Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy
Updated September 2021
Review Date: April 2022
The purpose of this policy statement is:
- To protect children and young people who receive Helping Kids Shine Occupational Therapy services from harm (this includes the children of adults who use our services)
- To provide staff and volunteers, as well as children and young people and their families, with the overarching principles that guide our approach to child protection.
This policy applies to anyone working on behalf of Helping Kids Shine.
This policy has been drawn up on the basis of legislation, policy and guidance that seeks to protect children in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. A summary of the key legislation is available from www.nspcc.org.uk/learning.
This policy statement should be read alongside the other Helping Kids Shine organisational polices, procedures, guidance and other related documents.
Helping Kids Shine recognises its legal duty. We take seriously our responsibilities to protect and safeguard the interests of all children. This organisation recognises that effective child protection work requires sound procedures, good inter-agency cooperation and a workforce that is competent and confident in responding to child protection situations.
These procedures aim to provide a framework which ensures that all our practice in regard to safeguarding children is consistent with the stated values and procedures that underpin all work with children and young people. Statutory guidance defines a child as anyone who has not yet reached their 18th Birthday.
Safeguarding and Promoting the Welfare of Children
The definition for Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children in Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015 is:
- protecting children from maltreatment
- preventing impairment of children’s health or development
- ensuring children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care
- taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes.
Where there is a safeguarding issue, Helping Kids Shine will work in accordance with the principles outlined in the Bridgend County Borough Council’s Safeguarding procedures, and also those of any other relevant Local Authorities where Helping Kids Shine may be engaged.
A child’s welfare is paramount. Each child has a right to be protected from harm and exploitation and to have their welfare safeguarded.
Each child is unique. Action taken by child welfare organisations should be child-centred, taking account of a child’s cultural, ethnic and religious background, their gender, their sexual orientation, their individual ability and any special needs.
Children, parents and other carers should be made aware of their responsibilities and their rights, together with advice about the power of professionals to intervene in their family circumstances.
Individual family members must be involved in decisions affecting them. They must be treated with courtesy and respect and with due regard given to working with them in a spirit of partnership in safeguarding children’s welfare. However, it may not be appropriate to advise parents/carers immediately about a referral depending on circumstances and the advice given by Children’s Social Care. The welfare of the child is paramount in such situations.
Each child has a right to be consulted about actions taken by others on his/her behalf in an age appropriate way. The concerns of children and their families should be listened to and due consideration given to their understanding, wishes and feelings. However, it may not always be possible to respect a child/carer’s request for confidentiality. If a child may be at risk of significant harm, there is a duty on the company to share information with Children’s Social Care. This will be explained to the child or family member and appropriate reassurance given.
Personal information is usually confidential. It should only be shared with the permission of the individual concerned (and/or those with parental responsibility) unless the disclosure of confidential personal information is necessary in order to protect a child or promote their welfare (see also section on confidentiality below). In all circumstances, information must be confined to those people directly involved in the professional network of each individual child and on a strict “need to know” basis.
Explanations by professionals to children, their families and other carers should be plainly stated and jargon-free. Unavoidable technical and professional terminology should be explained in simple terms.
Sound professional practice is based upon positive inter-agency collaboration, evidence-based research and effective supervision and evaluation.
Providing early support is an important principle of practice in inter-agency arrangements for safeguarding the welfare of children and enshrined in legislation and statutory guidance (Children’s Act 2004, Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015, Keeping Children Safe in Education 2015).
Helping Kids Shine will seek to keep children and young people safe by:
- valuing, listening to and respecting them
- adopting child protection and safeguarding best practice through our policies, procedures and code of conduct for staff and volunteers
- providing effective management for staff and volunteers through supervision, support, training and quality assurance measures so that all staff and volunteers know about and follow our policies, procedures and behaviour codes confidently and competently
- recruiting and selecting staff and volunteers safely, ensuring all necessary checks are made
- recording, storing and using information professionally and securely, in line with data protection legislation and guidance
- sharing information about safeguarding and good practice with children and their families via leaflets, posters, group work and one-to-one discussions
- making sure that children, young people and their families know where to go for help if they have a concern
- using our safeguarding and child protection procedures to share concerns and relevant information with agencies who need to know, and involving children, young people, parents, families and carers appropriately
- using our procedures to manage any allegations against staff and volunteers appropriately
- creating and maintaining an anti-bullying environment and ensuring that we have a policy and procedure to help us deal effectively with any bullying that does arise
- ensuring that we have effective complaints and whistleblowing measures in place
- ensuring that we provide a safe physical environment for our children, young people, staff and volunteers, by applying health and safety measures in accordance with the law and regulatory guidance
- building a safeguarding culture where staff and volunteers, children, young people and their families, treat each other with respect and are comfortable about sharing concerns.