How can you deal with safeguarding concerns?
Safeguarding the children is the most important thing in childcare. Before their learning and development, protecting them from potential harm is the primary concern for all settings. Children are unable to protect themselves and rely on adults to care for them. This places a responsibility on all adults to safeguard children and act upon any concerns regarding their welfare and safety.
Having a concern
There may be a range of reasons that a practitioner is concerned about a child. It may be physical marks on the child’s body, something the child has said or something the practitioner has witnessed. All of these reasons are valid in logging a concern about a child’s welfare. Observation forms can be used to evidence a child who may be acting differently to usual but hasn’t made a disclosure. this can enable the practitioner to gather a little more evidence before logging a concern.
It is good practice to have signs and symptoms of child abuse displayed around the setting. This will support adults in making a judgement if they notice any marks or the child’s displays unusual behaviour. You can download a signs and symptoms poster here.
Each Early Years provider must have strong safeguarding policies and procedures in place to support children’s welfare; this will include the appointment of a Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL). The DSL must oversee the safety and protection of all children in their care and make important decisions over the concerns had by others.
Each setting should also have a clear procedure for adults who have concerns about a child to take. This will include the completion of green concern forms, available from your local safeguarding board. These forms should be available for all practitioners, parents, visitors or professionals to use, and be accompanied by some guidance in completing them. The information completed should be factual and precise, then handed to the DSL.
If the DSL fails to act upon the concern, or you feel the child is in immediate danger, you can contact your local safeguarding board directly. The contact number should be readily accessible in the setting, alongside the green concern forms. It is important to go with your gut instinct and complete a green form as soon as your concern is had, otherwise you may forget important details or convince yourself it wasn’t worth logging.
Training is very important in order to effectively protect the children. Most settings will ensure their practitioners have accessed the minimum of level one safeguarding training. The course is usually held over one day and supports practitioners in what to look out for, how to log their concerns and how best to safeguard themselves and the children. The training usually lasts for three years; however due to the number of changes made regularly to improve the protection of children, it is highly recommended that practitioners either take a refresher course once a year or the manager hold’s refresher sessions during regular staff meetings. Manager’s can use a safeguarding quiz to refresh practitioner knowledge.
Here are some Do’s and Don’ts of dealing with safeguarding concerns
|Do give the child your full attention||Don’t discuss the allegation with others infront of the child|
|Do pass on your concerns||Don’t approach parents about the allegation|
|Do take the child or allegation seriously||Don’t promise the child everything will now be okay.|
|Do write the concern down factually||Don’t ask leading questions|
|Do use appropriate documentation||Don’t take the child out of the room during a disclosure|
|Do act upon your concerns promptly||Don’t put pressure on the child to continue if they stop talking|