Understand how to safeguard the well-being of children and young people

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19 March 2016

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2.1 It is important to safeguard children and young people in a setting to ensure they can feel safe and secure. We must protect children and young people from abuse or neglect, ensure they stay safe and healthy and continue to develop well.

2.2 It is important to have a child centred approach so that the child’s feelings are experiences are taken into account and therefore any further distress can be avoided.

2.3 Partnership working in the context of safe guarding refers to the sharing of information between different agencies and collaborative working. It is important to feel that a child’s welfare is safe guarded regardless of there they are from and who’s looking after them at all times. For example, children who attend multiple settings, such as primary school and an after school club. It is important that these settings work closely together to ensure the child is safe, healthy and developing. Practitioners must ensure continuity and coherence by sharing relevant information with each other parents or carers.

2.4 When a child is abused or harmed, there are many agencies that may be involved. The fist is likely to be the social services ( after a referral). Referrals are likely to be made by a school or childcare provider. It is part of every person working with young children’s responsibility to report any signs of abuse or neglect to their safeguarding coordinator who will refer the case to the local social services hub. Other organisations and practitioners who have a duty of care to report any of these signs include doctors, nurses, health visitors and play schemes. Social services then carry out an initial assessment as a response and the possible decisions include; Offering services and support to the child and their family. This will only be decided if it is judged that the child is not in any immediate danger.

Urgent action to protect the child from harm such as obtaining a court order to remove the child from the care of their parents and placed into safe temporary care. A discussion to discuss further strategy will then take place. Staff in schools or other settings where they care for children must never try to independently investigate the circumstances of the abuse or neglect themselves, but their input may be requested in the initial assessment meetings, and their cooperation with the continued plan is important.

3.1 Every person working in the setting must be a suitable person to work with young children, must have a valid CRB check and must be assessed by the Independent Safeguarding Authority. Practitioners must actively promote the well being of every child. This includes providing every opportunity for children and young people to learn and develop, play and communicate and socialise in the setting. Children and young people also need healthy, nutritious food and the opportunity to move their bodies and exercise. They need to be able to make decisions and develop an appropriate level of independence.

Practitioners also have a responsibility to provide extra support to children who’s needs are not being met, by working with parents and other professionals. Some children in early years settings mya present a delay in development, or emotional of social difficulties, which may be the result of adverse early years experiences, like witnessing domestic violence or growing up with a parent with a mental illness. This extra support could include helping the parent join a “stay and play” group to make friends and build a support group, or by working with a clinical psychology service to give advice on things such as bedtimes. This work can be coordinated under the CAF.

3.2 It is important to have policies and procedures in place to protect children and the adults who work with them. Policies and procedures that should be in place within settings for safe working include; duty of care, whistle blowing, power and position of trust, physical contact, photography and video and off site visits. The setting’s policy for safe guarding should include the settings’ name and the type of service it provides, the name of the child protection officer, the importance of child protection and outline the relevant part of UK legislation, everyone’s responsibility to safeguard, how the setting will meet this obligation, the safeguarding policy works together with other policies, such as the equality and diversity policy, behaviour and partnership with parents. The procedure should inform how the policy will be put into practice on a daily basis. The procedure should be clear on the following points; the obligation to respond appropriately in a timely fashion, a brief summary of signs to look out for with reference to the relevant guidance document, the steps that should be taken if there are concerns, specific guidance and effective safeguarding.

3.3 There may be an occasion where you work in a setting and you believe that there are incidences of poor practice. For example, a staff member has raised concerns about a child’s welfare and reported these to the child protection officer. The child’s parents are on the school governing body. The child protection officer’s response is that “they’re not the sort of people to harm their child”. In cases like these it is very important that action is taken before the situation becomes worsened. Make it clear to the person you have reported to that the situation is dangerous and illegal and that you may feel it necessary to “blow the whistle” is necessary. Whistle blowers are legally protected against bullying being sacked or disciplined if they have acted in good faith.

3.4 Practitioners can protect themselves within their every day practice in and out of the setting by knowing their company policy. Schools and early years settings can keep children safe by having effective recruitment procedures, management and general operation policy. The children’s intimate care should be coordinated by the child’s key person so they don’t feel like just anyone can take them aside and undress them, this ensures their right to privacy is upheld. Is possible, children should be asked is they consent to offers of intimate care.

Early years settings are required to have a policy for allegations made against staff. This will cover cases where a child, parent of other staff member has made the allegation. Practitioners participating in an off site visit have a duty to protect children from harm on the visit. Unqualified staff or volunteers mustn’t be left in sole charge of children and young people on an off site visit, unless deemed safe through a risk assessment. There should be a minimum of two adults participating in an off site visit, and must not be put in a situation where they are alone with a child away form the group.

4.1 Possible signs and symptoms that may indicate abuse or neglect and be cause for concern are outlined in the NSPCC’s “Learn to recognise signs of abuse”. A baby or toddler who is always crying
a child who often has injuries or bruises
a child who is often very withdrawn
a child who often wears dirty clothes, is unwashed for a long period of times a child who is frequently very hungry
a child who is often inappropriately dressed for the weather or season any indications a child is being left alone at home or unsupervised a child who does not receive medical treatment they need a child who is mocked, sworn at, constantly joked about or made to feel foolish a child who expresses fear about particular adults, seams reluctant to be picked up by specific people, afraid to be left alone with that person. A child who has strong mood swings- anxiety, depression, uncontained anger or aggression. A child who has sexual knowledge, used sexual words or sexual behaviour that is not appropriate for their age. A child who is witnessing domestic violence

A child who it witnessing significant alcohol or drug abuse. The NSPCC advised that you trust your judgement on a situation.

4.2 If a child make an allegation of abuse or harm, you must first record exactly what the child or young person has said and anything you may have noticed about the child or young person. Then discuss the concerns as a matter or urgency with the named member of staff within the setting. In my own setting, each room has a named person (usually the room leader) and the deputy manager is also a named person. In the case that I had a concern, I would first speak to the appropriate named person. In some cases it is acceptable to speak to the parent. For example, if a child has come into the setting with a number of bruises, either myself or the named person would ask the parent how the marks were acquired. I would then fill in an incident report describing the marks and ask the parent to sign it. If the parents account did not seam legitimate, I would then fill in a “cause for concern” report sheet. Both of these are filed in the child’s personal file, along with any other reports of a similar nature.

I would then be told of the action made by the named person. If the parents account seams reasonable based on what we know of the child’s behaviour within the setting, the named person may decide to take no further action. They may decide to advise the child’s parents, for example, what sort of clothes the child needs to wear. The child will then be monitored by his or her key person to see if the advise is followed up on. They may offer support for example, by making an appointment with a clinical psychologist. They may decide to refer the family to support at the children’s centre. They may decide however that serious action need to be taken and refer the incident to the Children’s Social Care (social services). If I feel that the action taken by the named person is inadequate, I would contact the Nursery owner, and then social services myself. There is the option of a “no names” interview with social services if I am unsure of what action to take.

4.3 In situations where abuse has been suspected, it is important to be mindful of the rights of the children and of their carers. In general, any information disclosed is confidential. If information circulates too freely, it can leave children and adults feeling too vulnerable and they may stop sharing information with you. If a parent disclosed information to you which you feel should be shared for the child’s benefit, the parent should feel they can consent or withhold consent freely ( assuming the child’s safety isn’t compromised).

We must never disclose information inappropriately for example to people not within the setting. Everyone has the right to privacy. If sharing information is necessary to the child’s safety, you must do so. Start by discussing with the parent why you must share the information, explain that you are legally obligated to do so. If in doubt, seek advise from your named person.

5.1 There are many different types of bullying, including physical, verbal or indirect bullying. Physical bullying includes hitting kicking and taking belongings. Verbal bullying includes name calling, insulting and making offensive remarks. Indirect bullying includes the spreading of rumours, exclusion form a social group, sending malicious emails or texts. There is never an excuse for bullying behaviour. Children and young people are more likely to be bullied if they are; shy or have an overprotective family environment, are from a different racial or ethnic group to the majority, appear different in some respects, have special needs such as a learning difficulty, behave inappropriately or have less developed social and interpersonal skills, possess expensive accessories such as a mobile phone or computer game.

Bullying can lead to low self esteem in children and young people and can often leave them feeling hopeless. Children and young people who are experiencing bullying may be reluctant to attend the setting and may therefore have poor attendance. They may be more anxious and insecure than others, have fewer friends and may often feel unhappy or lonely. This will, in turn, effect all areas of their holistic development.

5.2 Some types of bullying may amount to unlawful discrimination. All settings must have a policy and system to deal with bullying. Policies must include reference to bullying in all forms such as bullying on grounds of body shape or size, homophobic bullying, racist bullying, faith based bulling, ageist bullying, disability bullying and sexist bullying. These policies and procedures are in place to protect people and to understand how best to support victims and their families. Children and young people should be provided with information about sources of help such as Childline or The Samaritans. If bullying is suspected or reported, within our setting, the issue will be dealt with by the child’s key person. The EYFS required that “Children’s behaviour must be managed effectively and in a manner that is appropriate for their stage of development and individual needs”. If bullying occurs within the staff team, it must be reported to the Company director (nursery owner) who will deal with it as a matter or urgency.

5.3 Practitioners should work in partnership with parents to a support the victim of bullying. They can do this by helping the child improve their personal and social skills, including assertiveness techniques and conflict resolution. You can also provide support by encouraging the child to talk, listen to their problems, believing them if they say they are being bullied, providing reassurance that it is not their fault, discussing the issue with a senior member of staff and taking action by following the settings’ anti-bulling procedure.

6.1 Children’s self esteem can be greatly boosted by an effective key person approach. Many aspects of this support the safeguarding of children. Listening and tuning into a child are import aspects of this. The key person notices changes in the child’s behaviour and emotion well being and developing a trusting relationship so that the child feel like they can talk to their key person about thing that are upsetting them. The child must know that you are there to listen and will believe what he or she is telling you. It is important to allow the child to express their feelings, such as anger, sadness and happiness, they may feel more confident that they can have a range of emotions.

You can increase a child’s confidence by making the child feel a sense of belonging and that they have a unique set of qualities that are valued. It is important to show genuine interest in what a child is doing or saying. You can also work with parents to support their child’s self confidence and self esteem. Help a parent to understand that their child is finding a particular situation difficult and wha they can do to help, support parent with practical advise such as care or clothing, offer emotional and practical support in cases of family conflict or domestic violence.

6.2 Resilience is a crucial life skill that children require to survive the turbulences that life can provide. Resilience provides a person with the ability to deal with arising issues without it largely effecting their well being. It is something that they will develop in childhood and take with them into adult hood while continuing to improve their strength of resilience. It is therefore extremely important that adults support the resilience of young people. It teaches them to act in a way that will repair any damage caused by a major life event, good or bad, and enables them to regain self esteem. A lack of resilience can lead to cases of depression in an arising situation where the person feels unable to cope. If children are resilient it will help them in everyday life as a child, to overcome issues, hold onto self-esteem if victims of bullying and be better at dealing with life. This will enable them ot be happier individuals who can carry this resilience into adult life.

6.3 It is important to work with children to enable them to have the strategies to protect themselves for neglect or abuse so they have a means of preventing it from happening. As part of this prevention role it is important that children understand what is and isn’t acceptable behaviour towards them, how to stay safe from harm, speak up if they have any worries or concerns, develop awareness and resilience. Being actively involved in prevention helps children stay safe both in the present and in the future.

6.4 One way to empower children and young people to make positive and informed decisions that will support their well being and safety is to encourage them to trust their own feelings and judgement in difficult situations. You can use role play as a tool to help them think about what to do if their friends are doing something they feel uncomfortable with such as having sex, drinking, drugs etc. Peer pressure can often be very strong, children and young people to decide upon limits for what they will and wont do so they can cope if a situation does arise.

Make suer children understand the dangers of situations that may put their safety at risk, such a; being left home alone, playing in deserted or dark places, being out on their own, talking to strangers, accepting lifts from strangers and walking home alone, especially in the dark. Role play, stories and television can also be used to discuss acceptable risk taking. Children can discuss the actions of characters and identify risks they are taking in their own lives. Children also need to know where they can go to get help if they need it. They should be encouraging to find people in the setting or within their community who can help keep them safe.

7.1 Risks associated with using the internet and mobile phones usually revolve around contact with strangers, either posing as themselves or someone the child may trust. These people may try to obtain information from them, coerce them into meeting them which is highly dangerous. There are also issues of fraud around online shopping where criminals can obtain bank account details from the website used and use them as a theft devise.

7.2 You can reduce risks of using social networking sites (including chat rooms) by teaching children not to give out personal information that could lead the recipient to discover who they are and never arrange to meet anyone they have “met” in a chatroom. If young people wish to use social networking sites, they should be taught how to make the settings of they profile private so that only accepted people they know and trust can view their postings. Additionally, children and young people should be taught only to accept “friend requests” from people they are friends with in real life. They should never disclose personal information online. Filtering systems can be used to stop children and young people accessing inappropriate content on the internet. The curriculum should also provide opportunities to teach internet safety in ICT lessons. There should be procedures in p[lace to deal with “personal alleging” by a child or young person as a result of internet safety education. The setting must have a nominated member of staff who is in charge of child protection issues.

It is important that children and young people are aware of the risks of online shopping. They should be encouraged to ensure their computer has anti-virus software and a firewall in place to provide protection against the potential risks of online shopping. You should only use online retailers you trust and check their privacy policy before buying anything. Ensure that you have a strong password and know what a secure website looks like. Print out a copy of any online orders you have made and always check your bank statement after buying anything online. UK mobile phone operators take steps to protect children and young people from accessing inappropriate material on their phones. They do this using internet filters, and having the option to register a mobile phone as a child so they can not access material for over 18s. They also advise that bluetooth (which enables bluetooth users to “talk” to each other) is turned off on children and young people’s phones. Children and young people can be educated on e-safety by being given the following tips; Think carefully about who you give your mobile number to.

Do not reply to any unwanted texts or messages. Be careful what you download to your phone as there are growing numbers of viruses. Check with your friends if you are planning to upload a photo or video with them in it before uploading it. Remember to take control of your own image as one picture can become permanent when uploaded to the internet.

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StudyScroll. (2016). Understand how to safeguard the well-being of children and young people. [Online]. Available at: https://studyscroll.com/%ef%bb%bfunderstand-how-to-safeguard-the-well-being-of-children-and-young-people-essay [Accessed: 29-Sep-2023]

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