Blofield Preschool

Child Protection Policy

What is the difference between a Safeguarding Policy and a Child Protection Policy?

Blofield Preschool’s Safeguarding Policy covers the practices we employ to keep the children safe and to promote their well-being (ie, preventing harm). This Child Protection Policy describes the activities we will undertake to protect specific children who are suffering or likely to suffer significant harm (ie, how we identify and respond to harm). This Policy should be read in conjunction with Blofield Preschool’s other related policies:

o Safeguarding Policy

o Social Media Policy

o Camera and Mobile Phones Policy

Our aim

We aim to protect children from harm and promote their welfare under the guidance of The Children Act 2004 and the Working Together to Safeguard Children Act December 2020. In line with our Safeguarding Policy, we want to protect children from maltreatment, and ensure that children are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care. Educators have a duty to protect and promote the welfare of children. Due to the hours of care, our staff will often be the first people to sense there is a problem. They may well be the first people in whom our children confide in about abuse.

Types of abuse

The types of abuse listed below may be abuse that we suspect is being directly imposed on a child, or it may be abuse that we suspect is occurring within a child’s household (for example, a parent) which will impact on the child’s emotional wellbeing.

Emotional abuse

· Emotional abuse is any type of abuse that involves continual emotional mistreatment of a child (sometimes called psychological abuse). It often forms part of other types of abuse.

· Includes:

o Humiliating or constantly criticising a child

o Threatening, shouting at a child or calling them names

o Making a child the subject of jokes or using sarcasm to hurt a child

o Blaming and scapegoating

o Making a child perform degrading acts

o Not recognising a child’s own individuality or trying to control their lives

o Pushing a child too far or not recognising their limitations

o Exposing a child to upsetting events or situations, like domestic abuse or drug taking

o Failure to promote a child’s social development

o Not allowing a child to have friends

o Persistently ignoring a child

o Being absent

o Manipulating a child

o Never saying anything kind, expressing positive feelings or congratulating on successes

o Never showing any emotions or interactions with a child.

· Emotional abuse often occurs as a result of a child witnessing other abuse within the household, for example, domestic abuse or substance abuse.

Neglect

· Neglect is defined as the ‘persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical, emotional and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development’.

· Neglect can include a parent/carer failing to provide adequate food, clothing and shelter (including exclusion from home or abandonment); failing to protect a child from physical or emotional harm or danger; failing to ensure inadequate supervision (including the use of inadequate care-givers); or failing to ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment. It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.

· Neglect is characterised by the absence of a relationship of care between the parent/care and the child, and the failure to prioritise the needs of their child.

· A neglected child is likely to have difficulties with basic trust; self-esteem; ability to control their behaviour; social interaction; educational attainment; and problem-solving.

· There is rarely a single incident or crisis that draws attention to the family. It is repeated, persistent neglectful behaviour that causes incremental damage over a period of time.

Physical abuse

· Physical abuse is when someone intentionally hurts or harms a child or young person. It includes:

o Hitting with hands or objects

o Slapping, punching, kicking, shaking, throwing

o Poisoning

o Burning and scalding

o Biting and scratching

o Breaking bones

o Drowning

o Making up symptoms of an illness or causing a child to become unwell.

Sexual abuse

· Child sexual abuse covers a range of illegal sexual activities, including:

o Possessing images of a child being sexually abused

o Forcing a child to strip or masturbate

o Engaging in any kind of sexual activity in front of a child (including watching pornography)

o Taking, downloading, viewing or distributing sexual images of children

o Encouraging a child to perform sexual acts in front of a webcam

o Not taking measures to protect a child from witnessing sexual activity or images

o Inappropriately sexual touching of a child, whether clothed or unclothed

o Penetrative sex

Substance abuse

· Parents who misuse substances have the potential to cause serious harm to children at any age.

· Substances include: illegal drugs, alcohol, illicitly used prescription drugs, new psychoactive substances (legal highs), and volatile substances (solvents and gases).

Domestic abuse

· This includes any incident or pattern of incidents, of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse, between individuals aged 16 or over who have been intimate partners or family members.

· It can encompass (but is not limited to): psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional abuse.

· Can also include so called ‘honour’ based violence, female genital mutilation (FGM) or forced marriage.

· Victims are not confined to one gender or ethnic group.

· Prolonged or regular exposure to domestic violence and abuse can have a serious impact on a child’s development and emotional wellbeing, despite the best efforts of the victim parent to protect the child.

Forced marriage

· This is where one or both spouses do not consent to the arrangement of the marriage and some elements of duress are involved. Duress can include physical, psychological, financial, sexual or emotional pressure. A forced marriage can result in ongoing domestic abuse, both from one of the spouses and/or the extended family.

· There is a clear difference between a forced marriage and arranged marriage. Arranged marriage is where the families of both spouses take a leading role in arranging the marriage, but the choice of whether to accept the arrangement remains with the young people.

· Children being brought up in a forced marriage household can often witness one of their parents being abused, which can be traumatic to the child and will affect their emotional wellbeing.

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

· FGM is a collective term for procedures which include the removal of part or all of the external female genitalia, for cultural or other non-theraputic reasons. This practice is medically unnecessary, extremely painful and has serious health consequences (both at the time carried out and later on in life). FGM is illegal in the UK.

· FGM is typically performed on girls between the age of 5-8 years old, but in some cases is performed on new-born babies or on young women before marriage or pregnancy.

· Victims are most likely to come from communities that are known to be higher risk of practicing FGM. These include Kenyan, Somali, Sudenese, Serro Leonean, Egyptian, Nigerian, Eritrean. Non-African communities include Yemeni, Afghani, Kurdish, Indonisia and Pakistani.

· Signs of FGM having been performed are:

o Having difficulty walking, sitting or standing

o May spend longer in the toilet than normal due to difficulties urinating

o May have frequent uninary problems

o Prolonged absences from Preschool

o Withdrawal/depression

o Parent may be reluctant to allow child to undergo normal medical examination.

· Remember, this is a one-off act of abuse on a child, although it will have life-long consequences – it is highly dangerous at the time of the procedure and afterwards.

· If there is a concern that a child is at risk from FGM, it must be reported to our Safeguarding Lead (Preschool Manager) immediately, for ongoing reporting to CADS and/or Norfolk Constabulary (see Making a Referral section).

Indicators of child abuse

The following is a list of possible indicators of child abuse:

· Failure to thrive and meet developmental milestones

· Fearful or withdrawn tendencies or struggles to control emotions

· Aggressive behaviour, or unusually quiet or extremely shy, or over-familiar with new people, or obsessive behaviour.

· Evidence of bed-wetting, nightmares or reluctance to leave their parents.

· Child appears frightened of a parent/carer – may dislike them or seem afraid and try to avoid being alone with them

· Sexually inappropriate behaviour or use sexually inappropriate language

· Physical problems such as soreness in their genital or anal areas

· Child takes on board a parenting role within the family

· Unexplained injuries to a child, or conflicting reports from parents/carers or staff

· Bruises, broken or fractured bones, burns or scalds, bite marks, scarring

· Effects of poisoning such as vomiting, drowsiness or seizures

· Breathing problems from drowning, suffocation or poisoning

· Head injuries, including swelling, bruising, fractures, being extremely sleepy or unconscious, breathing problems, seizures, vomiting, unusual behaviour such as being irritable or not feeding properly

· Repeated injuries

· Unaddressed illnesses or injuries

· Child is smelly or dirty; clothing unwashed or inadequate (eg, not having a winter coat)

· Child seems particularly hungry (eg, not having had breakfast before arriving)

· Long-term or reoccurring skin sores, rashes, flea bites, scabies or ring worm

· Frequent and untreated nappy rash

· Family not registered with a GP, or no record of vaccinations

· Attendance is sporadic

· Child giving hints or clues about abuse without revealing it outright.

A child disclosing abuse

If a child starts to talk to a staff member about potential abuse, it is important not to promise the child complete confidentiality – this promise cannot be kept. It is vital that the child can talk openly, and disclosure is not forced, or words put into the child’s mouth. Listen carefully to what the child is saying. Do not ask the child to repeat the information to a colleague. If a child has an injury but no explanation is volunteered, it is acceptable to enquire how the injury was sustained. However the child must not be pressed for information, led or cross-examined.

As soon as possible after the disclosure, it is vital that details are logged down accurately.

Parental Consultation

In general, we should discuss concerns with the family and, where possible, seek the family’s agreement to make the referral, unless this may, either by delay or the behavioural response it prompts, or for any other reason, place the child at increased risk of suffering or likely to suffer significant harm. Any decision to not seek parental permission before making contact with CADS must be approved by the Preschool Manager, recorded and the reasons given.

Where a parent has agreed to a referral, this must be shared with CADS at the time of calling. Where a parent is consulted and refuses to give permission for the referral, further advice and approval should be sought from the Preschool Manager (unless to do so would cause undue delay).

If having taken full account of the parent’s wishes, it is still considered there is a need for a referral, the reason for proceeding without parental agreement must be recorded, CADS should be told that the parent has withheld their permission; and the parent should be contacted to inform them that after considering their wishes, a referral has been made.

Making a referral

We must immediately contact (via telephone) the Children’s Advice and Duty Service (CADS) if it is believed or suspected that a child is suffering or is likely to suffer significant harm (ie, physical, sexual, emotional abuse and/or neglect) or any other type of abuse. Contact should be made, even if it is known that Children’s Social Care Services are already involved with the child/family.

CADS – 0344 800 8021 (or 0344 800 8020 if an emergency outside office hours – alternatively contact the police)

CADS will undertake further information gathering about the child and their family from relevant agencies and their own multi-agency records, and from this combination of information they will make a decision as to whether the case needs to be referred to the Assessment Team for a Social Work Assessment.

It is not our job to investigate a suspicion of abuse. We must report it and then allow the experts to investigate further. When in doubt, our concerns must be reported.

The person making the referral should include the following information if available (absence of information should not delay a referral):

o Full name, any aliases, date of birth, gender of child/children

o Full family address and any previous known addresses

o Identity of those with parental responsibility

o Names, date of birth and information about all household members, including other children and any significant people who live outside the child’s household

o Ethnicity, first language and religion of child/parents/carers

o Any need for an interpreter/signer/other communication aid

o Any special needs of child

o Any significant/important recent or historic events/incidents in the child or family’s life

o Has the child recently spent time abroad or recently arrived in the area

o Cause for concern including details of any allegations, their sources, timing and location

o The identity and current whereabouts of the suspected/alleged perpetrator

o The child’s current location and emotional and physical condition

o Whether the child is currently safe or is in need of immediate protection because of any approaching deadlines (ie, child is about to be collected by alleged abuser)

o The child’s account and the parents’ response to the concerns if known.

o The referrer’s relationship and knowledge of the child and parents/carers

o Known current or previous involvement of other agencies/professionals

o Information regarding parental knowledge of, and agreement to, the referral.

CADS will decide upon and record their next steps of action within one working day of receiving a contact. The outcomes will be:

o That the child appears to be a ‘child in need’ and there are concerns about the child’s health and development or concerns of significant harm which justify a Social Work Assessment; and/or

o That emergency protective action should be taken to safeguard the child; or

o Where the child is already known and new information suggests that the child may be suffering harm, a further enquiry and/or new or updated Assessment is required; or

o That an offer of early help or referral to another agency should be made; or

o That no further action is required.

Feedback on the outcome of the referral will be provided to the referrer, including where no further action is to be taken.

Cross-boundary referrals

If the referral relates to a child who is temporary visiting the area of another local authority or in hospital or ‘looked after’ outside of the local area, the local authority/policy for the area where the child actually is at the time, have prime responsibility for an initial response to the referral. The local authority will then liaise with the child’s home authority as to whom is best placed to undertake the enquiries.

Confidentiality

The overriding consideration must be the protection of the child. As such, absolute confidentiality cannot and should not be promised to anyone.

If suspicions or allegations are about relatives of the child or friends/colleagues within the work place, the concerns must not be discussed with them before making the referral.

Record Keeping

The referrer should keep a written record of:

o The child’s account

o Discussions with the parent

o Discussions with managers

o Information provided to CADS

o Decisions taken (clearly timed, dated and signed)

Records should be reviewed with regular intervals to ensure decisions are followed through.

When the child leaves us to attend another setting or starting school, we will arrange a meeting with the new setting/school’s manager/head, and will pass over a copy of our Child Protection records on that child. A record will be kept of the file transfer, including who holds the file and date of transfer, and relevant contact details.

Allegation against a member of staff or volunteer in relation to child protection/Whistle Blowing

We are committed to the highest possible standards and recognise that staff, students and volunteers are often the first to realise that there may be something wrong within the setting.

Where there are any allegations of serious harm or abuse by any person living, working or looking after children on the premises, or any other abuse which is alleged to have taken place on the premises, staff should inform the named Safeguarding Lead Practitioner (the Preschool Manager) who must contact the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) within one working day of receiving an allegation or concern by emailing LADO. We will also inform Ofsted within 14 days of any such allegations being made.

If the concerns are about the Safeguarding Lead Practitioner, then please contact the Deputy Lead Practitioner or Committee Chairperson.

The setting should not investigate allegations of serious harm or abuse. The LADO will discuss the case with the Manager and will oversee to its conclusion. The Local Authority Designated Officer can be contacted by email on LADO@norfolk.gov.uk

Support will be provided to all those involved in an allegation throughout the external investigation, in line with the authorities support and advice.

The Preschool reserves the right to suspend any member of staff during an investigation (unfounded allegations will result in all rights being reinstated).

Founded allegations will be dealt with in accordance with the guidance of the authorities, and may include termination of employment. We understand we have a duty to make a referral to the Government’s Disclosure and Barring Service where a member of staff is dismissed (or would have been had they not left first) because they have harmed a child or put at child at risk of harm. We will also inform Ofsted within 14 days of any allegations of serious harm or abuse of a child committed by any person looking after children on the premises (whether the offence happened on the premises or not) and where a member of staff is dismissed (or would have been had they not left first) because they have harmed a child or put at child at risk of harm.

Policy created: June 2021

Review date: June 2022

Email: blofieldpreschool@outlook.com Tel: 01603 712498 © Copyright - All Rights Reserved - Blofieldpreschool

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