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Policy on Child Protection

Rationale

We are committed to the prevention of child abuse and neglect and to the protection of all children. The safety and wellbeing of the child will always be given priority when investigating suspected or alleged abuse.

We support the roles of the Police and the Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki in the investigation of suspected abuse and will report suspected/alleged abuse to these agencies. We support families to protect their children.

We provide a safe environment, free from physical, emotional, verbal or sexual abuse.

Purpose

Child abuse and neglect is not acceptable. Children need our protection. Where protection is not adequately provided by the adults responsible for the child, others need to step in to ensure the child receives adequate protection.

Definitions

Child Abuse is defined in the Children Young Persons and their Families Act as “the harming (whether physically, emotionally, or sexually), ill-treatment, abuse, neglect or deprivation of any child or young person.”

Neglectis a pattern of behaviour which occurs over a period of time and results in impaired functioning or development of a child. It is the failure to provide for a child’s basic needs.

Neglect may be:

  • Physical - failure to provide necessary basic needs of food, shelter or warmth
  • Medical - failure to seek, obtain or follow through with medical care for the child
  • Abandonment - leaving a child young person in any situation without arranging necessary care for them and with no intention of returning
  • Neglectful supervision – failure to provide developmentally appropriate or legally required supervision
  • Refusal to assume parental responsibility - unwillingness or inability to provide appropriate care for a child.”

From Child Matters website:childmatters.org.nz

Procedures

The Manager will:

  • Always prioritise the safety and wellbeing of the child.
  • Maintain confidentiality. Failure of staff to comply with this policy will be regarded as serious misconduct.
  • Respect the rights of those involved during any investigation.
  • Maintain and increase staff awareness of how to prevent, recognise and respond to abuse, including learning about appropriate and inappropriate touching.
  • Immediately investigate and fully and objectively record in writing, any reports of incidents, allegations or suspicions of child abuse. The Manager will, where appropriate, seek the assistance of the Ministry of Education, the Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki and/or other professional agencies in order to conduct a full investigation.
  • Report child abuse to the Police or the Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki.
  • Inform parents after discussing the best way to do this with Police or Oranga Tamariki advisors. If a family member or close associate of the family or whãnau is suspected of child abuse, the parent(s) may not initially be informed, but the centre will ensure that the information is disclosed by an appropriate person at an appropriate time.
  • Suspend a staff member under suspicion until a full investigation can be completed.
  • Carry out police vetting checks in accordance with the Education Standards Act 2001 on staff before appointing them.
  • Give no persons, other than employed staff over the age of 17 years, tasks that involve nappy changing, toileting or responsibility for the supervision of children.
  • Ensure that staff and other adults visiting or working in the centre are well supported and visible in the activities they perform with children. While the centre respects the privacy of our children, staff and visitors, visibility will be given priority to ensure the safety of all concerned.
  • Respond appropriately to a child who initiates physical contact in seeking affection, reassurance or comfort. It is not appropriate to force any form of unwanted affection/touching on a child. Touching should not be initiated to gratify adult needs.
  • Ensure no child is taken from the centre by any staff member or adult, without the permission of a parent, except in the case of an emergency where clearance has been obtained from the Manager or Team Leaders.
  • Maintain appropriate records.
  • Ensure the Centre’s procedures protect staff from unjustified allegations of abuse.
  • Ensure the Centre has resources for children and adults on child abuse.

Staff will:

  • Always prioritise the safety and wellbeing of the child.
  • Familiarise themselves with this centre policy.
  • Immediately notify the Manager if they observe signs of child abuse or anyone reports to them any suspicions of child abuse of children at the Centre, or a pattern of neglect or concerns is identified.
  • Maintain confidentiality. Failure of staff to comply with this policy will be regarded as serious misconduct.
  • Respond appropriately to a child who initiates physical contact in seeking affection, reassurance or comfort. It is not appropriate to force any form of unwanted affection/touching on a child. Touching should not be initiated to gratify adult needs.
  • Never take a child from the Centre without the permission of a parent, except in the case of an emergency where clearance has been obtained from the Manager or Team Leaders.

Protected Disclosure

When a staff member or associate brings a case of child abuse to the attention of the center or the authorities, our centre will not disclose the name of the person without their permission unless it is to the Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki or the Police and is necessary to do so in the interests of the child.