Child Protection Policy - Care Guidelines

CARE GUIDELINES

Care guidelines for Homegroup staff and Volunteers

It is important that all Homegroup staff consider the health and well-being of the child as being the major priority while they are entrusted to their care.

There will be times however, when a child's behaviour is deemed inappropriate. Appropriate care and control should be exercised in accordance with the child's needs, taking into account factors such as age, developmental level, and ability comprehension.

Staff should at all times encourage behaviour which is acceptable to all children, while remembering children themselves are individuals.

In order to maintain a level of control acceptable to all parents, staff should initiate the following action to prevent a child hurting him/herself or others:

Verbal: Treat children with dignity and respect when speaking to and be aware of the needs and sensitivity of the individual child. Children should not be treated in a harsh or derogatory manner. They should be told however, in precise and clear manner to refrain from the action/behaviour, which they are engaging in and explained why the action/behaviour is inappropriate.

Physical: Intervention of this nature must only be used as a last resort in order to prevent a child from inflicting injury to him/herself or others, and/or some forms of damage to property. The type of physical control will be in the form of separation from others.

Where a situation arises and (b) above has been put into operation, staff should record details of the incident and it should then be reported to the Homegroup or Residential Co-ordinator, the Child Protection Officer and the parent(s) of the child.

Inappropriate Behaviour 'Must Not's'

Staff must NOT apply the following methods in controlling this special situation where a child requires to be restrained from carrying out inappropriate behaviour, which is likely to cause harm to themselves and/or others:

  • Must not used any form of physical punishment.

  • Must not deny children basics like food and drink.

  • Must not use inappropriate methods of comfort to a child when they are emotionally upset and/or distressed.

  • Must not use verbal abuse to a child, including shouting and use of degrading and derogatory remarks about the child, his family and his / her general demeanour.

  • Must not carry out any action, which puts the child at risk of danger or harm, or leaves the child open to abuse.

These guidelines should be presented to all parents. Parents wishing to make a complaint should do so by notifying the Child Protection Officer and/or senior member of staff.

The Guidelines should also be made available to all new staff and volunteers who will be working in Homegroups.

Preparation for Residentials

It is the responsibility of the Person in Charge to ensure that before embarking on any trip all necessary information is obtained from the parent(s) of the young person and that information about the trip, for example, the duration, the location, the activities and other relevant details should be given to parents.

Medical Consideration

It is the responsibility of the Person in Charge to obtain all relevant information within reason, regarding any medical condition a young person has or is suffering from. This should include the following:

  • the nature of the condition.

  • medicines and instructions for administering them.

  • any other relevant details a parent and/or young person feels should be shared regarding their condition.

 Accident and Emergencies

Where a young person becomes ill or injured they should be afforded appropriate medical treatment, including initial treatment from a member of staff / volunteer who is qualified in first aid.

Where a young person is given and/or receives treatment, details should be notified to the young person's parent(s) as soon as possible and staff/volunteers should determine, on the advice of qualified medical staff, whether the young person requires to return home immediately.

All illnesses/injury and treatment and the events surrounding it should be recorded and written up immediately, and a copy of the information should be made available to the young person's parent(s).

Special Needs

Staff and volunteers will ensure young people receive proper nutrition and where required, ensure special dietary arrangements are met and catered for.

Young people's religious and cultural beliefs should be respected in accordance with the young person and his/her parent(s) wishes. Staff are therefore reminded, these should be respected at all times and that no remarks and/or actions will be made that may cause upset to a young person.

Privacy

Staff and volunteers should respect the privacy of young people. Equally young people should respect the privacy of others. This means staff/volunteers and young people should not inquire into any person's private details e.g. family background or listen to private telephone calls, or open and read another person's mail.

However, staff and volunteers need to be informed of certain information regarding the family background of a young person and of details of behavioural and/or emotional difficulties, in order to protect a young person from any words and / or actions that may cause offence and upset. Consultation with the Person in Charge should be sought regarding details required about a young persons family background and any details regarding behaviour and emotional state.

Disclosure

Where a young person wishes to discuss a matter with a member of staff/volunteer, which they consider to be of a confidential nature, staff and volunteers should respect the young person's request. However, staff should where possible:

  • Ensure the interaction with the young person does not take place behind closed doors and out of view of another member of staff / volunteer. Where this is not possible, the staff member / volunteer should inform another member of staff / volunteer of the name of the young person, where the discussion is to take place, and with the consent of the young person, brief details of what it is they wish to discuss.

  • Where the discussion with the young person leads to an allegation of abuse, or staff / volunteers suspect abuse, staff volunteers should not promise to keep secrets and should advise the young person that you have a duty to report the incident to the appropriate statutory authorities. Staff / volunteers should then inform the Person in Charge or Child Protection Co-ordinator and appropriate action will be taken.

 Privacy

Accommodation on a residential weekend should be segregated into Male and Female sleeping quarters. Similarly, bathing and washing facilities should be segregated, or where this is not possible separate sessions will be allocated. At no time should a member of staff enter a young person's room or young peoples washing and bathing area. The following steps should be adhered to:

  • Where staff need to enter a young person's room they should be accompanied by another member of staff / volunteer and should do so only when the door has been knocked and they have been invited to enter.

  • Where another member of staff / volunteer cannot accompany them, the staff/volunteer should inform another member of staff of their intentions and reasons for the need to enter the young person's room.

  • When and if an invitation to enter the room has been granted staff should, upon entering the young person's room make clear immediately the reasons for doing so, in a concise and polite manner. They should leave the room as soon as the task has been carried out.

  • Young people also must comply with others' wishes and only enter the room of another person if invited. They should not enter staff rooms except in very exceptional circumstances.

  • Young people of the opposite sex are not allowed in each others rooms day or night.

Staff should make the above procedures in relation to accommodation, clear from the outset of the weekend.

Health & Safety

Staff/volunteers should remind young people of the necessary security arrangements which should be carried out when leaving the accommodation unattended. The following should be complied with in the interests of all young people concerned:

  • Ensure all windows and doors are locked.

  • When leaving the building remove all personal valuables.

  • Ensure Lights are switched off and plugs are removed from sockets. Any heaters such as storage heaters should be turned off.

  • There is a no Smoking Policy in force within the building used for the residential and on any transport used.