What is Child Protection?
The Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 states that all children in Scotland have the right to be protected from abuse or neglect. This also means that all children and young people have the right to be cared for an protected from harm and to grow up in a safe environment where their rights and needs are respected.
How will staff protect my child?
Our early learning and childcare managers and practitioners are required to comply with legislation and national guidance and record and report concerns regarding a child’s welfare or safety.
Willow Den’s Safeguarding and Child Protection policy and procedures are in place to keep all our children protected, cared for and safe from harm. The policy also acts so that staff know what to do in the event of any safeguarding or child protection incident, and so that families know what to expect.
You can read the key guidance for anyone working with children in Scotland here: National guidance for child protection in Scotland (Scottish Government, 2014).
Article 19 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child states:
“Parties shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and emotional measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child.”
This means that staff will act quickly and responsibly in any instance that may come to our attention. All staff will work with other agencies, including as part of a multi-agency team where needed, in the best interests of the child.
What is the process if staff have concerns about a child’s welfare?
If we have concerns about a child’s safety, or a child has made a disclosure to one of our staff team or third party, we will take the following steps;
- Any concerns will be raised with the designated Child Protection Coordinator, at Willow Den this is the Manager in the first instance. Information may come either by the child indicating or disclosing harm; a third-party disclosure of harm or concern; staff concerns that a child could be or has been harmed; staff witnessing something that has given cause for concern for the child’s wellbeing.
- The Child Protection Coordinator has a duty to inform the CEO immediately or as soon as practicable.
- If there appear to be any queries regarding the circumstances and/or the concerns relate to the parents, it will be immediately reported to the nursery manager or person designated with the lead in child protection (Child Protection Coordinator) who will immediately refer the matter to the Child Protection Team in the local authority.
- Initial information should be gathered and basic facts established that relate to that concern: what, where, when and by whom.
- Confidential records will be made. It is the responsibility of the staff member to make an objective record of any observation or disclosure (supported by the CPO). This record should include:
- Child’s name
- Child’s address
- Age of the child and date of birth
- Date and time of the observation or the disclosure
- Exact words spoken by the child
- Exact position and type of any injuries or marks seen
- Exact observation of any incident including any other witnesses
- Name of the person to whom any concern was reported, with date and time and the names of any other person present at the time
- Any discussion held with parent.
These records should be signed by the person reporting this and the CPC, dated and kept in a separate confidential file.
Staff are required to Listen, Respond, Report and Record
If a child starts to talk to an adult about potential abuse, it is important that staff do not promise the child complete confidentiality. Staff have a legal responsibility to respond, record and report. It is vital that the child is allowed to talk openly, and disclosure is not forced or words put into the child’s mouth. As soon as possible after the disclosure, details must be logged accurately.
It may be thought necessary that after discussion with all concerned the matter needs to be raised with the Child Protection Team. Staff involved may be asked to supply details of any information they have, or concerns about with regard to a child. The nursery expects all members of staff to co-operate with the Child Protection Team, the police and/or the Care Inspectorate in any way necessary to ensure the safety of the child.
Staff must not comment either publicly or in private about a parent’s or staff’s alleged or actual behaviour.
If a child is deemed to be at immediate risk, we will contact the Police on 999.
Willow Den aims to:
- Ensure that all staff are registered with the SSSC and have completed an enhanced disclosure check, prior to starting in their role.
- Ensure all staff have two complete, satisfactory reference checks prior to starting in their role.
- Ensure that all staff undertake Willow Den approved training for dealing with safeguarding and child protection issues, relevant to their own role in the organisation.
- Ensure all staff have read and acknowledged the local authority guidance alongside our full Child Protection Policy and Procedures
- Ensure that all staff are aware of the indicators of concern when dealing with young children.
- Ensure that all volunteers and students are supervised at all times.
- Ensure that children are never placed at risk while in the charge of nursery staff.
- Ensure that adult to child ratios are always adhered to.
- 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. Policies and procedures will be available for parents to see at any time, a copy kept on site at the nursery and e-copies available if requested.
- Ensure that all staff have had relevant risk management training, such as Outdoor First Aid, risk benefit/assessment training.
- Ensure all staff are aware of the visitors procedure and that these are adhered to.
- All children will be allocated a keyworker when they start at the nursery.
- Staff will follow the GIRFEC approach to wellbeing and the SHANARRI indicators to measure our children’s wellbeing.
At Willow Den, we keep the child at the centre of all we do, providing sensitive interactions that build children’s well-being, confidence and resilience. We will support children to develop an awareness of how to keep themselves safe, healthy and have positive relationships.
What if my child doesn’t attend nursery for any reason?
Parents should please inform the nursery prior to their children taking holidays or days off, and all sickness should be called into the nursery on the day, so the nursery management is able to account for a child’s absence. This should not stop parents from taking precious time with their children but enables children’s attendance to be logged so we know the child is safe.
Where a child is part of a child protection plan, or during a referral process, any absences will immediately be reported to the Child Protection Team to ensure the child remains safeguarded.
Who is responsible for Child Protection at Willow Den?
Each nursery has a named person within the nursery who coordinates child protection and welfare issues. This is usually the Child Protection Coordinator, they undertake specific training and access regular updates to developments within this field.
All Child Protection and Safeguarding investigations are kept confidential and shared only with those who need to know. Any information is shared under the guidance of the Child Protection team. All staff, students and volunteers are bound by confidentiality and any information will not be discussed out of work, or this will become a disciplinary matter.
The nursery has due regard to the data protection principles as in the Data Protection Act 2018 and General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).
These do not prohibit the collection and sharing of personal information, even without consent if this would put the child at further risk. We will follow the principles around data collection and information sharing, and ensure any information is recorded and shared in an appropriate way.
Useful contact telephone numbers
- Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) 03456030891
- Local authority social services CEC Social Care Direct 0131 200 2324
- Child Protection Team Falkirk Council 01324 506 070
- Child Protection Team Stirling Council 01786 471 177
- Non-emergency police 101.
- If a child is at immediate risk, contact the Police on 999.