01527 912333

Safeguarding Children Policy

The Designated Safeguarding Co-ordinatior (DSL) at the nursery is: Pauline Baker (Nursery Manager)

Policy Aim

At My First Friends we provide a safe and secure environment for children protecting them from harm and where a concern of abuse is highlighted that it is appropriately responded to in line with this policy.

The nursery will:

  • Ensure that children are never placed at risk while in the charge of nursery staff
  • Ensure that confidentiality is maintained at all times, and information shared on a need to know basis.
  • Ensure that all staff are alert to the signs of abuse, understand what is meant by safeguarding 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 staff are familiar and updated regularly with child protection issues and procedures
  • Ensure parents are fully aware of child protection policies and procedures when they register with the nursery and kept informed of all updates when they occur
  • Keep the child at the centre of all we do
  • Regularly review and update this policy.

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’)

We at My First Friends will 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.

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.

Our policy is consistent with Worcestershire Safeguarding children board guidance.

Role of the Designated Safeguarding Lead

It is the responsibility of the Designated Safeguarding Lead (Pauline Baker) to work with staff and parents to actively safeguard children and make referrals to the appropriate agencies should there be a concern that a child is at risk of harm or if a disclosure is received.

In her absence the following people can be contacted within the setting: Leanne Savage (team Leader) or Catriona Savage (Managing Director)

We will safeguard children in the following ways:

  • Rigorous Recruitment and selection process. This will include at least 2 satisfactory references, an enhanced DBS check and proof of identity.
  • Thorough induction for staff and a student induction whereby they will be informed of their roles and responsibilities with regard to child protection.
  • All new staff will be on a six month probation period, where they will receive regular reviews with a member of the senior team.
  • The designated person will undertake in-depth child protection training and all other staff will undertake in house training or external training.
  • All staff will undertake regular supervision and appraisal.

My First Friends Day Nursery has a clear commitment to protecting children and promoting welfare. Should anyone believe that this policy is not being upheld, it is their duty to report the matter to the attention of the Nursery Manager at the earliest opportunity.

The legal framework for this policy is based on:

  • Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006
  • Children Act 2006
  • Working Together to Safeguard children 2015
  • EYFS Welfare Requirements 2014

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 statement 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.

Types of abuse

Abuse and neglect are forms of maltreatment of a child. Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by harming them, or by failing to act to prevent harm. Children may be abused within a family, institution, or community setting by those known to them or a stranger. This could be an adult or adults, another child or children.

The signs and indicators listed below may not necessarily indicate that a child has been abused, but will help us to recognise that something may be wrong, especially if a child shows a number of these symptoms or any of them to a marked degree.

Procedures

Physical abuse

Physical abuse may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating, or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces, illness in a child.

Emotional abuse

Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve conveying to children that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person. It may include not giving the child opportunities to express their views, deliberately silencing them or ‘making fun’ of what they say or how they communicate. It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children. These may include interactions that are beyond the child’s developmental capability, as well as overprotection and limitation of exploration and learning, or preventing the child participating in normal social interaction. It may involve seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another. It may involve serious bullying (including cyber bullying), causing children frequently to feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of maltreatment of a child, though it may occur alone.

Sexual abuse

Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, not necessarily involving a high level of violence, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including assault by penetration (for example, rape or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts such as masturbation, kissing, rubbing and touching outside of clothing. They may also include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, sexual images, watching sexual activities, encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways, or grooming a child in preparation for abuse (including via the internet). Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by adult males. Women can also commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children.

Neglect

Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development.
Neglect may occur during pregnancy as a result of maternal substance abuse. Once a Child is born, neglect may involve a parent or carer failing to: provide adequate food, clothing and shelter (including exclusion from home or abandonment); protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger; ensure adequate supervision (including the use of inadequate care-givers); or ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment. It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.

This is not a definitive list; we are aware and would respond to other types of abuse.

Indicators of child abuse

  • Failure to thrive and meet developmental milestones
  • Fearful or withdrawn
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Unexplained injuries to a child or conflicting reports from parents or staff
  • Repeated injuries
  • Unaddressed illness or injuries

(Definition taken from the HM Government document ‘Working together to safeguard children)

Recording suspicions of abuse and disclosures

Staff should make an objective record (supported by the Nursery Manager/Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) of any observation or disclosure this will 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 injuries or marks seen
  • Exact observation of an incident including any other witnesses
  • Any discussion held with parent (where deemed appropriate).

These records should be signed by the person reporting this, dated and kept in a separate confidential file.

If a child starts to talk to an adult about potential abuse it is important not to promise the child complete confidentiality. This promise cannot be kept. It is vital that the child is allowed to talk openly and disclosure in not forced or words put into the child’s mouth. As soon as possible after the disclosure it is vital details are logged down accurately.

It may be thought necessary that through discussion with all concerned the matter needs to be raised with the Access Centre and/or Ofsted, and/or an Early Help assessment completed. Staff involved will be asked to supply details of any information they have concerns with regard to a child. The nursery expects all members of staff to co-operate with the Access Centre and Ofsted in any way necessary to ensure the safety of the children.

Professional Disagreements

A disagreement may arise between practitioners about the interpretation of the known facts, about the nature and severity of risk to a child and/or about the most appropriate means to reduce the risk.

It is important that a professional discussion takes place to identify areas of agreement and disagreement.

Any practitioner can make a referral to the Access Centre if they are in disagreement with the DSL and feel the child is at risk.

Disagreement may arise at the referral stage when the referrer feels that there is clear evidence that a child is at risk, but the professionals within the Access Centre feels that the matter does not meet the criteria for assessment. If the referrer is unhappy about the response of the Access Centre they should discuss the matter with the settings DSL who will raise the issue with the Team Manager within the Access Centre.

How to make referrals to The Access Centre (Children’s Social Care)

Where there are safeguarding concerns, we will contact The Access Centre (Children’s Social Care). If you have a concern about a child you will then be transferred to a qualified Social Worker who will talk through your concerns. In those very rare emergencies which require an instant response, we will contact the Police on 999.

The referral should be made to the team in the area where the child lives. If uncertain, contact the Access Centre who will be able to assist and advise.

To make a referral telephone the Access Centre on the number below and then this is to be followed up in writing within 24 hours by completion of a referral form. This can be accessed: www.worcestershire.gov.uk/FrameworkiEHForm/AccessCentreForm.aspx

Worcestershire Access Centre (Children’s Social Care) Phone number Email address
Access Centre 01905 768054 (8.30-5.00pm) childrensteam@worcestershire.gov.uk
ChildrensTeamAdmin@worcestershire.gcsx.gov.uk
(secure email)
Outside office hours the Emergency Duty Team can be contacted on 01905 768020

Concerns regarding Domestic Abuse

‘Working together to safeguard children – section 23’

We have a duty of care to safeguard all of the children in the setting and if a parent/carer or member of staff discloses that they are being subject to Domestic Abuse or we have reason to believe a child may be at risk in the home we will report our concerns to Children’s Social Care Services. 

Informing parents

Parents are normally the first point of contact. If a suspicion of abuse is recorded, parents are informed at the same time as the report is made, except where the guidance of the BSCB does not allow this. This will usually be the case where the parent or family member is the likely abuser, or where a child may be endangered by this disclosure. In these cases the investigating officers will inform parents.

Confidentiality

All suspicions, enquiries and external investigations are kept confidential and shared only with those who need to know.  Any information is shared under the guidance of the BSCB.

Support to families

  • The nursery takes every step in its power to build up trusting and supportive relations among families, staff and volunteers within the nursery
  • The nursery continues to welcome the child and the family whilst enquiries are being made in relation to abuse in the home situation. Parents and families will be treated with respect in a non-judgmental manner whilst any external investigations are carried out in the best interests of the child
  • Confidential records kept on a child are shared with the child's parents or those who have parental responsibility for the child, only if appropriate under the guidance of the BSCB with the condition that the care and safety of the child is paramount; we will do all in our power to support and work with the child's family.

Supporting children on a child protection plan

We will work in a multi agency capacity to support children who are subject to a child protection plan including attendance at meetings and if any presenting concerns reporting them to the allocated Social worker and if they are not available on that day we will contact their team manager

Staffing and volunteering

It is the policy of the nursery to provide a secure and safe environment for all children. The nursery will therefore not allow an adult to be left alone with a child who has not received their enhanced CRB disclosure clearance.

All staff working in the setting will attend safeguarding training, and receive initial basic training during their induction period. This will include the procedures for spotting signs and behaviours of abuse and abusers, recording and reporting concerns and creating a safe and secure environment for the children in the nursery.

  • We have a robust Safe recruitment policy and procedure in place
  • We provide adequate and appropriate staffing resources to meet the needs of children
  • We abide by Ofsted requirements in respect of references and enhanced DBS checks for staff and volunteers, to ensure that no disqualified person or unfit person works at the nursery or has access to the children
  • All college students will have enhanced DBS disclosures conducted on them before their placement starts
  • Volunteers, including students, do not work unsupervised
  • We abide by the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act (2006) requirements in respect of any person who is dismissed from our employment, or resigns in circumstances that would otherwise have lead to dismissal for reasons of child protection concern
  • We have procedures for recording the details of visitors to the nursery and take security steps to ensure that we have control over who comes into the nursery, so that no unauthorised person has unsupervised access to the children
  • All visitors/contractors will be accompanied whilst on the premises, especially when in the areas the children use
  • All staff have access to a whistle blowing policy which will enable them to share any concerns that may arise about their colleagues in an appropriate manner
  • All staff will receive regular supervision meetings where opportunities will be made available to discuss child protection training and any needs for further support. Staff will also be required to sign a declaration during their supervision to state they remain suitable to work with children and are not disqualified or disqualified by association.
  • The deployment of staff within the nursery allows for constant supervision and support.

Mobile Phone & Camera Use

No mobile phones are allowed to be used within the main nursery by staff, parent/carers or visitors. Further details in relation to Mobile phones and cameras can be found in the mobile phone and camera use policy.

Code of Conduct

Refer to code of conduct and internet and computer use policy for guidelines in relation to social media use.

Under 18’s

(This will also relate to trainees, students and volunteers)

  • Under 18’s are afforded the protection of this policy
  • It will be wholly inappropriate for relationships between staff and anyone under the age of 18 who is within our setting. Should this relationship become of a sexual nature it could be constructed as abuse of power over the young person.

No babysitting policy

To ensure children are treated equally and no favouritism is shown, My First Friends operates a no baby sitting policy. By operating a no baby sitting policy we are actively safeguarding our staff and all the children in our care.

Allegation made against a member of staff.

What to do if you have an allegation or serious concerns against a person in a position of trust

  • Do not attempt to complete your own investigation
  • The DSL should Contact the Access Centre on 01905 768054. If the allegation is about the DSL then the Deputy DSL or registered person should report the allegation to the Access Centre/Ofsted
  • Adhere to your settings safeguarding policy regarding concerns around a person in a position of trust
  • Inform Ofsted – 0300 123 1231, if the allegation is made out of office hours contact the emergency duty team children’s social care – 01905 768020
  • Inform the person that an allegation has been made against them. DO NOT inform the person the nature of the allegation made.

As part of regular supervisions, staff will be asked to declare if they have committed, been investigated for, convicted of or have pending any offence or act, or if they are disqualified by association and that they do not live with anyone who is disqualified. This includes any Convictions / Cautions for Assault, Violent Offences, Sexual Offences and Drug Related Offences. Employees are also made aware during supervision that if they commit a crime or are accused of committing a crime they must inform the Nursery Manager immediately who will then follow the appropriate procedures in line with Ofsted and working together to safeguard children guidance as outlined within company policy and procedure.

If an allegation is made against a member of staff, we will follow the HM Government guidance in ‘Working together to safeguard children – section 22’

The allegation should be reported to the senior manager on duty. If this person is the subject of the allegation then this should be reported to the owner instead.

  • If a concern arises against a person in a position of trust, that raises a query as to their suitability to work with children we will take the person to one side and inform them an allegation has been made against them.
  • We will not at this point tell the person the nature of the allegation.
  • The Nursery Manager/Managing Director will conduct a Risk Assessment to determine whether the staff member should be suspended. If the staff member is suspended they will be suspended without prejudice, pending an external investigation or a further risk assessment.
  • We will ensure someone in the organisation is designated to offer support to the member of staff.
  • If the parent of the child is not already aware of the concern we will immediately inform them (ensuring where possible that confidentiality of all parties is maintained).
  • Staff members will be advised that they may not contact the staff member whilst the investigation takes place.
  • We will contact the Access Centre immediately for advice and guidance.
  • We will then inform Ofsted of the concern and our action to date.
  • We will co-operate fully at all times with any external investigation which may include multi agency “position of trust meeting” coordinated by the LADO (Local Authority Designated Officer) and will take on board any advice given in relation to the allegation.
  • If the allegation is founded the member of staff will be taken through the disciplinary procedure and dismissed accordingly. The independent safeguarding authority (ISA) will then be informed as directed by the Worcestershire Safeguarding Children Board (WSCB)
  • If the case is unfounded we will follow advice given by the (LADO) Local Authority Designated Officer
  • Support will be provided to all those involved in an allegation throughout the external investigation in line with LADO support and advice
  • All enquiries/external investigations/interviews will be documented and kept in a locked file
  • All records will be kept until the person reaches normal retirement age or for 10 years if that is longer. This will ensure accurate information is available for references and future DBS questions and avoid any unnecessary re-investigation
  • The nursery retains the right to dismiss any member of staff in connection with founded allegations following an inquiry
  • Counselling will be available for any member of the nursery who is affected by an allegation, their colleagues in the nursery and the parents.

Referral to the Disclosure and barring service

As a professional childcare setting we are under a legal duty to notify the DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) of relevant information, so that individuals who pose a threat to vulnerable groups can be identified and barred from working with these groups.

The above process is only to be followed when concerns arise around “Persons in a position of trust”