Our Policies & Procedures
TAMARIKI (CHILD) PROTECTION
We have an obligation to ensure the wellbeing of tamariki (children) in our care and are committed to the protection of all tamariki and to the prevention of tamaiti (child) abuse and neglect. The safety and wellbeing of the tamariki is always our first priority.
We provide a safe environment, free from physical, emotional, verbal or sexual abuse.
We are committed to work with other agencies where necessary to respond to the needs of vulnerable tamariki and whānau.
Tamaiti abuse and neglect is not acceptable. Tamariki need our protection.
Prevention is always better than needing a cure. Adults need to be vigilant and provide protection to the tamariki in their care.
We have a key role to play in providing a safe environment for tamariki, free from physical, emotional, verbal or sexual abuse and also supporting whānau to protect their tamariki.
If we believe a tamaiti is in immediate danger, our kaiako will discuss this with the Manager or a Team leader, and they will phone New Zealand Police on 111.
If we are concerned about the wellbeing of a tamaiti, or want to discuss, report, or refer a concern, our kaiako will tell the Manager who will contact Oranga Tamariki:
- Phone 0508 EDASSIST (0508 332 774)
- Email email@example.com
If parents have concerns about the safety and wellbeing of a tamaiti then they should approach our Manager or a Team Leader. Discussions of such matters will need to take place in private.
Child Abuse is defined by Oranga Tamariki as “any child or young person that has been, or is likely to be, harmed (whether physically, emotionally, or sexually), ill-treated, abused, neglected or deprived”.
Child Abuse can be:
- Physical Abuse
- Emotional Abuse
- Verbal Abuse
- Sexual Abuse
Child Neglect “is 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: www.childmatters.org.nz
The Manager will:
- Always prioritise the safety and wellbeing of the tamariki.
- Maintain confidentiality.
- Respect the rights of those involved during any investigation.
- Maintain and increase kaiako awareness of how to prevent, recognise and respond to abuse, including learning about appropriate and inappropriate touching.
- Immediately investigate, fully and objectively, any reports of incidents, allegations or suspicions of tamaiti abuse and record in writing. The Manager will, where appropriate, seek the assistance of the Ministry of Education, Oranga Tamariki and/or other professional agencies in order to conduct a full investigation.
- Report tamariki abuse to the Police or 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 whānau is suspected of tamaiti abuse, the parent(s) may not initially be informed, but we 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 staff safety checking (including Police Vetting) in accordance with the Children’s (Requirements for Safety Checks of Children’s Workers) Regulations 2015
- Give no one, other than employed kaiako over the age of 17 years, tasks that involve nappy changing, toileting or responsibility for the supervision of tamariki.
- Ensure that kaiako and other adults visiting or working in the Centre are well supported and visible in the activities they perform with tamariki. While we respect the privacy of our tamariki, kaiako and visitors, visibility will be given priority to ensure the safety of all concerned.
- Respond appropriately to tamariki who initiates physical contact in seeking affection, reassurance or comfort. It is not appropriate to force any form of unwanted affection/touching on tamariki.
- Ensure no tamaiti is taken from the Centre by any kaiako or adult, without the permission of a parent, except in the case of an emergency.
- Maintain appropriate records.
- Ensure our procedures protect kaiako from unjustified allegations of abuse.
- Ensure we have resources for tamariki and adults on tamaiti abuse.
- Should a neglect or abuse situation occur or come to the attention of the Manager, and should a report/referral to Oranga Tamariki or the Police be made, we are also under an obligation to report the matter to the Ministry of Education (HS34).
- Always prioritise the safety and wellbeing of tamariki.
- Familiarise themselves with this policy.
- Immediately notify the Manager if they observe signs of tamaiti abuse or anyone reports to them any suspicions of tamaiti abuse of tamariki at the Centre, or a pattern of neglect or concerns is identified.
- Maintain confidentiality. Failure of kaiako to comply with this policy will be regarded as serious misconduct.
- Respond appropriately to tamariki who initiates physical contact in seeking affection, reassurance or comfort. It is not appropriate to force any form of unwanted affection/touching on a tamariki.
- Never take tamariki 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.
- When a kaiako or associate brings a case of tamaiti abuse to the attention of the Manager or the authorities, we will not disclose the name of the person without their permission unless it is to Oranga Tamariki or the Police and is necessary to do so in the interests of the tamaiti.
Preventing Contact, Identifying, and Responding to suspected abuse
If we suspect someone of tamaiti abuse, we must prevent them from coming into contact with any tamariki in our Centre. We may need to exclude them from our premises (see Regulation 56)
People who are unwell could be unwell physically or mentally. If we suspect someone of being physically or mentally unwell in a way that could pose a risk to tamariki, we prevent them from coming into contact with any tamariki in our Centre, which may involve excluding them from our premises (see Regulation 57):
Physical or mental unwellness includes:
- any physical or mental condition that could be dangerous (for example, strange or disturbing behaviour, aggression)
- any infectious or contagious disease or condition (for example, the flu or COVID-19)
Alcohol / Drugs:
We ensure that no adults in our Centre are abusing or are under the influence of alcohol or any other substance that has a detrimental effect on their behaviour or ability to function during opening hours (including drop-offs and pick-ups).
MAKING SURE ADULTS WITH ACCESS TO TAMARIKI ARE SAFE
We carry out a formal safety check on our kaiako and other staff before they start work in the Centre, and then re-check them every three years (see Part 3 of the Children’s Act).
Identifying and reporting real or potential cases of harm to tamariki
- For further information and contact details for agencies providing assistance: https://www.education.govt.nz/early-childhood/child-wellbeing-and-participation/child-protection/
- Anyone can report tamaiti abuse
- If a tamaiti is in danger, call 111
- Responding to a tamaiti when they discloses abuse or when there are concerns about abuse or neglect – a phone call to Oranga Tamariki to discuss appropriate next steps
- Responding to more general concerns about the wellbeing of a tamaiti, where referral to the statutory agencies (Oranga Tamariki or the Police) is not appropriate – e.g. referral to a whānau support agency in the community, such as Social Workers in Schools, Strengthening Families or Whānau Ora is more appropriate.
Process of Responding to a tamaiti when they disclose abuse:
1) Listen to the tamaiti
- Disclosures by tamariki are often subtle and need to be handled with particular care, including an awareness of their cultural identity and how that affects interpretation of their behaviour and language.
2) Reassure the tamaiti
Let the tamaiti know that they:
- Are not in trouble.
- Have done the right thing.
3) Ask open-ended prompts – e.g., “What happened next?”
- Do not interview the tamaiti (in other words, do not ask questions beyond open prompts for the tamaiti to continue). Do not make promises that can’t be kept, e.g., “I will keep you safe now”.
4) If the tamaiti is visibly distressed
- Provide appropriate reassurance and re-engage in appropriate activities under supervision until they are able to participate in ordinary activities.
5) If the tamaiti is not in immediate danger
- Re-involve the tamaiti in ordinary activities and explain what you are going to do next.
6) If the tamaiti is in immediate danger
- Contact the Police immediately
7) As soon as possible formally record the disclosure
- Word for word, what the tamaiti said.
- The date, time and who was present.
Responding to other concerns
Where a concern about a tamaiti doesn’t amount to suspicion of abuse or neglect, it could be harmful to the wellbeing of the tamaiti and their whānau to make a notification to the statutory agencies. Instead, we will work to partner with social service providers in our community to identify and address the needs of the tamaiti.
Some examples of the services we may work with are: Strengthening Families, Whānau Ora, Iwi Social Services, Social Workers in Schools, Children’s Teams, family/whānau counselling agencies, budget services and mental health and drug and alcohol services.
Confidentiality and information sharing
The Privacy Act 2020 and the Children’s Act 2014 allow information to be shared to keep tamariki safe when abuse or suspected abuse is reported or investigated. Under the Children’s Act, any person who believes that a tamaiti has been, or is likely to be, harmed physically, emotionally or sexually or ill-treated, abused, neglected or deprived may report the matter to Oranga Tamariki or the Police and, provided that the report is made in good faith, no civil, criminal or disciplinary proceedings may be brought against them.
Alignment with Other Policies
- Personnel policies – police checks, safety checks and careful employment of permanent or temporary staff, casual staff, volunteers
- Outings & Excursions policy
- Complaints policy
- Accident & Illness policy
Relevant Background (including legislation/regulation references)
Licensing Criteria 2008, Health and Safety, Child Protection documentation required:
- HS31: A process for the prevention of child abuse and a procedure for responding to suspected child abuse. Documents are consistent with or New Zealand Police and the Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki guidelines.
- HS32: all practicable steps are taken to protect children from exposure to inappropriate material (for example, of an explicitly sexual or violent nature).
Education and Training Act (2020): Prohibition of corporal punishment and seclusion in early childhood services. https://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/2020/0038/latest/LMS257112.html Regulation 46 Health and Safety Practices standard: general (1) of the Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008.
Further information can be found here:
Impacts of Policy on Staff, Parents and Tamariki
Information, discussion, trusting relationships and clear procedures will strengthen the ability of staff, parents and tamariki to work together to adequately protect all the tamariki who attend the Centre.
Alignment with the Philosophy of Midcity Childcare
This policy is aligned with the Centre’s philosophy.
We build discussions into enrolment procedures and kaiako PLD.
Review annually or when there is a significant change in the area of the policy topic.
Date: June 2023
Review Date: June 2024
Consultation Undertaken: Management/Staff/Parents & Whānau/Local Child Abuse Agencies