Explain why it is important to ensure children and young people are protected from harm within the work setting.
It is important to ensure children and young people are protected from harm within the setting, as the parents are leaving their children in your care with the expectation that they can trust you and your colleagues to keep their children from harm. It is difficult for parents to leave their children in an education or care setting and then go to work; they need to be confident that their children will be in safe supportive hands with people that will help them develop.
Explain policies and procedures that are in place to protect children and young people and adults who work with them.
Any professional working with children or young people is responsible for the care and well being of those children. Making sure that a child is safe on or out of a school setting is of paramount importance. Not only does it make a child or young person feel safe in a learning environment but it also gives the child the security to develop and achieve from an early age. As well as having policies to ensure that only suitable people work in their setting, managers need to promote very clear practices and ways of working to protect both the children and adults work with. Everyone in a setting has a responsibility to work hard to promote the welfare of the children in their care.
– Working in an open and transparent way
– Open-plan rooms, this ensures that no member of staff is totally alone and out of view with a child. Sharing plans and talking about different ways of working also helps to make sure that staff work in the most appropriate ways.
– Listening to children and young people
– Whenever possible avoid agreeing to keep something a secret. Always tell a child if you feel you need to share information, especially if you feel a safeguarding issue is involved. It is important that you record and report any concern you have about a child’s welfare; make sure you know who to go in your setting.
– Power and positions of trust
– If you are involved in the care of children or young people, you are working in a position of trust. You have authority over the children and parents have placed their trust in you to look after them; this brings responsibilities. People who want to occupy position of trust with children and young people and vulnerable adults have to have enhanced CRB checks.
– Propriety and behaviour
– Children and young people tend to respect and look up to people in position of trust. You must think carefully about your own behaviour and the example you set to children and young people in your care.
– Physical contact
– Young children need physical contact; in they have fallen over, a cuddle can help them to recover and get back to playing. However, too much physical contact can be easily misunderstood. Make sure you are familiar with what is acceptable. Taking a child to the toilet, changing a nappy or helping a child change out of soiled clothes are all normal everyday tasks; but never do any of these in a room with the door closed or out of sight of other member of staff. Remembering this protects not only the child but yourself as well.
– Photographs and video recordings
– Photographing or videoing activities in any setting are great ways to let parents see what their children have been doing. Photos and videos are not available to anyone other than parents and carers; always make sure that parents have given permission for photos to be taken.
Evaluate ways in which concerns about poor practice can be reported whilst ensuring that whistleblowers and those whose practice or behaviour is
being questioned are protected.
At some stage whilst working with children you may be faced with the problem of what to do about someone whose practice is unacceptable. You must not ignore poor practice, no matter who it is being carried out by. (It can be very difficult to report someone you work with, or even your manager)
How to whistle blow:
– think about exactly what is worrying you and why.
– approach your supervisor, manager or safeguarding named person.
– tell someone about your concerns as soon as you feel you can.
– put your concerns in writing, outlining the background and history, giving names, dates and places where you can.
– make sure something happens.
Whistle blowing does take courage. There is the risk of being bullied or harassed as a result, but anyone who whistle blows has the right to protection from the person they have raised concerns about. If you suffer as a result of a whistle blowing incident the UK Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 offers legal protection.
Explain how practitioners can take steps to protect themselves within their everyday practice in the work setting and on off site visits. A significant element of a practitioner’s role in protecting themselves would be to read policies and procedures that are put in place to safeguard them and children or young people in their care. In a care setting a professional can protect themselves by:
– Avoid being alone in a closed room with a child.
– Two members of staff must be present if a child needs to be undressed in the event of an accident.
– If a child is collected late by a parent/carer then two staff members must stay until the child is collected.
– Always be seen to be working in an open and transparent way where there is either visual access or an open door, especially in one to one situations.
– Avoid meetings with children or young people in an isolated or private area of a care setting.
It would be unrealistic to recommend that a member of staff should touch children or young people only in emergencies as very few people would agree with that, especially when young children can become so distressed in certain situations and a cuddle or close contact is needed by the child. Physical contact, guides and support are necessary in a range of settings appropriate to the age of the child and the circumstances at that time. Settings should provide a clear guidance about when and how the physical contact should be used in order to protect both staff and children. Effective management of risk should become automatic as you become more experienced. For every activity you plan, you should think about the hazards, the likelihood of the hazard occurring and the control measures.
– Risk, the outcome or likely impact of the hazard associated with the activity to be undertaken.
– Hazard, something that has the potential to cause harm.
– Likelihood, the probability of any harm from the hazard actually happening.
– Control measure, any activity or measures put in place to control or minimise identified risks. In the case of educational visits, professionals should always carry out a full risk assessment of that visit, under the Health and Safety at work regulations Act 1999 it requires employers to assess the risks of activities, introduce measures to control these risks and inform employees of these measures. Before a trip can be arranged employers must follow the necessary policies and procedures as follows:
– Age, competence, fitness and the standard behaviour of the children and young people.
– Any special educational or medical needs of the children.
– Adult to children ratio.
– The competence and qualifications of the accompanying adults.
– Modes of transport and location of visit.
– Emergency procedures.
– Permission from parents.
– Relevant medical or dietary needs of children.
Describe the possible signs, symptoms, indicators and behaviours that may cause concern in the context of safeguarding
It is important that you are aware of the indications of child abuse. Not every sign means a child is being abused. Sometimes the first signs that you observe are not physical but a change in behaviour. It is important that you record your concerns and monitor any unexplained changes in a child’s behaviour. Sometimes a child may be experiencing more than one type of abuse.
Physical abuse is when a child is physically hurt or injured (hitting, kicking, beating with objects, throwing and shaking are all physical abuse, and cause pain, cuts bruising, broken bones and sometimes even death)
Signs and symptoms of physical abuse can include:
– Unexplained recurrent injuries of burns.
– Wearing heavy clothes to cover injuries, even in hot weather.
– Refusal to undress.
– Bald patches of hair.
– Repeated running away from home.
– Fear of medical examination.
– Aggression towards self and others.
– Fear of physical contact, shrinking back if approached or touched.
Many signs of physical abuse can be confused with genuine accidental injuries, but they are often not in the places or distributed as you would expect. Sometimes the explanation does not fit the injury, or you may see the outline of a belt buckle or cigarette burn. Suspicion should be aroused if the parents have not sought medical advice soon after the injury occurred.
Emotional abuse occurs when children are not given love, approval or acceptance. They may be constantly criticised, blamed, sworn and shouted at, told that other people are better than they are. Emotional abuse also
involves withholding love and affection. It is often linked with neglect
Signs and symptoms of emotional abuse can include:
– Delayed development.
– Sudden speech problems such as stammering.
– Low self-esteem.
– Fear of any new situations.
– Neurotic behaviour.
– Extremes of withdrawal or aggression.
Neglect, which can result in failure to thrive, is when parents or others looking after children do not provide them with proper food, warmth, shelter, clothing, care or protection
Signs and symptoms of neglect can include:
– Constant hunger.
– Poor personal hygiene.
– Constant tiredness.
– Poor state of clothing.
– Unusual thinness or lack of normal body weight.
– Untreated medical problems.
– No social relationships.
– Stealing food.
– Destructive tendencies.
Sexual abuse is when a child is forced or persuaded into sexual acts or situations by others. Children may be encouraged to look at pornography, be harassed by sexual suggestions or comments, be touched sexually or forced to have sex.
Signs and symptoms of sexual abuse can include:
– Sexual knowledge of behaviour that is inappropriate to the child’s age.
– Medical problems such as chronic itching, pain in the genitals, venereal disease.
– Depression, self-mutilation, suicide attempts, running away, overdoses or anorexia.
– Personality changes (becoming insecure or clinging).
– Regressing to younger behaviour patterns (thumb-sucking, cuddly toys).
– Sudden loss of appetite or compulsive eating.
– Being isolated or withdrawn.
– Inability to concentrate.
– Lack of trust or fear of someone they know well, (wanting to be alone with babysitter, child minder).
– Starting to wet or soil again, day or night.
– Becoming worried about clothing being removed.
– Drawing sexually explicit pictures.
– Trying to be ‘ultra-good or perfect, overreacting to criticism.
Describe the actions to take if a child or young person alleges harm or abuse in line with policies and procedures of own setting. All settings that have contact with children and young people must have clear policies and procedures to follow in all cases of abuse. Staff must have training in these and organisation for dealing with the situation. Disclosure of abuse by a child can occur at any time and it can be a shock to hear details. The way an allegation is received can be very important in the outcome to a child, even many years later. There have been many examples in the past of children not being believed at the time they declared their experience often resulting in serious problems later in life. At my nursery setting if a child was to disclose any information we would get onto the child’s level and ask three questions, we would ask;
– What Happened?
– Where did it happen?
– When did it happen?
We would take note of exactly what the child said and take this straight to our safeguarding officer on the premises.
Explain the rights that children, young people and their carers have in situations where harm or abuse is suspected or alleged.
Children and their parents or carers have important rights even in cases of suspected abuse. Most children feel loyal towards those who care for them even when they have been responsible for the abuse, and have difficulty saying anything against them. In situation where harm or abuse is suspected or alleged, it is important to remember the following guidelines.
– Children and young people should receive help so they can express themselves fully, understand what is happening and the decisions that have to be made.
– A child or young person has a right not to be subjected to repeated medical examinations or questioning following any allegation of abuse, whether of a physical or sexual nature
– Family members normally have the right to know what is being said about them and to contribute to important decisions about their lives and those of their children
– Children should be kept fully informed of processes involving them, should be consulted sensitively and decisions about their future should take account of their views.
Courtney from Study Moose
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