My first responsibility and priority is towards the children in my care and their welfare and well-being is paramount under Section 27 of the Children Act 1989, Section 40 of the Children Act 2006 and the government document Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015. Child abuse happens to children and young people of both sexes, at all ages and in all cultures, religions and social classes and both to children and young people with and without disabilities. Abuse includes the risk of peer on peer abuse which may happen in person or online. If I have any cause for concern, I will report it to Northamptonshire Safeguarding Children Board.
As the registered childminder, I Erika Bradley take the lead responsibility (designated safeguarding lead) for safeguarding children within the setting and ensure that policies and procedures are fit for purpose.
I am familiar with the relevant local procedures and am aware of where to find the most updated information. The procedures can be found by viewing Northamptonshire Safeguarding Children Board.
As an Ofsted childminder, I have regard to the government’s statutory guidance documents: ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’ and the ‘Prevent duty guidance for England and Wales’. I also have access to other helpful documents such as ‘What to do if you are worried a child is being abused’; and ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’. These documents would be referred to if a relevant situation arose.
I am aware of the indicators of physical, sexual and emotional abuse and neglect, or a mixture of these types of abuse; and of specific situations that may indicate that the main categories are involved, such as domestic abuse, forced marriage, peer on peer abuse, substance misuse, gang activity, female genital mutilation, child sexual exploitation, radicalisation and extremism. I am aware that inappropriate adult behaviour may constitute the grooming or conditioning of children for an abusive interaction.
Children who have special educational needs or disabilities are more vulnerable to abuse due to factors such as lack of communication skills, reliance on others for intimate care and limited social experiences. I recognise the need to consider changes of behaviour and not attribute them to their disability but consider abuse as for any other child.
As an Ofsted childminder, I have a duty to have due regard to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism under section 26 of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015. This duty is known as the Prevent Duty. If I have concerns that a child or young person is at risk of radicalisation, extremism or being drawn into terrorism, I can seek advice from the Department for Education’s dedicated helpline on 020 7340 7264. If I identify patterns of behaviour that lead me to believe a child or young person is engaged in an ideology, is intent in causing harm or is capable of committing violent acts, the MASH (Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub) team.
I aim to provide an environment where all children feel safe and can talk to me when they are worried about anything, enabling me to provide or seek any additional support that may be required. Any instances of discriminatory or derogatory language or behaviour (including language that is about disabled people or is homophobic or racist) will be challenged and an explanation given as to why it is unacceptable.
I understand that children will be absent from the setting for varying reasons. For some children, repeated unexplained periods of absence; or leaving unexpectedly can mean that they are subject to, or at risk of, abuse or exploitation. I use attendance records to monitor children’s attendance and absences and will report any concerning periods of absence to the local team.
With the increase in usage of information technology (IT) within today’s society, it is vital to safeguard children against potentially harmful exploitation. Any IT equipment used within my setting has appropriate filters in place to protect children from harmful online material. It is requested that children do not bring any IT equipment from home. I understand the risks involved with games that can be played online with users from outside the setting. I will help children to understand that they should not give any personal information to people they do not know because sometimes people pretend to be someone else when online. I will tell children that I understand that the internet is a great tool for fun and learning but that they should speak up and not keep secrets if something is worrying them.
Consent for taking photographs and the use of these images if applicable, will be given by parents/carers in my consent agreements. I use my personal mobile phone to take images of a children during an activity. These images will only be stored and used in line with parental consent.
When my personal mobile phone is used as a phone, it is only used for essential calls enabling me to always meet the needs of the children.
I ensure that all minded children are protected against exploitation from others by never leaving a child out of my sight with an individual who is in possession of a camera or photographic device which may be used inappropriately (children will not have access to any photographic device including mobile phones whilst in my care, without permission).
Parents/carers must notify me of any concerns they have about their child and any pre-existing accidents, incidents or injuries affecting the child, which will be recorded and signed by the parent/carers(s) on the day of entry.
If I am concerned about a child’s welfare and wish to discuss my concerns, I may contact the NSPCC or other relevant local support services for advice including the local MASH/Children’s Social Care team. Confidentially will be assured only when there is no risk of harm to a child. In the case of an emergency, the police will be contacted directly.
I will keep a factual record of the concern and will ask the parents/carers for an explanation, and signature, on the same day, providing it would not put the child at risk. I will implement the Northamptonshire Safeguarding Children Board. procedures without delay to minimise any risk to the child.
I would then report the concerns immediately to the local MASH/Children’s Social Care team who have the experience and responsibility to assess the situation.
If an allegation of serious harm or abuse by any person living, working, or looking after children at the premises or elsewhere is made, it will be reported to Ofsted and include the action taken in respect of the allegations. These notifications must be made as soon as is reasonably practicable, but at least within 14 days of the allegations being made. The LSCB’s procedures will also be followed including reporting it directly to the Designated Officer (DO) within 1 working day of the allegation being made. My insurance company will be contacted, together with any local support that is available.
If I, as the safeguarding lead, am observed displaying inappropriate behaviour then the observer must report the incident directly to Ofsted and the DO following the procedure stated above.
It is not my responsibility to attempt to investigate a situation myself.