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Child Protection Policy

 

 

This policy was originally drafted in 2016 response to the following pieces of legislationand was redrafted in January 2019 to include current procedures and practices.

 

 

References

Science 2001)

 

The Board of Management (BoM) recognises that child protection and welfare considerations permeate all aspects of school life and must be reflected in all of the school’s policies, practices and activities. Accordingly, in accordance with the requirements of the Department of Education and Skills, Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post Primary Schools, the BoM ofLoughquittane N.Shas agreed the following Child Protection Policy.

 

The BoM has adopted and will implement fully and without modification the Department’s Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post Primary Schools as part of this overall child protection policy.

 

The Designated Liaison Person (DLP) is Alison Coffey

 

The Deputy Designated Liaison Person (Deputy DLP) is Rachel Kelliher

 

In its policies, practices and activities, Loughquittane N.S will adhere to the following principles of best practice in child protection and welfare.  The school will recognise that the protection and welfare of children is of paramount importance, regardless of all other considerations:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Certain policies such as Loughquittane N.S. Code of Behaviour/Anti-bullying Policy / SPHE and Stay Safe,will take particular account of this Child Protection Policy. This policy will also be considered with reference to the participation by pupils in sporting activities and, other extra-curricular activities and school outings. Other practices and activities, where child protection might have particular relevance, will take due consideration of the procedures outlined within this policy.The Board has ensured that the necessary policies, protocols or practices as appropriate are in place in respect of each of the above listed items.

 

This policy has been made available to school personnel and on the Loughquittane N.S. website. A copy of this policy will be made available to the patron, and DES if requested.

 

Designated Liaison Person (DLP)

In Loughquittane N.S, Alison Coffey the Principal, appointed by the BoM, is the DLP. Rachel Kelliher acts as Deputy DLP. Both teachers have undertaken training from the Child Abuse Prevention Programme and on the Stay Safe Programme.

 

The DLP has specific responsibility for child protection and will represent the school in all correspondence with Túsla, An Garda Siochana and other parties in connection with allegations of abuse. All matters pertaining to the processing or investigation of child abuse should be processed through the DLP.

 

Further information on the responsibilities of the DLP can be referred to on page 14 section 3.3. of ‘Children First’ Dept.Ed. 2011

 

The DLP acts in cases where there are reasonable grounds for suspicion or where an allegation has been made, as referred to in ‘Child Protection’ (DES 2001, pages 11-12).

 

Confidentiality

All information regarding concerns of possible child abuse should only be shared on a ‘need to know’ basis in the interests of the child. The giving of information to those who need to have that information is not a breach of confidentiality. This procedure exists for the protection of a child who may have been or has been abused. The DLP who is submitting a report to the Child & Family Agency or An Garda Siochána should inform a parent/guardian, unless doing so is likely to endanger the child or place that child at further risk. A decision not to inform a parent/guardian should be briefly recorded together with the reasons for not doing so.

 

In emergency situations, where the Child & Family Agency cannot be contacted, and the child appears to be at immediate and serious risk, An Garda Siochána should be contacted immediately. A child should not be left in a dangerous situation pending Health Board intervention.

 

Protection for Persons Reporting Child Abuse

The protection for persons reporting Child Abuse Act 1998 provides immunity from civil liability to any person who reports child abuse ‘reasonably and in good faith’ to designated officers of Health Boards or any member of an Garda Siochána, see ‘Children First’  2011 pages 16 + 94

 

Qualified Privilege

People making a report to the DLP in good faith have ‘qualified privilege’ under common law, see ‘Child Protection Guidelines and Procedures’ (DES 2001, page 6).Reports made to Child & Family Agencies may be subject to provisions of the Freedom of Information Act, 1997. This act enables members of the public to obtain access to personal information relating to them which is in the possession of public bodies. However, the act also provides that public bodies may refuse access to information obtained by them in confidence.

 

 

Definition and Recognition of Child Abuse

Child abuse can be categorised into four different types:

 

Each of these categories is defined in full in ‘Children First’ (Dept of Children and Youth Affairs 2011, pages 8 – 12) but for the purpose of this policy attention is drawn to the stated definition of ‘neglect’.

 

Neglect can be defined in terms of an omission, where the child suffers significant harm or impairment of development by being deprived of food, clothing, warmth, hygiene, intellectual stimulation, supervision and safety, attachment to and affection from adults, medical care.

 

Guidelines for Recognition of Child Abuse

A list of child abuse indicators is contained in Appendix 1 ‘Children First’ (Dept. Children and Youth Affairs 2011, pages 70-74). This policy draws particular attention to ‘persistent evidence’ of neglect, including indicators such as no lunch, lack of uniform, no homework, poor attendance, persistent health problems, lack of sleep indicating inappropriate television viewing late at night and other evidence that would indicate lack of supervision in the home. All signs and symptoms must be examined in the total context of the child’s situation and family circumstances.

 

There are commonly three stages in the identification of child abuse:

  1. Considering the possibility
  2. Looking out for signs of abuse
  3. Recording of information

 

Each of these stages is developed in ‘Children First’ (Dept.Children + Youth Affairs 2011, pages 10-11).

 

Handling Disclosures from Children

‘Child Protection’ (DES 2001, page 9) gives comprehensive details of how disclosures should be approached. Staff are advised to deal with each situation sensitively, reassure the child but not to make promises that cannot be fulfilled.

 

The adult should not ask leading questions or make suggestions. They should explain that further help may have to be sought. The discussion should then be recorded accurately.

 

The record should include reference to what was observed with sketches of physical injury where necessary. It should also record when the alleged incident took place.Records should be kept in a secure place.The information should then be conveyed to the school DLP.

 

If the reporting person and the DLP are satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for the suspicion/allegation, the procedures outlined in ‘Children First’ (Dept. Children + Youth Affairs 2011 page 14) will be adhered to. Standardised reporting forms should be used (Appendix 3 p.78). The content of the report should follow the guidelines on page 14 of ‘Children First’2011.TheChairperson of the BoM will be informed before the DLP makes contact with the relevant authorities.

 

Allegations or Suspicions in relation to School Employees

The Chairperson and the DLP are primarily concerned with the protection of the children in their care. However, employees must be protected against false and malicious claims.

Legal Advice should be sought by the board in relation to the employee.If the allegation is against the DLP, the Chairperson of the BOM will assume the responsibility for reporting the matter to the Child & Family Agency.

 

Reporting

When an allegation of abuse is made against a school employee, the DLP should act in accordance with the procedures outlined in ‘Child Protection’ (DES 2001, page 11).A written statement of the allegation should be sought from the person/agency making the report. A parent/guardian may make a statement on behalf of a child.The DLP should always inform the Chairperson of the BoM.

 

School employees, other than the DLP, who receive allegations against another school employee, should immediately report the matter to the DLP.School employees who form suspicions regarding conduct of another school employee should consult with the DLP. The procedures outlined in ‘Child Protection’ (DES 2001, page 16) should be referred to.

 

The Chairperson and the DLP should make the employee aware privately:

 

  1. That an allegation has been made against him/her
  2. Of the nature of the allegation
  3. Whether or not the Child & Family Agency or Gardaí has been informed.

 

The employee should be given a copy of the written allegation and any other relevant documentation. The employee should be requested to respond to the allegation in writing to the BoM within a specified period and told that this may be passed to the Gardaí, Child & Family Agency and legal advisers.

 

The Chairperson must take the necessary steps to protect the child and may consult the BoM in this matter. The BoM may direct that the employee take administrative leave with pay and avoid suspension, thus removing any implication of guilt.The DES should be immediately informed.

 

Further follow-up procedures should be observed as outlined in ‘Child Protection Guidelines and Procedures’ (page 17).

 

School Measures Taken to Protect the Children in Our Care

There are a number of areas where common sense in our school should prevail in order to protect the children in the school and the staff who care for them. In relation to this, certain points should be noted:

 

1.Loughquittane N.S will fully implement the Stay Safe programme

2.A copy of the school’s child protection policy, which includes the names of the Designated Liaison Person (DLP) and Deputy DLP, will be made available to all school personnel and on the Loughquittane N.S. website.

3.The name of the DLP and other relevant support services are displayed in a prominent position near the main entrance to the school

4.In addition to informing the school authority of those cases where a report involving a child in the school has been submitted to the HSE, the DLP shall also inform the school authority of cases where the DLP sought advice from the HSE and as a result of this advice, no report was made. At each BoM meeting, the Principal’s Report shall include the number of all such cases and this shall be recorded in the minutes of the board meeting.

5.Loughquittane N.Swill undertake an annual review of its Child Protection Policy and its implementation by the school. A checklist, to be used in undertaking the review (included at Appendix 1). The school has put in place an action plan to address any areas for improvement which might be identified in the annual review. The Board of Management shall make arrangements to inform school personnel that the review has been undertaken. Written notification that the review has been undertakenshall be provided to the ParentAssociation. A record of the review and its outcome shall be made available, if requested, to the patron and the DES.

 

 

It should be noted that children with disabilities may be more at risk of abuse due to a number of reasons (see list outlined on page 99 of ‘Children First Guidelines’).Parents, teachers and all staff involved in services for children with disabilities need to be familiar with the indicators of abuse and to be alert for signs of abuse.

 

 

 

 

Ratification of Policy

 

This policy will be reviewed by the Board of Management once in every school year.

 

This policy was adopted by the Board of Management on

 

Signed: Lily Cronin                                 Signed: Alison Coffey

Chairperson of Board of Management     Principal

 

Date: 29/11/2016

 

 

Date of next review: November 2017

The Board further endorses the Principal, Alison Coffey as the school DLP and Rachel Kelliher as Deputy DLP.

 

 

On behalf of the Board of Management:

 

________________(Chairperson)Date:

 


Appendix 1: Checklist for Annual Review of the Child Protection Policy

 

The checklist is designed as an aid to conducting this review and is not intended as an exhaustive list. The BoM may wish to include other items in the checklist that are of particular relevance to Loughquittane N.S. and reserves the right to do so if/when the need occurs.

 

 

1. As part of the overall review process, Boards of Management should also assess other school policies, practices and activities vis a vis their adherence to the principles of best practice in child protection and welfare as set out in the school’s Child Protection policy YES NO
2. Has the Board formally adopted a child protection policy in accordance with the ‘Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post Primary Schools’? YES NO
3. As part of the school’s child protection policy, has the Board formally adopted, without modification, the ‘Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post Primary Schools’? YES NO
4. Are there both a DLP and a Deputy DLP currently appointed? YES NO
5. Are the relevant contact details (HSE and An Garda Síochána) to hand? YES NO
6. Has the DLP attended available child protection training? YES NO
7. Has the Deputy DLP attended available child protection training? YES NO
8. Have any members of the Board attended child protection training? YES NO
9. Has the school’s child protection policy identified other school policies, practices and activities that are regarded as having particular child protection relevance? YES NO
10. Has the Board ensured that the Department’s “Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post Primary Schools” are  available to all school personnel? YES NO
11. Does the Board have arrangements in place to communicate the school’s child protection policy to new school personnel? YES NO
12. Is the Board satisfied that all school personnel have been made aware of their responsibilities under the ‘Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post Primary Schools’? YES NO
13. Since the Board’s last annual review, was the Board informed of any child protection reports made to the HSE/An Garda Síochána by the DLP? YES NO
14. Since the Board’s last annual review, was the Board informed of any cases where the DLP sought advice from the HSE and as a result of this advice, no report to the HSE was made? YES NO
15. Is the Board satisfied that the child protection procedures in relation to the making of reports to the HSE/ An Garda Síochána were appropriately followed? YES NO
16. Were child protection matters reported to the Board appropriately recorded in the Board minutes? YES NO
17. Is the Board satisfied that all records relating to child protection are appropriately filed and stored securely? YES NO
18. Has the Board ensured that the Parents’ Association has been provided with the school’s child protection policy? YES NO

 

 


APPENDIX A

 

Child Protection Practices

The staff and BoM of this school have identified the following as areas of specific concern in relation to Child Protection. Following discussion and consultation, the staff and BoM have agreed that the following practices be adopted:

 

 

While physical contact may be used to comfort, reassure or assist a child, the following should be factors in determining its appropriateness:

 

 

School personnel should avoid doing anything of a personal nature for children that they can do for themselves.

 

School personnel should never engage in or allow:

 

 

All media products (CDs, DVDs etc.) and websites should be checked for their appropriateness with regard to age and suitability.

 

Visitors/Guest Speakers

Vetted guest speakers and visiting teachers of varying disciplines, employed by the BoM of Loughquittane N.S to perform specific duties, willNOT be left to work with a class alone.

 

Visitors/Guest speakers should never be left alone with pupils.The school (principal/ teachers) has a responsibility to check out the credentials of the visitor/guest speaker and to ensure that the material in use is appropriate.

 

Children with specific toileting/intimate care needs

 

Toileting accidents

Clean underwear and suitable clothing will be kept in the school so that if a pupil has an ‘accident’ of this nature, they will in the first instance be offered fresh clothing into which they can change.

If the pupil for whatever reason cannot clean or change themselves and the parents/guardians cannot be contacted, the child will be assisted by members of staff familiar to the child. In all such situations, two members of staff should be present.A record of all such incidents will be kept and Principal and parents will be notified.

 

Accidents

While every precaution will be taken under our Health and Safety Statement to ensure the safety of children, we realise that accidents will happen. Accidents will be noted in our Incident book and will be addressed under our Accident Policy as part of Health and Safety.

 

On-to-one teaching

 

Changing for games/ PE / Swimming

Pupils will be expected to dress and undress themselves for Games/ PE/ Swimming.  Where assistance is needed this will be done in the communal area and with the consent of parents. Under no circumstances will members of staff/ volunteers be expected to or allowed to dress/undress a child in a cubicle/private area. In such situations where privacy is required, the parents/guardians of the child will be asked to assist the child. Loughquittane N.S will endeavour to have a member of staff in the male changing area and one female member of staff in the female changing area.

 

At all times there must be adequate supervision of pupils.While every effort will be made to adhere to best practice as agreed and outlined above, in the event of an emergency where this is not possible or practicable, a full record of the incident should be made and reported to the Principal and parents.

 

Attendance

Our school attendance will be monitored as per our attendance policy. With regards to child protection, we will pay particular attention to trends in non-attendance. We will also monitor non-attendance in correlation with signs of neglect/physical/emotional abuse.

 

Behaviour

Children are encouraged at all times to play co-operatively and inappropriate behaviour will be addressed under our Code of Behaviour. If an incident occurs which we consider to be of a sexualised nature we will notify the DLP who will record it and respond to it appropriately.

 

Bullying

Bullying behaviour will be addressed under our Anti-Bullying policy. If the behaviour involved is of a sexualised nature or regarded as being particularly abusive, then the matter will be referred to the DLP.

 

Children travelling in staff cars

Members of the school staff will not carry children alone in their cars at any time.

 

Communication

Every effort will be made to enhance pupil-teacher communication. If pupils have concerns they will be listened to sympathetically. The SPHE/Oral Language/RE programmes allow for open pupil-teacher communication, which is hoped will aid the pupil-teacher relationship. If teachers have to communicate with pupils on a one-to-one basis, they are requested to leave the classroom door open or request a colleague to attend.

 

Induction of Staff

The DLP will be responsible for informing all new teachers and ancillary staff of the Children First – National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children (2011). The DLP will give a copy of Appendix 1 of Children First and this Child Protection Policy to all new staff. All new teachers are expected to teach the designated SPHE objectives for their class.

 

Induction of Pupils

All parents and children will be made aware of attendance rules and their implications as laid down in the Education Welfare Act (2000). All parents will be informed of the programmes in place in the school that deal with personal development e.g. RSE, Walk Tall, Stay Safe and SPHE. All new parents will be given a copy of the sShool Booklet, which outlines the procedures parents and children should use when contacting the school if there are absences or concerns of an educational/personal/family matter. Parents are encouraged to make an appointment with the class teacher/principal if they wish to discuss their child’s progress. All parents are invited to read a copy of the school’s Code of Behaviour and Anti-Bullying policies which are available online.

 

Internet Safety

It is the intention of the Principal and Staff at Loughquittane N.S to ensure that child protection concerns will be addressed in the school’s Acceptable Use Policy as part of its Information and Communication Technology policy. The Stay Safe lessons in each classroom will be supplemented with lessons from the Webwise resource pack. There will also be periodic meetings during which parents will be invited to attend a session with an invited speaker to stay abreast of the ever-changing situation regarding internet access.

 

Record Keeping

Teachers will keep records on each child’s reports. These records are kept in the drawer of each teacher’s desk. Attendance is taken daily through the Aladdin Schools system. Sensitive information regarding children will be shared on a need-to-know basis. All educational files of pupils who no longer attend this school are kept in the filing cabinet in the office.

 

Supervision

Supervision of children will be undertaken by all staff to ensure that there is comprehensive supervision of children at all breaksin accordance with the Health & Safety Statement and Code of Behaviour. A rota will be displayed to cover 11 o’clock and lunchtime breaks.

 

 

Visibility

Teachers will ensure that children are visible in the school playground. Children will not be allowed to spend time in classrooms, toilets or sheds where they would not be under adult supervision. They are not to leave the school playground or to engage with adults who are outside of the school playground.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Appendix B

 

Reporting Form for Child Protection and Welfare Concerns to a Child & Family Agency

  1. Date of Report
  2. Name of person reporting
  3. Address of person reporting
  4. Relationship of reporting person with the child concerned
  5. Method of report (telephone call, personal call to office)
  6. Family Details

 

Details of Child Concerned

 

Surname

Forename

DOB

Male/female

Alias (known as)

Address:

 

 

Correspondence address (if different)

 

 

Telephone number

 

 

  1. State whether you consider your report to indicate (a) suspected or actual child abuse or (b) need for family support, giving reasons

 

Physical

Abuse

Sexual

Abuse

Emotional

Abuse

 

Neglect

Suspect ÿ ÿ ÿ ÿ
Actual ÿ ÿ ÿ ÿ

 

 

  1. Details of other family members/household members

 

 

Name

 

Age

Relationship to child

 

Employment/School

 

Location

In cases of emergency, or outside Health Board hours, reports should be made to An Garda Síochána.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Name of Other Professionals Involved with Child/ren and/or Parents/Carers.

 

Public health nurse:

School:

 

General practitioner:

 

Any other agency or professional involved (please describe the nature of any involvement):

 

Report Details.

 

  1. Describe, as fully as possible the nature of the problem or incident being reported, giving details of times and dates of individual incidents, the circumstances in which they occurred, any other persons who were present at the time, and their involvement

 

 

 

 

  1. Has any explanation been offered by the child, and/or parents/carers, which would account for the current problem or incident? (Details)

 

 

 

 

  1. As far as possible, describe the state of the child/ren’s physical, mental and emotional well-being.

 

 

 

 

  1. If child abuse is being alleged, who is believed to be responsible for causing it?

 

Include (if known)

 

Name:

 

Address:

 

Degree of contact with child:

 

Degree of contact with other children:

 

 

  1. Describe (in detail) any risks to which the child/ren in this situation is/are believed to be exposed.

 

 

 

 

  1. How did this information come to your attention

 

 

 

 

 

  1. What has prompted you to report your concern at this time?

 

 

 

 

  1. What evidence of harm exists at present?

 

 

 

 

  1. Are there any factors in the child and/or parents/carers’ present situation, which may have relevance to the current concern? (for example, recent illness, bereavement, separation, addiction, mental health problem or other difficulty)

 

 

 

 

  1. Are there any factors in the child and/or parents/carers’ situation which could be considered protective or helpful (for example, extended family or community support)?

 

 

 

 

  1. Has any action been taken in response to the current concern or incident (Details)

 

 

 

 

  1. Are the child’s parents/ carers aware that this concern is being reported to the health board?

 

 

 

 

  1. Is there a need for urgent protective action at this point?

 

 

 

 

  1. Any other comments.

 

 

 

 

Signed: ____________________

Date: ____________

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Appendix C

 

Dear Parents/Guardians,

 

In recent years, as a society, we have become very aware of the problem of child abuse through neglect, emotional, physical or sexual abuse.

 

Each one of us has a duty to protect children and Children First, the National Guidelines, for the Protection and Welfare of Children noted that teachers, who are the main care givers to children outside the family, are particularly well placed to observe and monitor children for signs of abuse.

 

In response to this, the Department of Education and Skills published Guidelines and Procedures for all schools in relation to child protection and welfare. These guidelines promote the safety and welfare of all children and are to be welcomed.

 

The Board of Management of Loughquittane N.Shas adopted these guidelines as school policy. Consequently, if school staff suspect or are alerted to possible child abuse, they are obliged to refer this matter to the Health Service Executive (HSE). The HSE will then assess the situation and provide support for the child concerned.

 

Children First, the National Guidelines for the Protection of Children may be assessed on the website of the Department of Health and Children (www.dohc.ie) and the Department of Education and Skills Child Protection Guidelines can be read on the Department’s website (www.education.ie).  Parents/Guardians are also welcome to look through the guidelines here at the school.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

 

 

Principal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Child Protection Contacts

 

DLP

Alison Coffey

 

 

Deputy DLP

 

                                                              Rachel Kelliher

 

 

Garda Station

Telephone: 064-6631222

 

 

 

Local Contact For

‘The Children and Family Social Services of the HSE’

 

 

TELEPHONE: 064-6636030

 

Address:Child & Family Agency,

 

St. Margaret’s Rd., Killarney