Safeguarding Standards in Toddler Groups – having a Safeguarding Policy
All Toddler Groups should have what is called a ‘Safeguarding Policy’. This is something that the government expects all organisations open to or likely to be in contact with children to have. It will include having a staff recruitment procedure, good practice guidelines for workers, and a system for reporting any suspected or alleged abuse.
It might be an easy mistake to think that because parents and carers are always present a Safeguarding Policy isn’t really necessary for your group. However, all staff (whether paid or volunteers) will engage with the children to some degree and are in ‘a position of trust’. Because of their role in the group, the children, and the adults too, will not treat them with the same caution as they might a stranger in the street.
If your toddler group is operating from a church, then it may be covered by the church’s Safeguarding Policy. Check this with the church to make sure and discuss the policy with them so that you are both clear about the policy and lines of accountability.
If your toddler group hasn’t already got one, put a Safeguarding Policy in place as soon as possible. And if your group already has a policy, make sure that it’s up-to-date and that your workers have undertaken appropriate safeguarding training.
Make sure that everyone coming to the toddler group knows about the Safeguarding Policy, what’s in it and especially who they can go to should they have any concerns. The policy should reassure parents and carers that those involved in running the group have recruited safely and are following good practice guidance.
Toddler groups need to comply with legislation and government expectations with regards to safeguarding. Where abuse is disclosed or suspected, this needs to be reported to the statutory authorities (Children’s Social Care or the police). In addition, others may need to be informed: if an allegation is made against a worker then the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) and the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) will need to be contacted. If your group is a charity, tell the Charity Commission about any serious incidents and be aware that the group’s insurers may need to be informed too.
Standards in safeguarding
CCPAS has produced ten standards for faith groups which you can use to measure how effective your group is at keeping children safe. Check that you are complying with these by asking yourself the following questions:
Full details of these safeguarding standards can be found in the CCPAS ‘Safe and Secure key facts’ booklet which can be downloaded from www.ccpas.co.uk/keyfacts
We will look at the subject of CRB checks and safe recruitment in future issues.
This information is supplied in good faith, but Care for the Family cannot accept responsibility for any advice or recommendations made by other organisations or resources.