committed to responding promptly and appropriately to all incidents or concerns of abuse that may occur and to work with statutory agencies in accordance with the procedures that are set down in Working together to safeguard children (HMG 2015)
The nursery is committed to promoting awareness of child abuse, throughout our processes and our philosophy that safeguarding children is everyone’s responsibility. We are also committed to empowering young children, through the Early years foundation stage, promoting their right to be strong, resilient and listened to through the setting values.
• Confidentiality, information sharing and client access records:
Policy statement: it is our intention to respect the privacy of children their parents and carers whilst ensuring that they have access to high quality care and education in our setting. We have regard to the Common Law Duty of Confidentially and only share information with other professionals or agencies on a ‘need to know’ basis, with their consent from parents, or without their cases they in specified circumstances to do with safeguarding children.
We always check whether parents regard the information they share with us to be regarded as confidential or not.
Information shared between parents in a discussion group or training group is usually bound by a shared agreement that the information is confidential to the group and not discussed outside of it.
In every setting each nursery practitioner must keep up to date with the settings policies and procedures to ensure the children are kept safe and protected from harm. Each practitioner has specific roles and responsibilities to keep the children safe, every morning there has to be someone to carry out a risk assessment on the rooms and garden areas to make sure they are safe for the children to play in, and if there is any safety hazard it must be reported to the manager straight away so the hazard can be dealt with in a timely manner. During each day the practitioners working in each room must make sure that there is the correct ratio of children to adults so we can ensure each child is being safely watched so we can prevent any serious accidents from happening.
Everyone in the setting has a duty to meet the safeguarding, protection and welfare of the children in their care, practitioners need to be aware of the lines of reporting and responsibilities Within their setting. There will be a designated safeguard officer in each setting to report to if there is a concern or problem, each practitioner needs to know who to go to if they have a concern or question regarding safeguarding, protection or welfare of the children. Each practitioner must know how to fill out accident and incident forms correctly and they must make sure they put as much detail in as they can, they must then report to the correct person regarding the incident which may include; the room leader, manager, safeguarding officer, or the area manager. It is essential that everyone concerned with the safeguarding, protection and welfare of children all work together effectively And all information needs to be shared effectively and accurately. Failure to act and share information may result in serious consequences regarding the welfare of the children.
The data protection act 1989 clearly defines how personal information should be stored and used, in cases where the safeguarding, protection or welfare of a child are in question then accurate, detailed reports will need to be kept. These reports will be kept separately from the child’s records or file and may need to be shared with other professionals in order to protect the child. Staff will also not discuss individual children with people other than the parent/carer of the child and personal issues will remain confidential to the people involved unless it is anything unlawful.
Child protection is part of the wider work to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people. It refers to the activity that is undertaken to protect specific children who are suffering from any form of abuse or neglect. It also involves protecting children and young people from maltreatment and preventing impairment of a child’s health and development by ensuring children are raised in positive circumstances by providing safe and caring environments. Parents or carers who fail to protect or care for their children could then be taken to court and the child be then removed from the home and placed into care.
The actions you must take if harm or abuse is suspected and/or disclosed are Firstly you must Reassure the child, then report it to your room leader, safeguarding leader or manager , if none of those are available you have a duty to call it in. You must record it all accurately and you mustn’t ask leading questions to the child, you must record exactly what the child has said without prompting them, you must also not give your personal opinion.
• Domestic abuse – domestic abuse is a result of witnessing domestic violence in a home where one parent is abusing another parent.
Key features include: emotional and behavioural state of despair; depressive disorders; bed wetting; headaches and stomach aches; tiredness from not sleeping at home.
• Neglect – neglect is the failure to meet a child’s physical and/or psychological needs.
Key features include: inadequate clothing for the child’s size, weather or time of year; underweight for age; frequent school absences; poor health; emotionally needy; persistently dirty with body odour.
• Physical abuse – physical abuse involves any action that causes physical harm to a child including fabricating the symptoms of or deliberately including illnesses.
Key features include: bruising; bite marks; burns and scalds; scars; refusal to discuss injuries; arms and legs kept covered; the parents are uninterested or undisturbed by an accident or injury.
• Emotional abuse – emotional abuse is the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child.
Key features include: development delay; low self-esteem; lack of confidence; inappropriate emotional response.
• Sexual abuse – sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities including non-contact activities
Key features include: aggression; withdrawal; self harming, including eating disorders; inappropriate sexualised conduct; sexually explicit behaviour.
In cases of alleged abuse or harm children and young people have the right to be protected from significant harm under the children’s act 1989 and every child matters 2004.
They have the right to be involved in decisions that are being made about them and should be kept fully informed of processes involving them, while also being allowed to express their own views and opinions.
For a child or young person who is suspected of being abused, then the primary concern will to ensure that the child is protected from further abuse and the child’s welfare will be the priority. Wherever possible the child may be allowed to remain in their family home and protection will be achieved by working with the child’s parents or carers without the need to remove the child.
However, if they are suffering from physical or sexual abuse then they will be removed from their home to protect them from any further harm.
Parents or carers have a right to be informed what is being said and to contribute their own views and opinions, however if the child or young person is suffering significant harm then the parents or carers have no immediate rights.
Whistleblowing is the term used to describe when a practitioner tell someone a concern over a colleague who performs poor practice. This concern can range from a colleague who is negligent and putting a child in danger to a colleague who is bullying or abusing a child. The practitioner who is whistleblowing must not ignore poor practice as they have a duty to report their concerns. Practitioners must report their concerns to their supervised or a named member of staff, it is good practice to write up your concerns and give full details of the event or events. If you whistleblow you are legally protected and be fully supported by your supervisor or manager.
According to the local safeguarding board regulations 2006, serious case reviews will be required in situations where a child has died due to known or suspected abuse or neglect. Sometimes reviews may be carried out where a child has been seriously harmed or suffered life threatening injuries.
Serious case reviews are used for agencies to discuss the case together and to determine the lessons which are to be learned about the way in which professionals have worked and which can work together in the future. A report will then be written which will be made public so that recommendations are known when undertaking a serious case review. The process to follow is in the DCSF publication working together to safeguard children 2010. Serious case reviews are crucial as they examine all agencies involved to ensure that they are actively involved and working together as they should be. When professionals are found to be negligent in their involvement or procedures, the review is able to highlight where the mistakes were made.