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Donabate Portrane Community & Leisure Centre - Child Protection Policy

1. Donabate Portrane Community & Leisure Centre works closely within the National Guild lines for the protection and welfare of children. Our aims are, to keep abreast with any developments regarding research procedures and policy guidelines within the child care sector, in relation to all aspects of children’s welfare, health and safety.

2. The Department of Health and Childrens publication “Children First National Guidelines for the Protection and Welfare of Children” will be on the premises at all times.

3. Staff will strictly adhere to the procedures and policies to ensure the safety and welfare of all children attending Donabate Portrane Community Centre.

4. Children will be accompanied and supervised by the staff at all times.

Principles of good practice:
The following principles in DPCC will help to: create an environment in which children are listened to, given a sense of belonging, and kept safe; parents are supported and encouraged; and staff and volunteers who work with children and young people are supported and protected.

Donabate Portrane Community & Leisure Centre strives to:
• Acknowledge the rights of children to be protected, treated with respect, listened to and have their own views taken into consideration.
• Recognise that the welfare of children must always come first, regardless of all other considerations.
• Develop a child protection policy that raises awareness about the possibility of child abuse occurring and outlines the steps to be taken if it is suspected.
• Adopt the safest possible practices to minimise the possibility of harm or accidents happening to children and protect employees from the necessity to take risks and leave themselves open to accusations of abuse or neglect.
• Adopt and consistently apply clearly defined methods of recruiting staff and volunteers.
• Develop procedures for responding to accidents and complaints.
• Remember that early intervention with children who are vulnerable or at risk may prevent serious harm from happening to them at a later stage.
• Remember that a child’s age, gender and background affect the way they experience and understand what is happening to them.
• Provide child protection training for employees. This should clarify the responsibilities of both organisations and individuals, and clearly show the procedures to be followed if child abuse is suspected.
• Develop a policy of openness with parents that involve consulting about everything that concerns their children, and encouraging them to get involved with the organisation wherever possible.
• Co-operate with any other child care and protection agencies and professionals by sharing information when necessary and working together toward the best outcome for the children concerned.
• Make links with other relevant organisations in other to promote child protection and welfare policies and practices.  

Remember that:
Valuing children means valuing employees as well; insisting on safe practices, eliminating the necessity for staff to take risks and providing them with support will make for a healthier and safer organisation.

Remember that individual employees have a responsibility to protect and promote children’s rights by:
• Treating them with dignity, sensitivity and respect  
• Making time to listen, talk to and get to know the children
• Making sure that children know the organisation’s rules about behaviour
• Encouraging children to have an input into how things are run
• Helping to be safe, happy and having as much fun as possible
• Never favouring one child or children over others
• Enabling children to regard their bodies as their own property
• Encouraging them to express feelings, fears and experiences openly
• Giving written information about the organisation to children and their parents/carers
• Knowing about the principles and practices of child protection including their legal duties
• Never engaging in sexually provocative games or make suggestive comments, even in fun
• Respecting children’s privacy in bathrooms or changing rooms
• Sensitively ensuring that children know about the child protection policy
• Always responding to complaints or allegations
• Helping children realise the difference between confidentiality and secrecy
• Being sensitive to the fact some children are more vulnerable and have special needs
• Never using physical punishment with children

Codes of behaviour between employees and children:
DPCC’s code of behaviour between its employees and children, to avoid the possibility of misunderstanding, or the potential for allegations of misconduct
The following guidance is adhered to at all times:
• Employees should be sensitive to the risk involved in participating in contact sports or other activities.
• While physical contact is a valid way of comforting, reassuring and showing concern for children, it should only take place when it is acceptable to all persons concerned.
• Employees should never physically punish or be in any way verbally abusive to a child, nor should they even tell jokes of a sexual nature in the presence of children.
• Employees should be sensitive to the possibility of developing favouritism, or becoming over involved or spending a great deal of time with any one child.
• Children should be encouraged to report cases of bulling to either a designated person, or a worker of their choice. Complaints must be brought to the attention of management.

Child Protection Notification System:
Where an employee suspects that a child i.e. a person under the age of 18 years, excluding a person who is or has been married is the victim of abuse the following is the procedure
• Discuss with your line manager the concerns and information you have in regard to the child
• Inform the parents of the child that you will inform the social worker referral officer unless you feel it will put the child at risk to do so.
• Phone the Duty social worker referral officer to discuss or disclose the details.

If a child/young person disclose information of abuse to you;
• Listen carefully
• Never promise that you will keep this a secret
• Do not give reassurances about things you have no /little control over
• Explain that what they are telling you is very important and you will need to tell others who can keep/help them to be in a safe place.
• Reassure the child that he/she has done really well to tell you and that they are not in trouble for doing so. Or a child/young person discloses information to employees
• Avoid interrupting a child who is freely recalling.
• After the child has finished carefully record the information given in the child’s language as much as possible.
• Detail the contest in which the disclosure arose, who was present and what type of questions where asked
• Record your impression of the child’s affect during disclosure.
• Report this disclosure to a line/Duty manager
• Inform the parents of the child that you will inform the social worker referral officer unless you feel it will put the child at risk to do so.
• Phone the Duty social worker referral officer to discuss or disclose the details.

 

The HSE Dublin North details are as follows;
Dublin North (8)
Coolock Health Centre
Cromcastle Road
Dublin 17
Tel: 01 816 4200

Airside Duty Social Work Department
Tel: 01 870 8000

HSE National Information Helpline
Phone : 1850 241 850

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