CHILD SAFEGUARDING STATEMENT

 Welfare Policy statement for the safety and protection of children while they are in the care of the organisation

 Consairtín holds it as a priority that while children are participating in any of its events they feel safe and secure at all times and are protected from any form of abuse or neglect.  Consairtín will do this by ensuring that the young people receive adequate supervision by all adults who are responsible for their care while attending Consairtín events. We will ensure that the teachers and staff are carefully selected and supervised.

Consairtín will deal promptly, fully and fairly with any concerns raised about the welfare of children in its care.

Consairtín is committed to creating an environment where the children in its care are enabled to have an open, trusting and co-operative relationship with the organisation. 

To realise these aims, Consairtín will adhere to the recommendations of Children First: National guidelines for the Protection and Welfare of Children, published by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.

Consairtín will appoint an officer with responsibility for Child Protection and Welfare. The officer will liaise with the co-directors in matters relating to young people’s welfare and will report to the Director of Community Care in the local Health Services Executive any cases where there is reported or suspected abuse of children.

 Consairtín has implemented procedures covering the following areas of its operations:

  • Code of behaviour for all staff
  • Recruitment and selecting staff
  • Managing and supervising staff
  • Involvement of parents and guardians
  • Policies on bullying, anti-social behaviour,  illness etc
  • Reporting of suspected or disclosed abuse
  • Allegations of misconduct or abuse by staff
  • Incidents and accidents

 Our Child Protection policy, procedures and practice are reviewed annually.

Signed:    Áine Hensey            Signed:    Tim Collins

Date:      12/02/2018                Date:    12/02/2018

 Code of Good Practice

We undertake to:

  • Make parents/guardians, children/young people, teachers and staff aware of Consairtín Child Protection Policy and procedures, as they concern each of them.
  • Ensure all staff sign an agreement to adhere to our Policy and procedures
  • Have emergency procedures in place and make all staff aware of these procedures.
  • Ensure that all teachers exercise proper supervision.
  • Report any concerns to the Designated Person or their deputy and follow reporting procedures.
  • Encourage children and young people to report any bullying, concerns or worries and to be aware of the anti-bullying policy as developed and operated by Consairtín.
  • Observe appropriate standards of dress and behaviour
  • Evaluate work practices on a regular basis
  • Provide appropriate training for teachers and staff.
  • Report and record any incidents or accidents
  • Update and review any policies and procedures annually
  • Keep parents/guardians aware of any issues that concern their children
  • Ensure proper supervision based on adequate ratios according to age, abilities and activities
  • Be active in relation to concerns, i.e. avoid procrastination
  • Not let a problem get out of control.
  • Avoid being on one’s own with a child/young person
  • Maintain awareness around language and comments made.  If it is felt that something said may have caused offence or upset, we will try to address it in a sensitive manner.

 Staff Code of Behaviour

The following Code of Behaviour applies to all staff working with children and young people at Consairtín:

  • To maintain a child-centred approach we undertake to:
  • Treat all children and young people equally and as individuals
  • Listen to and respect children and young people
  • Involve children and young people in decision making where appropriate
  • Provide encouragement, support and praise (regardless of ability)
  • Encourage a positive and fun atmosphere
  • Offer constructive criticism
  • Discuss boundaries on behaviour and related sanctions, as appropriate, with children and young people and their parents/guardians and/or accompanying teachers
  • Endeavour to create an atmosphere of mutual respect at all our events where boundaries on behaviour and related sanctions are made known.
  • Encourage feedback from children and young people in our care
  • Lead by example
  • Be cognisant of a child’s or young person’s limitations, due to a medical condition, for example
  • Create an atmosphere of trust

To avoid inappropriate behaviour we will:

  • Avoid spending  time alone with a children/young person
  • Not use or allow offensive or sexually suggestive gestures and/or language
  • Avoid singling out a particular child/young person for unfair favouritism, criticism, ridicule, or unwelcome focus or attention.
  • Not allow/engage in inappropriate touching of any form
  • Not hit or physically chastise children/young people
  • Not socialise inappropriately with children/young people e.g. outside of structured organised activities. We will avoid personal contact with young people on social media e.g. Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Health and Safety

To comply with Health and Safety guidelines in relation to our work with children and young people we will:

  • Not leave children/young people unattended or unsupervised
  • Manage any dangerous materials and equipment
  • Be aware of accident procedures and follow accordingly

 Accidents Procedure

Consairtín operates an accident procedure covering our convention.  To maintain this procedure, we will:

  • Maintain an up-to-date register of the contact details of all children/young people involved in Consairtín
  • At the time of occurrence, record any accident/incident occurring in an Incident Book
  • Cross-reference children/young people’s details between the incident book and file
  • Obtain proof from external providers (halls, transport etc) that they have insurance
  • Make First-Aid boxes available and keep them regularly re-stocked
  • Make the location of First-Aid Boxes and Incident Books known to staff
  • Record details of equipment involving risk and take steps to minimise risk
  • Advise children and young people of any potential hazards relating to equipment and/or materials
  • Take cognisance of responsibility for first-aid on the off-site trip

Staff Recruitment and Selection 

We will ensure that staff are carefully selected, trained and supervised to provide a safe environment for all children and young people, by observing the following principles:

  • Roles and responsibilities will be clearly defined.
  • We will endeavour to select the most suitably qualified personnel
  • No person who would be deemed to constitute a “risk” will be employed

Some of the grounds for exclusion would include:

  • Any child-related convictions
  • Insufficient documentary evidence of identification
  • Concealing information on one’s suitability to working with children

All staff having unsupervised access to children will be required to consent to Garda vetting.

 Procedures for Dealing with Allegations against Staff

The first priority is to ensure that no child or young person is exposed to unnecessary risk

If allegations are made against the Designated Person, then the Deputy Designated Person should be contacted

Áine Hensey and Tim Collins have been designated as the people to contact if you have an issue or concern about any aspect of a child’s or young person’s safety and welfare.  It is their responsibility to support and advise staff about policy and procedures in relation to child protection and to ensure that the procedures are followed.  It is also the responsibility of the designated persons to liaise with the Health Service Executive or Gardaí where appropriate.  Both the parents/guardians and the child/young person should be informed of actions planned and taken.  The child/young person should be dealt with in an age-appropriate manner

The staff member will be informed as soon as possible of the nature of the allegation; the staff member should be given the opportunity to respond

In order to protect children while allegations are being investigated, Consairtín disciplinary procedures will be followed,

The relevant staff member will work under supervision pending investigation, or, if necessary be suspended while investigation is being carried out

Any action following an allegation of abuse against an employee should be taken in consultation with Health Service Executive and Gardaí

The Involvement of Parents/Guardians

 We are committed to being open with parents/guardians

We undertake to:

  • Advise parents/guardians of our child protection policy
  • Comply with health and safety practices
  • Operate child-centred policies in accordance with best practice
  • Adhere to our recruitment procedures

 

If we have concerns about the welfare of the child/young person, we will:

  • Respond to the needs of the child or young person
  • Inform the parents/guardians on an on-going basis unless this action puts the child or young person at further risk
  • Where there are child protection and welfare concerns, we are obliged to pass these on to the Duty Social Worker and, in an emergency, to the Gardaí.
  • In the event of a complaint against a member of staff, we will immediately ensure the safety of the child/young person and inform parents/guardians as appropriate.

As a child-centred organisation, we are committed to putting the interest of the child/young person first.  To that end we will:

  • Contact local Health Service Executive and Gardaí where there is a child protection welfare concern
  • Encourage parents/guardians to work in partnership with us under the guidelines set out by our organisation to ensure the safety of their children
  • Have a designated contact person available for consultation with parents/guardians in the case of any concern over a child or young person’s welfare.

Consairtín Confidentiality Statement

Consairtín is committed to ensuring peoples’ rights to confidentiality.  However, in relation to child protection and welfare we undertake that:

  • Information will only be forwarded on a “need to know” basis in order to safeguard the child/young person
  • Giving such information to others for the protection of a child or young person is not a breach of confidentiality
  • We cannot guarantee total confidentiality where the best interests of the child or young person are at risk
  • Parents/guardians, children/young people have a right to know if personal information is being shared and/or a report is being made to the Health Service Executive, unless doing so could put the child/young person at further risk.
  • Images or video clips of a child/young person taken during Consairtín events will not be used for any reason without the consent of the parent/guardian.  If consent is obtained, images or video material will only be used in the specified context, e.g. for promotion purposes in our publicity materials and on our website.

Designated Child Welfare Officer:

 Áine Hensey, Kildimo, Miltown Malbay, Co Clare.   aine@consairtin.ie. 086-2612127