Acton Early Childhood Centre

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1 Acton Early Childhood Centre CHILD PROTECTION POLICY AIM To ensure that children who suffer non-accidental physical injury and/or child sexual abuse are identified and assisted through reporting of incidences to the appropriate authorities. EXPLANATION On 10 May 2000, the Children and Young People Act became law in the ACT. This Act was updated in The Act reinforces the importance of reporting suspected cases of nonaccidental physical injury and/or sexual abuse. The staff need to be aware of possible signs of abuse and procedures for reporting concerns. In any case of suspected abuse, the interests and dignity of the child will be the central focus of attention. The Centre believes that a child has the right to remain safe at all times. In providing a safe environment for the children in care, the staff need to be aware of any behavioural signs which could indicate abuse or neglect of the following nature physical, emotional, psychological or sexual. If staff have concerns for the child/children then set procedures need to be adhered to. As from June , all child care staff are mandated to report any suspicion of nonaccidental physical injury to children and/or sexual abuse of children. ACTIONS Prevention and education Staff will be informed about the issues of abuse and neglect by attending training sessions. Encouragement will be given to staff and parents to attend child abuse prevention programs. Staff will be required to have a police record check prior to commencing employment and at 3 year intervals. Parents are required each day to sign their child in and complete the sign-in form which requires details of the drop off time, the expected pick-up time and the contact phonenumbers for the day. The child must also be signed out, giving the actual time collected, and staff informed of the child's departure. No-one is permitted to take a child from the Centre unless there is prior written notification by the parents. Staff will be given a copy of Keeping Children and Young People Safe ( data/assets/pdf_file/0017/5660/web_copy2009_keeping_ Children.pdf) on commencement and on review of the booklet.

2 Recording policy In an attempt to avoid making a mistake about abuse, recording of incidents is of prime importance as is corroboration of suspected abuse by a/another Senior Staff member. This will also protect staff in the event they are thought to have made an incorrect accusation of abuse. Records should be signed by staff person making the record. Factual details of exhibited behaviour must be recorded for a period of two weeks. However, if the child appears to be in imminent danger, reported to the Director immediately. All records are to be kept confidential and securely stored. Incidents to be recorded include a child's unusual behaviour, any suspicious injuries or a child's disclosure of abuse or neglect. In all cases, the Section Senior is to be informed and is to liaise with the Director. The Director will contact the Children s Policy and Regulations Unit as soon as possible. Phone numbers required are displayed on the staff noticeboard for reporting as a mandated person. Staff who have concerns but these concerns are not felt to warrant reporting by the Centre Director are still encouraged to report if, following discussion, they are still feeling that the issue should be reported. Staff will follow these procedures when responding to a disclosure of abuse or neglect by a child: stay calm, control expressions of panic or shock listen carefully to what the child is saying, don't interrogate ensure that the child is giving the information in an appropriate setting, for example, not in a group setting seek help from a/another senior staff member seek personal support but be careful to maintain strict confidentiality let the child know that you believe them, that it is not their fault, that you were happy that they told you and that you care about them, and that you will do what you can to help them. Staff are to avoid: expressing anger or disgust about what has happened making promises they cannot keep, such as promising not to tell anyone seeking further details beyond those which the child freely wants to discuss Staff should be familiar with this information and the responsibilities required of them by law. The Centre will assist in ensuring staff are well informed by providing in-house training from time to time. This policy should be read in association with the Centres Socialisation and Behaviour Management Policy.

3 Further information on this issue can be obtained from:- 'Keeping children safe and Young People Safe' A guide to reporting child abuse and neglect in the ACT Department of Housing and Community Services. ACT government. data/assets/pdf_file/0017/5660/web_copy200 9_Keeping_Children.pdf Reporting Child Abuse. A guide for mandated persons in the ACT. Dept. of Education and Community Services ACT government. How to Report Suspected Child Abuse. Poster produced by Dept. Education and Community Services ACT government. Policy reviewed January Policy reviewed by Policy Review Committee ; and

4 Acton Early Childhood Centre Centre Procedures for the Reporting of Child Protection Issues (As recorded in the centre's Child Protection Policy.) The following provides staff with centre procedures to be followed if staff have concerns about the welfare of a child:- In an attempt to avoid making a mistake about abuse, recording of incidents is of prime importance as is corroboration of suspected abuse by a/another Senior Staff member. This will also protect staff in the event they are thought to have made an incorrect accusation of abuse. Records should be signed by staff person making the record. Factual details of exhibited behaviour need to be recorded for a period of two weeks, unless the child appears to be in imminent danger, then reported to the Director immediately. All records are to be kept confidential and securely stored. Incidents to be recorded include a child's unusual behaviour, any suspicious injuries or a child's disclosure of abuse or neglect. In all cases, the Section Senior is to be informed and is to liaise with the Director. The Director will then contact the local Family Services Office as soon as possible. Phone numbers required are displayed below. Staff will follow these procedures when responding to a disclosure of abuse or neglect by a child: stay calm, control expressions of panic or shock listen carefully to what the child is saying, don't interrogate seek help from a/another senior staff member seek personal support but be careful to maintain strict confidentiality let the child know that you believe them, that it is not their fault, that you were happy that they told you and that you care about them, and that you will do what you can to help them. Staff are to avoid: expressing anger or disgust about what has happened making promises they cannot keep such as promising not to tell anyone seeking further details beyond those which the child freely wants to discuss

5 Contact Details for Care and Protection Services: Mandated Persons line Mandated Persons fax number Mandated Persons address General Public line Police For urgent and immediate assistance 000 Further details: Reviewed

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