This policy has been developed in accordance with the principles established by the Children Act 1989 and related guidance including The Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their Families and Working Together to Safeguard Children.
This group takes seriously our responsibility to promote the welfare and safeguard all the children and young people entrusted to our care.
The designated member of the group is Katherine Aitchison who has overall responsibility for overseeing the child protection practice within this group.
As part of the ethos of the group we are committed to:
- Maintaining children’s welfare as our paramount concern
- Providing an environment in which children and young people feel safe, secure, valued and respected; confident to talk openly and sure of being listened to
- Providing suitable support and guidance so that children have a range of appropriate adults who they feel confident to approach if they are in difficulties
- Using the opportunities for increasing self awareness, self esteem, assertiveness and decision making so that children have a range of contacts and strategies to ensure their own protection and understand the importance of protecting others
- Working with parents to build an understanding of the group’s responsibility to ensure the welfare of all children including the need for referral to other agencies in some situations
- Ensuring all staff are able to recognise the signs and symptoms of abuse and are aware of the Production Company’s procedures and lines of communication are in conjunction with KCC guidance
- Developing effective and supportive liaison with other agencies
Roles and Responsibilities
Riverside Players hereafter known as the group
The group is responsible for ensuring that all action taken is in conjunction with Kent’s Child in need/Child Protection procedure. This process implemented in April 2001 follows the requirements of the central government guidance contained in the Framework for Assessment of Children in Need and their Families and Working Together to Safeguard Children. The child protection process is now incorporated within a comprehensive policy and procedures for all children in need.
The role of the group within this procedure is to contribute to the identification, referral and assessment of children in need including children who may have suffered, or suffering or who are at risk of suffering significant harm.
All adults have a role to play in relation to: protecting children from abuse, promoting the welfare of children, and preventing children from being harmed.
The role of the group in situations where there are child protection concerns is NOT to investigate but to recognise and refer.
Designation Named Person – Katherine Aitchison
Is responsible for:
- Liaising with other agencies
- Ensuring that locally established procedures are followed including reporting and referral processes
- Acting as a consultant for all members to discuss concerns
- Making referrals as necessary
- Maintaining a confidential recording system
- Representing the group when appropriate at inter-agency meetings or Child Protection Conferences
- Organising training for members
- Liaising with other professionals
This section gives an opportunity for members to identify the specific ways in which child protection issues are addressed within the group, policies and guidance or through school/community initiatives. This may include: anti-bullying strategies, complaints procedures, health and safety, and risk assessments.
Recognition And Categories Of Abuse
All members should be aware of the definitions and signs and symptoms of abuse. There are four categories of abuse; these are physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and neglect.
Useful information is the Department of Health Guidelines “What to do if You’re Worried A Child Is Being Abused” which is also available on the Website: www.education.gov.uk/publications
Responding To Concerns
Concerns for a child or young person may come to the attention of members in a variety of ways for example through observation of behaviour or injuries or disclosure. Any member who has a concern for a child or young person however insignificant this might appear to be should discuss this with the designated member of the group as soon as is practically possible. More serious concerns must be reported immediately to ensure that any intervention necessary to protect the child is accessed as early as possible.
If a child makes a disclosure of abuse to a member of the group they should:
- Allow the child or young person to make the disclosure at their own pace and in their own way
- Avoid interrupting except to clarify what the child is saying (attentive listening/reflective feedback)
- Not ask leading questions or probe for information that the child or young person does not volunteer
- Reassure the child or young person that they have been heard and explain what you will do next and to whom you will talk
- Record the conversation as soon as possible
- Inform the group’s named person
Members can play a vital role in helping children in need or at risk by effective monitoring and record keeping. Any incident or behavioural change in a child or young person that gives cause for concern should be recorded on an incident sheet copies of which are kept by the committee. It is important that records are factual and reflect the words used by the child or young person. Opinions should not be given unless there is some form of evidence base, which can also be quoted. Records must be signed and dated with timings if appropriate. It is important to remember that any issues are confidential and members should know only on a ‘need to know’ basis.
Information To Be Recorded
- Child’s name and date of birth
- Child in normal context e.g. behaviour, attitude, (has there been an extreme change)
- The incident(s) which give rise for concern with date(s) and time(s)
- A verbatim record of what the child or young person has said
- If recording bruising/injuries indicate position, colour, size, shape and time on body map.
- Action taken
These basic details are vital to the information gathering process and do not constitute an investigation. Written information should be passed to the group’s named person, who should always be kept informed of any significant issues.
Storage Of Records
The group will ensure that records relating to concerns for the welfare or safety of children are kept separate from other files and are stored securely. Information will be shared on a strictly need to know basis and in line with child protection policy guidance.
Referrals To Social Services
It is the responsibility of the designated member of the group to decide when to make a referral to the Social Services Department. To help with this decision s/he may choose to consult (anonymously if appropriate) with the Social Services Children and Families Duty Service, who offer opportunities for consultation as part of the Child in need / child protection process. Issues discussed during consultations may include the urgency and gravity of the concerns for a child or young person and the extent to which parents/carers are made aware of these. Some concerns may need to be monitored over a period of time before a decision to refer to Social Services is made. In all but the most exceptional cases parents/carers will be made aware of the concerns felt for a child or young person at the earliest possible stage and in the event of this becoming necessary, their consent to a referral to Social Services will be sought.
Referrals to Social Services will be made in writing where time allows for this. In situations where there are felt to be urgent or grave concerns a telephone referral will be made and followed up in writing.
If a child or young person is referred, the group will ensure that relevant members are informed of this.
If after consultation with the designated member of the group team, the person who raised concerns feels that appropriate action is not being taken in respect of his or her concerns for a child s/he should consult with or refer directly to Social Services. The group should be informed of this decision.
Concerns involving members of the group:
Any concerns that involve allegations against a group member should be referred immediately to the group, who will seek further consultation with the Local Authority Designated Officer or Social Services to discuss and agree further action to be taken in respect of the child and the member .
Code Of Practice
Any member of the group affected by issues arising from concerns for children’s welfare or safety can seek support from the named person.
The named person can put members and parents in touch with outside agencies for professional support if they so wish.
The named person is responsible for ensuring members including him/herself receive training in the area of child protection.
Monitoring And Review
All members will have a copy of this policy and will have the opportunity to consider and discuss its contents.
The policy forms part of the group’s development and will be reviewed annually.
All members should have access to this policy and sign to the effect that they have read and understood its content.