The protection and welfare of children and vulnerable adults is of paramount importance to the nursery. Children and parents have a right to expect the nursery to provide a safe and secure environment and the nursery has a general duty for children’s welfare as part of our parent partnership role.
We support the children within our care, protect them from maltreatment and have robust procedures in place to prevent the impairment of children’s health and development. Safeguarding is a much wider subject than the elements covered within this single child protection policy, therefore this document should be used in conjunction with the other nursery policies and procedures.
Safeguarding is also enshrined in law under the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act (2006). In addition there are comprehensive government guidelines laid down in the Working Together to Safeguard Children (Department of Education, March 2010), DFE Guidance Safeguarding Children and Safer Recruitment in Education (Jan 2007) and Dealing with Allegations of Abuse against Teachers and Other Staff (August 2011), What to do if you are worried a child is being abused (DFES 2007).
There is also comprehensive local guidance provided by Lincolnshire County Council. Each area has a Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) to whom child protection issues can be referred.
This policy has been written in accordance with locally agreed inter-agency procedures and is available in the nursery reception and buggy park. It has also taken into consideration our obligations under the Early Years Foundation Stage. The key components of the policy are to:
- Ensure safe recruitment in checking the suitability of staff and volunteers to work with children.
- Raise awareness of child protection issues and equip children with the skills needed to keep them safe.
- Develop and then implement procedures for identifying and reporting cases, or suspected cases, of abuse.
- Establish a safe environment in which children can learn and develop.
- In accordance with his/her agreed child protection plan, supporting children who have been abused.Our nursery will work with children, parents, external agencies and the community to ensure the welfare and safety of children and to give them the very best start in life.
Children have the right to be treated with respect and to be safe from any abuse in whatever form. Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, for the sake of this policy is defined as:
- Protecting children from maltreatment
- Preventing the impairment of children’s health or development
- Ensuring that children are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care.
(Definition taken from the HM Government document ‘Working together to safeguard children’)
A child or young person up to the age of eighteen years is considered to be abused or at risk of abuse by parents or carers, if the basic needs of the child are not being met through avoidable acts of commission or omission so as to have caused or to have placed the child at risk of harm.
Principles of our Safeguarding Policy
Our policy has been written taking regard to the following principles:
- Every child has the right to be safe.
- Every child has the right to personal privacy.
- Every child has the right to be valued as an individual.
- Every child has the right to be treated with dignity and respect.
- Every child has the right to be involved and consulted in their own intimate care to the best of their abilities and where practicable.
- Every child has the right to express their views on their own intimate care and to have such views taken into account, where practicable.
Practitioners have a duty to protect and promote the welfare of children. Due to the many hours of care we are providing, staff will often be the first people to sense that there is a problem. They may well be the first people in whom children confide about abuse. The nursery has a duty to be aware that abuse does occur in our society.
This policy lays out the procedures that will be followed if we have any reason to believe that a child in our care is subject to welfare issues including physical, sexual, emotional abuse or neglect.
Our prime responsibility is the welfare and well-being of all children in our care. As such we believe we have a duty to the children, parents and staff to act quickly and responsibly in any instance that may come to our attention. All staff will work as part of a multi-agency team where needed in the best interests of the child. The nursery aims to:
- Ensure that children are never placed at risk while in the charge of nursery staff.
- Ensure that confidentiality is maintained at all times.
- Ensure safe recruitment practices are always followed.
- Ensure that all staff are alert to the signs of abuse, understand what is meant by child protection and are aware of the different ways in which children can be harmed including by other children i.e. bullying, discriminatory behaviour.
- Ensure that all fears or allegations of abuse are reported to the Designated Safeguarding Officer in the nursery. Also, that reports be referred to LADO (Local Authority Designated Officer) where necessary.
- Ensure that all staff are familiar and updated regularly with child protection issues and procedures.
- Develop effective links with relevant agencies and co-operate as required with their enquiries regarding child protection matters, including attending case conferences.
- Ensure parents are fully aware of child protection policies and procedures when they register with the nursery and are kept informed of all updates when they occur.
- Keep the child at the centre of all we do.
- Keep written records of concerns about children, even where there is no need to refer the matter immediately, and ensure all records are kept securely in confidential files.
- Provide immunity from retribution or disciplinary action against staff for ‘whistleblowing’ in good faith.
- See that this policy, the nursery’s procedures and the efficiency with which the related duties have been discharged, is reviewed at least annually by the management team in conjunction with the Local Authority.
- Have regard to the safeguarding procedures as outlined in the DFE Guidance Safeguarding Children and Safer Recruitment in Education (1 Jan 2007),Working Together to Safeguard Children (March 2010) and Dealing with Allegations of Abuse against Teachers and Other staff (August 2011 ).