Child Safeguarding Policy and Procedure

1. Purpose

1.1   The purpose of a Child Protection Policy and Procedure is to ensure that appropriate action is taken when a young person, up to the age of 18 years, is suspected of either being abused or at risk from parents, guardians, carers, adult visitors, other responsible adults or other young people.

1.2   Redwood Home Care Ltd's Child Protection Policy recognises that the safety and protection of children is paramount and has priority over all other interests. The purpose of this policy is to protect any children or young adults who receive our services. It also includes the children or child relatives of adults who may be receiving our services. Whilst delivering services to children may not form part of our core business, we recognise that everyone working with children has a responsibility for keeping them safe and we have a statutory duty to ensure robust procedures are in place.

1.3   This policy refers to all children up to 18 years of age (including the unborn) regardless of nationality, culture or religion. If the child has ‘learning disabilities’ or is a care leaver, their needs may extend to their 21st birthday (Section 9 Children Act 2004). The term ‘children’ will be used throughout this policy to refer to children and young people.

1.4   To support Redwood Home Care Ltd in meeting the following Key Lines of Enquiry: 

1.5   To meet the legal requirements of the regulated activities that Redwood Home Care Ltd is registered to provide:

•     Counter- Terrorism and Security Act 2015

•     The Young Carers' (Need Assessment) Regulations 2015

•     Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act (CSDPA) 1970

•     Children and Social Work Act 2017

•     Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003

•     Children and Young Persons Act 1933

•     Serious Crime Act 2015

•     Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009

•     Adoption and Children's Act 2002

•     Digital Economy Act 2017

•     Modern Slavery Act 2015

•     United Nations Convention Rights of the Child 1989

•     The Sexual Offences Act 2003

•     The Police Act 1997

•     The Care Act 2014

•     Children Act 1989

•     Children Act 2004

•     Equality Act 2010

•     Human Rights Act 1998

•     Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998

•     Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006

•     General Data Protection Regulation 2016

•     Data Protection Act 2018

 

2. Scope

2.1   The following roles may be affected by this policy:

•     All staff

•     Volunteers

•     Anyone working on behalf of our organisation

•     Senior Management including Directors

•     Students, Trainees, Apprentices, Work Experience

•     Contractors

•     Agency Staff

 

2.2   The following people may be affected by this policy:

•     Service Users

•     Children

 

2.3   The following stakeholders may be affected by this policy:

•     Family

•     Commissioners

•     External health professionals

•     Local Authority

•     NHS

 

3. Objectives

3.1   The objective of Redwood Home Care Ltd is to have a coordinated approach to child protection and to ensure that Redwood Home Care Ltd procedures dovetail with policies and procedures published by the Local Safeguarding Partners of Redwood Home Care Ltd whose contact details we have appended to this policy.

3.2   To ensure that the voice of the child is heard and that a child-centred approach is taken.

 

4. Policy

4.1   Statement of Intent 

Redwood Home Care Ltd recognises the vulnerability of children and believes that it is always unacceptable for a child or young person to experience abuse of any kind. It wholly supports the principle that the welfare of the child is paramount and accepts the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of the Child. Redwood Home Care Ltd understands that children can be under threat, and/or abused by parents/family, other children and young people, carers, staff and others and that everyone who works with children has a responsibility for keeping them safe. Redwood Home Care Ltd will ensure that it works in partnership with other agencies, children and their families so that children and families receive the right help, at the right time and with everyone who comes into contact with them, understanding that they all have a role to play in identifying concerns, sharing information and taking prompt action. Additionally, Redwood Home Care Ltd believes that all children, regardless of ethnicity, gender, culture, sexual orientation, disability, faith or religious belief, have a right to equal protection from all types of harm or abuse.

4.2   Redwood Home Care Ltd recognises that deaf and disabled children and those with complex health needs are at increased risk of abuse. Furthermore, it understands that some children have increased vulnerability because of the impact of previous experiences, their level of dependency, their communication needs, or other issues and that threats can take a variety of different forms including sexual, physical and emotional abuse, neglect, exploitation by criminal gangs and organised crime groups, trafficking, online abuse, sexual exploitation and the influences of extremism leading to radicalisation. All necessary steps will be taken to ensure that the rights of all children are respected and that opportunities for abuse to occur are minimised.

4.3   Redwood Home Care Ltd will seek to keep children and young people safe by:

•     Empowering children, listening, respecting and responding in a compassionate but effective way

•     Ensuring a child-centred approach to service planning and delivery and keeping the child in focus when making decisions about their lives

•     Ensuring that all staff read and understand this policy

•     Providing child protection training to staff to enable them to recognise signs of abuse and follow appropriate procedures when dealing with child protection concerns

•     Adopting safe staff recruitment, selection and vetting procedures

•     Sharing information about child protection and good practice with staff, volunteers, parents, carers and relevant agencies

•     Requiring all staff to follow the reporting and recording procedures in every case of suspected abuse or disclosed abuse

•     Ensuring that all staff with responsibility for, or contact with children, will be provided with appropriate policies, guidance, training and support to enable them to implement this policy

•     Providing effective management and support systems for all staff so that staff know who to contact within Redwood Home Care Ltd in the event of child protection concerns arising

•     Working within the relevant Local Safeguarding Partners' guidance and procedures

•     Ensuring policy and practice remains current and up to date and dovetails with local procedures

4.4   Information Sharing and Confidentiality

Good communication is essential for any organisation. In Redwood Home Care Ltd, every effort will be made to assure individuals that, should they have concerns, they will be listened to and taken seriously.

It is the responsibility of the management staff to ensure that information is available to, and is exchanged between, all those involved in this organisation and its activities.

Children and young people have a right to information, especially any information that could make life better and safer for them. Redwood Home Care Ltd will act to ensure that they have information about how, and with whom, they can share their concerns, complaints and anxieties.

When sharing information, staff will be sensitive to the level of understanding and maturity, as well as to the level of responsibility of the people with whom they are sharing.

We understand that some information is confidential and should only be shared on a strictly need-to-know basis. Redwood Home Care Ltd will ensure that staff follow the guidelines: Information Sharing Advice for Practitioners Providing Safeguarding Services to Children, Young People, Parents and Carers (July 2018).

Redwood Home Care Ltd will ensure that staff understand that the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Data Protection Act 2018 and human rights law are not barriers to justified information sharing, but provide a framework to ensure that personal information about living individuals is shared appropriately.

4.5   Safe Recruitment

Redwood Home Care Ltd will adopt a consistent and thorough process of safe recruitment in order to ensure that those recruited are suitable. This includes ensuring that safe recruitment and selection procedures are adopted which deter, reject or identify people who might abuse children or are otherwise unsuitable to work with them. Redwood Home Care Ltd will not sub-contract to any organisation which has not been part of a safe recruitment process.

Redwood Home Care Ltd will ensure that the level of DBS check required for the role will be confirmed. The recruiting manager will ensure that clearance is obtained before the applicant commences employment. As an employer of staff in a ‘regulated activity’, Redwood Home Care Ltd has a responsibility to refer concerns to the Disclosure and Barring Service in accordance with the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006. Managers must report concerns to the the local District Council Child Protection Team.

4.6   Best Practice 

Redwood Home Care Ltd will adhere to HM Government's ' Working Together to Safeguard Children (2018)' and will follow, within the scope of its role and responsibilities, NICE guidance NG76 and CG89 in addition to other best practice documents cited in this policy and procedure.

 4.7   Accountabilities and Responsibilities

Individual staff have a responsibility to report and record any concerns, not to make decisions as to whether abuse has or has not occurred. An investigation into child abuse can only be undertaken by the Local Safeguarding Partners. Doing nothing is not an option. If we know or suspect that a child is being abused, we will do something about it and ensure that our work is properly recorded.

The Leadership Team at Redwood Home Care Ltd will: 

•     Be responsible for the effectiveness of this policy and related procedures and for ensuring that sufficient resources are available to support its implementation

•     Appoint a nominated Individual to ensure that this policy is agreed, implemented and reviewed within the clinical governance framework

•     Delegate responsibility for ensuring that this policy is integrated into the governance structure of Redwood Home Care Ltd and reviewed

•     Appoint a designated Safeguarding Leads(s) to undertake a lead role for safeguarding, including being involved in Serious Case Reviews with Local Safeguarding Partners and agreeing action plans for shortfalls or improvements in process, working with the local operational team

•     The Safeguarding Lead will review concerns identified, standardise process and learning and report to the committee responsible for reviewing safeguarding incidents, ensuring that the CQC is informed

The Registered Manager will:

•     Notify the designated Safeguarding Lead, if it is someone other than themselves, of any safeguarding concerns

•     Notify the designated Safeguarding Lead of the outcome of any safeguarding meetings not attended by the Lead

•     Ensure that they remain up to date on child protection processes in their own locality

•     Notify the CQC in line with CQC notification reporting requirements

•     Contact DBS in line with statutory reporting requirements

All managers are responsible for:

•     Ensuring that all staff are aware of their responsibilities in accordance with this policy and associated documents

•     Monitoring compliance with this policy within their area of responsibility

•     Providing support to staff involved in any children welfare incidents

•     Ensuring that staff complete approved safeguarding training

•     Ensuring that the services provided are compliant with Redwood Home Care Ltd safeguarding and child protection processes as well as the local District Council processes

•     Notifying the Registered Manager of any safeguarding concerns

•     Notifying the Registered Manager of the outcome of any safeguarding meetings not attended by the Registered Manager

 

5. Procedure

5.1   Recognising Children who May Need Early Help

Redwood Home Care Ltd should ensure that staff understand that they should be alert to the potential need for early help as stated in 'Working Together to Safeguard Children' (2018) for a child who:

•     Is disabled and has specific additional needs

•     Has special educational needs (whether or not they have a statutory Education, Health and Care Plan)

•     Is a young carer

•     Is showing signs of being drawn into anti-social or criminal behaviour, including gang involvement and association with organised crime groups

•     Is frequently missing/goes missing from care or from home

•     Is at risk of modern slavery, trafficking or exploitation

•     Is at risk of being radicalised or exploited

•     Is in a family circumstance presenting challenges for the child, such as drug and alcohol misuse, adult mental health issues and domestic abuse

•     Is misusing drugs or alcohol themselves

•     Has returned home to their family from care

•     Is a privately fostered child

 Additionally, staff should be aware of any new or emerging threats which include online abuse, grooming, sexual exploitation and radicalisation as well as having the ability to identify symptoms and triggers of abuse or neglect.

5.2   Local Procedures

All staff, including contracted or agency staff working with children, will familiarise themselves with the local child safeguarding policies, procedures and guidelines and work within them. Redwood Home Care Ltd will ensure that all staff within Redwood Home Care Ltd are aware and understand their local child protection policies and their localised reporting procedures for the local District Council. Copies of the local policy and procedure for the local District Council must be appended to this policy. Redwood Home Care Ltd should identify a member of staff responsible for safeguarding.

 5.3   Responding When a Child Discloses Abuse 

Keep the following considerations in mind when talking to a child who is disclosing abuse:

•     Help the child feel comfortable

•     Reassure the child that it is not their fault. Let them know that they have not done anything wrong

•     Do not react with shock, anger, disgust. Be calm

•     Do not force a child to talk. Give the child time. Let him/her talk to you at their own pace

•     Do not force a child to show injuries

•     Use terms and language that the child can understand

•     Do not ‘interview’ the child

•     Ask appropriate questions

•     Do not ask ‘why’ questions

•     Do not teach the child new terms or words. This is important in relation to the court and law

•     Find out what the child wants from you

•     Be honest with the child

•     Confirm the child’s feelings. Be supportive

•     Remember that the safety of the child is most important. Keep in mind that a child might be further abused if they report that they have spoken to someone about the abuse. If you feel that the child is in danger, you must act immediately 

5.4   Reporting Concerns

•     If the child requires immediate medical attention call an ambulance and inform the control room staff that there is a child protection concern

•     Call 999 if in immediate danger

•     Report incident/concerns to the relevant line manager who will support you to complete a report form

•     Report to the local District Council Child Social Care Team

5.5   Management of Allegations Against People in Positions of Trust

Redwood Home Care Ltd, when working with children and families, should have clear policies for dealing with allegations against people who work with children. Redwood Home Care Ltd will make a clear distinction between an allegation, a concern about the quality of care or practice or a complaint. An allegation may relate to a person who works with children who has:

•     Behaved in a way that has harmed a child, or may have harmed a child

•     Possibly committed a criminal offence against or related to a child

•     Behaved towards a child or children in a way that indicates they may pose a risk of harm to children

If an allegation arises it should:

•     Be reported immediately to a Senior Manager within Redwood Home Care Ltd

•     Be addressed as quickly as possible with a consistent and a fair and thorough investigation. Where it appears that a criminal offence may have been committed, the Police should be contacted immediately by the appropriate Senior Manager

•     The District Council’s Children's Social Care Team must be informed within one working day of all allegations that come to the attention of Redwood Home Care Ltd or that are made to the Police regarding an employee or someone in a position of trust working with, or on behalf of, or who is known to Redwood Home Care Ltd who may have caused harm to a child. It is the responsibility of the Registered Manager to ensure that the local District Council Children's Social Care Team is notified

5.6   Referral to DBS 

If Redwood Home Care Ltd removes an individual (paid worker or unpaid volunteer) from work in regulated activity with children (or would have, had the person not left first) because the person poses a risk of harm to children, it must make a referral to the Disclosure and Barring Service to consider whether to add the individual to the barred list. Where an individual is a registered practitioner such as a Registered Nurse, they should also be referred to their Registered Body, such as the Nursing and Midwifery Council, irrespective of whether they were working as a registered practitioner for Redwood Home Care Ltd.

 5.7   Safeguarding Disabled Children 

Research suggests that disabled children are at increased risk of abuse, and that the presence of multiple disabilities appears to increase the risk of both abuse and neglect. A child could be considered to be disabled if he or she has significant problems with communication, comprehension, vision, hearing or physical functioning. A failure to recognise disabled children's human rights can lead to abusive situations and practices.

Organisational culture and 'custom and practice' can contribute to institutional abuse or harm.

•     Redwood Home Care Ltd should not underestimate how poor practice can become pervasive in influencing staff to behave inappropriately

•     The Care Worker should be given the opportunity to reflect on their practice and promote a positive risk- taking culture to enhance the quality of life for young people

•     Redwood Home Care Ltd will ensure that its services will readily seek the views of young people, parents and other professionals in reviewing their practice

Particular attention should be paid to promoting a high level of awareness of the risks of harm, to high standards of practice, and to strengthening the ability of children and families to help themselves. 

•     Make it common practice to enable disabled children to make their wishes and feelings known in respect of their care and treatment

•     Ensure that disabled children receive appropriate personal, health and social education (including sex education)

•     Make sure that all disabled children know how to raise concerns and give them access to a range of adults with whom they can communicate. This could mean using interpreters and facilitators who are skilled in using the child's preferred method of communication

•     Recognise and utilise key sources of support, including staff in schools such as support workers, friends and family members where appropriate

•     Ensure that there is an explicit commitment to and an understanding of disabled children's safety and welfare among all providers of services used by disabled children

•     Develop the safe support services that families want, and a culture of openness and joint working with parents and carers on the part of services

•     Provide guidelines and training for staff on good practice in managing behaviour that challenges families and services; issues around consent to treatment; anti-bullying and inclusion strategies; sexuality and safe sexual behaviour among young people; monitoring and challenging placement arrangements for young people living away from home

•     Where a child is unable to tell someone of the abuse, they may convey anxiety or distress in some other way, e.g. behaviour or symptoms, and the Care Worker must be alert to this

 5.8   Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) 

As a result of recent nationwide cases CSE has become a national priority for health and social care. Staff have a significant contribution to make in identifying children and young people at risk of sexual exploitation. Where there are concerns about the welfare of a child, Redwood Home Care Ltd should:

•     Remember the child or young person’s welfare is of paramount importance

•     Make sure the Care Worker is alert to the signs of Child Sexual Exploitation

•     The Care Worker should seek immediate advice from their manager, and Redwood Home Care Ltd should refer to Children’s Social Care or the Police if there is a suspicion that a child is at risk of harm or is in immediate danger

•     Redwood Home Care Ltd should ensure that staff know and understand the organisational and multi- agency safeguarding arrangements and processes

•     Information should be shared on a need-to-know basis

5.9   Domestic Violence and Abuse

There is a strong link between domestic abuse and all types of significant harm to children and young people. Witnessing domestic violence is a form of emotional abuse to a child/young person which may result in long- lasting implications for their future wellbeing.

The Care Worker should follow local child protection reporting procedures if they are concerned that a child is witnessing domestic violence, is at risk of being harmed or is being harmed as a result of domestic violence or abuse.

5.10   Forced Marriage and Honour Based Abuse/Violence

Children and young people can be subjected to domestic abuses perpetrated in order to force them into marriage or to 'punish' them for 'bringing dishonour on the family'. Duress cannot be justified on religious or cultural grounds, and forced marriage is an abuse of human rights. Whilst honour-based violence can culminate in the death of the victim, this is not always the case. The child or young person may be subjected, over a long period, to a variety of different abusive and controlling behaviours ranging in severity. The abuse is often carried out by several members of a family including mothers, and female relatives/community members and may, therefore, increase the child's sense of powerlessness and be harder for professionals to identify and respond to. Forced marriages of children must be regarded as a child protection issue. Redwood Home Care Ltd should not contact the parents in this situation and should make a referral direct to the Safeguarding Team and follow local reporting procedures. Further advice can be obtained from the Forced Marriage Unit here: www.gov.uk/stop-forced-marriage.

If Staff Know Someone is at Risk

Contact the Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) if staff know someone who has been taken abroad to be forced into marriage. Give as many details as possible, for example: 

•     Where the person has gone

•     When they were due back

•     When you last heard from them

 The FMU will contact the relevant Embassy. If the person is a British National, the Embassy will try to contact the person and help them get back to the UK, if that is what they want.

5.11   Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

FGM is an illegal practice which affects a girl’s genital area and which can impact on their emotional or physical wellbeing. FGM is a criminal offence and carries a maximum penalty of 14 years imprisonment.

•     If a Care Worker is aware of any Service User who has had FGM or of any female children who are at risk of FGM, they must discuss this with their manager or the local District Council Safeguarding Team

•     Staff should understand their responsibilities to report concerns. Free E-Learning training is available through the Home Office

5.12   Contextual Safeguarding

Redwood Home Care Ltd should ensure that staff training includes Contextual Safeguarding. Redwood Home Care Ltd will ensure that staff understand that, as well as threats to the welfare of children from within their families, children may be vulnerable to abuse or exploitation from outside their families. These extra-familial threats might arise at school and other educational establishments, from within peer groups, or more widely from within the wider community and/or online. These threats can take a variety of different forms and children can be vulnerable to multiple threats, including: exploitation by criminal gangs and organised crime groups such as county lines; trafficking; online abuse; sexual exploitation and the influences of extremism leading to radicalisation. Training should highlight that extremist groups make use of the Internet to radicalise and recruit and to promote extremist materials. Any potential harmful effects to individuals identified as vulnerable to extremist ideologies or being drawn into terrorism should also be considered and Redwood Home Care Ltd should ensure that staff know how to refer any concerns to local safeguarding partners and that they have an understanding of Channel referrals and processes.

5.13   Confidentiality

Redwood Home Care Ltd should ensure that staff working with children and young people have read and understand the 'Information sharing - Advice for practitioners providing safeguarding services to children, young people, parents and carers (2018)' and understand that GDPR should not be a barrier to sharing information. Redwood Home Care Ltd should ensure that staff follow the 7 Golden Rules for information sharing as outlined in the document.

5.14   Whistleblowing

Safeguarding children is complex and can frequently be under review. It is important to remember that safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility, and a culture should be promoted where staff are able to raise concerns and whistleblow without fear.

5.15   Training

Safeguarding Children and Young People should be included within mandatory induction and include familiarisation with child protection responsibilities and the procedures to be followed should anyone have any concerns about a child's safety or welfare. Training should be delivered to the level specified in the 'Safeguarding children and young people: roles and Competencies for Health Care Staff Intercollegiate Document' 3rd Edition March 2014 and be in line with any contractual requirements.

5.16   Consent

Where Redwood Home Care Ltd needs to share special category personal data, Redwood Home Care Ltd should be aware that the Data Protection Act 2018 includes ‘safeguarding of children and individuals at risk’ as a condition that allows practitioners to share information without consent. 

Information can be shared legally without consent if Redwood Home Care Ltd is unable to or cannot be reasonably expected to gain consent from the individual, or if to gain consent could place a child at risk.