Safeguarding refers to keeping children safe – protecting them from harm/abuse, unsafe circumstances and impaired health/development, ensuring that they have the best possible opportunities in their lives.
As a childminder it is my responsibility to ensure the safety and welfare of all children in my care. In doing so, I must:-
• Keep a confidential written record of any warning behavioural indicators/changes, signs/symptoms giving cause for concern. I will use body maps to indicate locations of bruising or other injuries to children who arrive at my setting with existing injuries. • Not question children, allowing them to tell me things in their own time and their own way, using their own words. • Ensure confidentiality – not discussing with any other party, particularly the parents of a child I suspect may need safeguarding if that may put the child at risk. • Contact the local safeguarding or Social Services if I have concerns regarding the safety/welfare of a child in my care. • Seek support for myself if I find a safeguarding situation distressing, whilst maintaining confidentiality.
Mobile phones and cameras:-
Any photographs I take in the course of my childminding work (to be used for the purposes of observing the children and keeping records of their development/progress) will be saved securely (with passwords) on my computer and be unavailable to others to view. Once printed these photographs will be deleted from my phone/camera/computer immediately.
Others living in or visiting my home will be informed that, in accordance with this policy, they should not take photographs/videos in my home whilst I have children in my care.
Regulatory requirements for safeguarding children in home-based childcare:-
To comply with safeguarding regulations, as a registered Childminder I have completed the following:-
• Child Protection training.
• This Safeguarding Policy which is to be reviewed regularly and shared with parents of all children in my care.
• Enhanced CRB Disclosure for all adults (over 16 years) living at the registered property.
Signs, symptoms, indicators and behaviours that cause concern in the context of safeguarding:-
Physical abuse – bruises in unusual places, of different ages in the same place, of the same shape in different places; outline bruises (hand/belt/shoe prints); bruising of non-mobile babies; fractures; injuries which have not received medical attention; burns; bites; inconsistent accounts of injuries; reluctance to change clothes or uncover parts of body (eg rolling up sleeves).
Neglect – dirty skin/hair; untreated headlice; dirty, soiled, ill-fitting clothing or that which is inappropriate for the weather; left alone/unsupervised frequently; lack of medical care/treatment; frequent hunger; frequent tiredness; stealing food; withdrawn behaviour.
Sexual abuse – allegations made by child; inappropriate knowledge/play/actions displayed (incl provocative behaviour); speaking/drawing/playing displaying sexual activity; recurrent urine infections; unexplained recurrent stomach pain; severe sleep disturbance with fears, nightmares; eating disorders.
Emotional abuse – low self-esteem (incl commenting negatively about self); self-harm; attention seeking/obsessive behaviour; inability to mix with other children; sleep/speech disorders; aggression/depression/extreme anxiety; changes in mood/behaviour (esp becoming withdrawn/unwilling to be away from carer); extreme shyness; nervous behaviour.
In the event that I believe (with good reason) that any child(ren) in my care is(are) subject to abuse it is my duty to report this to the Duty Social Worker in my local authority area’s Local Safeguarding Children Board. Under such circumstances it will be necessary for me to share confidential information regarding the child(ren) concerned with OFSTED, Social Services and the Police if requested, superseding any confidentiality agreements held between myself and the child(ren)’s parents.
Protecting my own position – I will keep clear records of any injuries sustained by children in my care, as well as any pre-existing injuries they have sustained outside of my care. Unless exceptional circumstances indicate that this would put the child at risk of harm, a child’s main carer will usually be asked to sign my notes as an official record of the injury. This does not indicate any negativity towards or suspicion of the child’s family or personal circumstances, but is intended as protection for myself and my own family/household members against potential allegations made about our treatment of the children in my childcare setting. Carers will also be asked to sign any entry made in my accident book in the event of their child sustaining injury whilst in my care, as a record that I have made them fully aware of the incident and any resulting injury.
Useful telephone numbers:-
Childcare Services (Access and Referral Team):
Duty Social Worker:
The Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage states that:-
“Registered providers must inform OFSTED of any allegations of serious harm or abuse by any person living, working, or looking after children at the premises (whether that allegation relates to harm or abuse committed on the premises or elsewhere), or any other abuse which is alleged to have taken place on the premises, and of the action taken in respect of these allegations. Registered providers must inform OFSTED of these allegations as soon as is reasonably practicable, but at the latest within 14 days of the allegations being made. A registered provider who, without reasonable excuse, fails to comply with this requirement, commits an offence.”
Should any allegations be made against any member of my household I will report this to OFSTED as a matter or urgency within the prescribed 14 days.