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Child Protection


Te Miro School

Child Protection Policy

Statement of Commitment     

Te Miro School values children and is committed to the prevention of child abuse and to the protection of children and recognises that keeping children safe is everyone’s responsibility.  Maintaining the well-being and safety of children and young people is a paramount goal of Te Miro School.  

The interest and welfare of the child or young person will be the primary consideration when any advice is given, or action is taken about suspected child abuse. Te Miro School supports the roles of statutory agencies (the Police and the Department of Child, Youth and Family Services) in the investigation of abuse and will report cases of suspected abuse to these agencies according to the process outlined below. 

Te Miro School will maintain a good working relationship with the statutory agencies and be familiar with the laws which serve to protect children and young persons from abuse. We will consult with these and other agencies who have specialist knowledge to help protect children from abuse. Staff will not assume responsibility beyond the level of their experience and training. 

Teachers, leaders, support staff, volunteers, and members of the Board of Trustees at Miro School are committed to ensuring we meet the legislative requirements as set out in the Vulnerable Children’s Act, 2014.

At Te Miro School clear, robust processes for addressing allegations of abuse, including those made against staff, will be implemented and regularly reviewed.  These processes are set out in the document below.

 

Related Documents: Personnel policy, Appointments Policy, Health & Safety Policy, Police Vetting & Safety Checking Procedures

This policy adheres to the following Acts: Children, Young Persons and their Families Act 1989, Privacy Act 1993, Human Rights Act 1993, Domestic Violence Act 1995, Employment Relations Act 2000, Care of Children Act 2004, The Crimes Amendment Act 2011, Vulnerable Children’s Act 2014, Vulnerable Children (Requirements for Safety Checks of Childrens Workers) Regulations 2015

 

Purpose         

The purpose of this policy is to ensure that all staff, volunteers and professionals visiting from other agencies, working with

Te Miro School, operate in ways that ensure that children are protected from harm. This involves being able to recognise

and identify signs of actual or suspected abuse, and know how to respond appropriately

 

This policy guides the actions of the organisation in providing a safe environment for all learners.  It also guides the actions whenever there is a concern about the abuse of children. This includes recording concerns, if a child discloses abuse, suspected abuse by a staff member or suspected abuse between children. 

 

It also provides guidelines for staff to help minimise the risk that they may be subject to an allegation of abusive behaviour.

 

1.             Safety Checking of core and non-core workers

Te Miro School employs and maintains a top quality staffing team.  All potential Employment procedures for all core and non-core workers will include:

-                 Interview

-                 New Zealand Police vet check (repeated every 3 years)

-                 Comprehensive identity verification

-                 Work history check

-                 Verbal referee check

 

Volunteers are a valued part of our organisation.

 

Volunteers are expected to complete a New Zealand Police Vet Check process and identity verification processes before accompanying children on overnight EOTC experiences.  Te Miro School recognises and celebrates these volunteers as excellent guardians of our children.

 

2.          Definitions

Child

New Zealand’s legal definition of ‘child’ varies depending upon the legal context in which the child is being viewed (Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act 1989; Care of Children Act 2004; Domestic Violence Act 1995).

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child states in Article 1, that ‘child’ means every human being below the age of eighteen years unless under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier.

Child Abuse

“The harming (whether physically, emotionally, or sexually), ill-treatment, abuse, neglect, or deprivation of any child or young person.”

Section 2 (1), Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act 1989

Child Abuse & Neglect

Harming or maltreatment, whether physical, sexual, emotional (also called psychological) or, by neglect. Abuse is generally seen as an act of commission or a deliberate act, whereas neglect is seen as an act of omission or a failure to do something.

The Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act 1989, section 2(1), defines child abuse as “the harming (whether physically, emotionally, or sexually), ill-treatment, abuse, neglect, or deprivation of any child or young person”.

There are four types of child abuse:

Sexual abuse

Sexual abuse is any act or acts that result in the sexual exploitation of a child or young person,

whether consensual or not

 

Physical abuse

Physical abuse is a non-accidental act on a child that results in physical harm. This includes, but is not limited to, beating, hitting, shaking, burning, drowning, suffocating, biting, poisoning or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. Physical abuse also involves the fabrication or inducing of illness.

 

Emotional abuse

Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional ill treatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effect on the child's emotional development. This can include a pattern of rejecting, degrading, ignoring, isolating, corrupting, exploiting or terrorising a child. It may also include age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children. It also includes the seeing or hearing the ill treatment of others.

 

Neglect

Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child's basic physical and/or psychological needs, causing long term serious harm to the child's heath or development.  It may also include neglect of a child's basic or emotional needs. Neglect is a lack: of action, emotion or basic needs.


Intimate partner violence / family violence

Intimate Partner Violence is physical, emotional, sexual and other abuse by someone (usually but not always a man) of a person (usually but not always a woman) with whom they have or have had some form of intimate relationship with, such as marriage or cohabitation, in order to maintain power and control over a person.

 

Cumulative harm

Cumulative harm is the existence of compounded experiences of multiple episodes of abuse or ‘layers’ of neglect. The unremitting daily impact on the child can be profound and exponential, covering multiple dimensions of the child’s life.

 

Core Worker

Worker means an individual who carries out work for the school and includes an employee, a contractor or subcontractor and their employees, an employee of a labour hire company, an outworker, an apprentice or a trainee teacher, a person gaining work experience or undertaking a work trial, or a volunteer worker.

 

Core workers are either in sole charge or have primary responsibility or authority over the child or children in their care.

 

Non-Core Worker

Non-core workers have regular but limited child contact and are never alone with children. 


Volunteer

People who regularly work for the school on an on-going basis and are integral to the school’s operations.  Boards of Trustees as an entity have a duty to ensure the health and safety of volunteer workers as if they were any other worker in the school. 


Casual Volunteer

People who volunteer on an irregular basis and assist with activities such as school trips, camps, fundraising activities and other one-off events.  Casual volunteers come under the other persons category in the Act. Boards of Trustees have a duty to other persons in the workplace (such as students or visitors), to ensure that their health and safety is not put at risk from their work. This duty also applies to casual volunteers who are carrying out the activities shown in the previous slide.

However, there is no requirement for Boards of Trustees to engage with casual volunteers on health and safety matters or have participation practices that include casual volunteers.


Designated Child Protection Person (DCP)

At Te Miro School the principal is the DCP.  The DCP takes responsibility for holding all the information around what is happening for children, so this can be collated and accurately assessed.  The Principal/DCP will store all information in a locked cupboard, with keys held by the principal only.

 

See Appendix 1 for full definitions and indicators relating to each of these types of abuse.

Please refer also to the booklet, ‘How Can I Tell’ http://www.versite.co.nz/~2011/15700/#/8/

 

3.          Training

 

Te Miro School is committed to maintaining and increasing staff awareness of how to prevent, recognise and respond to abuse through appropriate training.  As part of their induction, new staff are made aware of the child protection policy and related procedures, and will receive basic awareness training as a minimum requirement.   

 

Basic awareness training will include a comprehensive outline of the indicators that identify children who are vulnerable to abuse.  This training will also explore the procedures for responding to concerns and the responsibilities of statutory agencies to respond to concerns as well as an overview of the legislation relating to child protection. 

 

Staff training will be updated every three years.

 

4.    Responding to Child Abuse

 

Te Miro School will act on recommendations made by statutory agencies concerning the official reporting of suspected abuse. Staff will only consult with or inform families about any suspected or actual abuse after consulting with the appropriate statutory agencies.

In a situation where it is believed that a child is in immediate danger contact NZ Police by dialling 111

For all other situations where abuse is suspected, or where there are concerns about child safety contact:

or

·       Child, Youth and Family:  0508 326 459 (lines open 24/7), or email: contact@mvcot.govt.nz

Staff will respond to suspected child abuse or any concerning behaviour with a process driven response, not an emotion driven response.  Take deep breaths, stay calm, and seek support as needed.

The process in the first instance is to write down observations, impressions, and communications.  All observations should include the date, time, and location, together with detail about what the child has said, and/or what has been observed – being specific in identifying parts of the body, e.g. left arm, right leg as well as the size of any observed injuries.  The observation should be signed by the staff member.  This will be kept separate from programme diaries, day books communication books and enrolment information etc., stored in a locked cupboard in the principal’s office.  The principal is the designated child protection person at Te Miro School.

Information volunteered by a child should be fully and accurately recorded word for word as the child speaks it. No child should be interviewed or in any way questioned about the suspected abuse.  It is the role of the staff member to collect and record the observations, not to pass judgment on it.

At times, a child may make an indirect disclosure, e.g. “I get scared at night”.  In such circumstances an open-ended question may be needed to help clarify, e.g. “How come?”.  Once it has been established that an investigation needs to take place then all questioning ceases. 

No staff member will act alone about suspected child abuse but will consult with the principal and/or another staff member. Where staff suspect child abuse has occurred and a child is unsafe, the Principal and/or other staff members are committed to promptly reporting the matter to the Police or Child, Youth and Family. 

Staff involved in cases of suspected child abuse are entitled to have support.  The principal is the first point of contact for this.  The school will maintain knowledge of such individuals, agencies and organisations in the community that provide support.

 

Please see also Appendix 2 ‘Dealing with Disclosures of Abuse’

 

Responding to Child Abuse

 

A copy of a ‘Report of Concern’ template can be found in Appendix 3

 

5.    When an allegation of Abuse is Made Against a Staff Member

 

Where it is suspected that the child abuse has been perpetrated by a staff member or other person assisting with school programmes, the matter must be reported promptly (as soon as possible, before the end of the working day at most) to the Principal, or where the Principal is involved in the allegation to the Board Chairperson.

 

Under no circumstances should the child making the allegation be exposed to unnecessary risk. This may require the principal to contemplate removal of an employee from the school environment subject to the requirements of the applicable employment contract. All actions will be undertaken discretely and as confidentially as possible and in consultation with NZ Police and Child, Youth and Families.

 

The Principal will ensure the following process is undertaken:



Where an allegation of abuse is made against a staff member the principal/BOT Chairperson will also notify the school’s insurers, and contact NZSTA for guidance and support in relation to the rights of the staff member and roles of the principal and Board. 

 

If a person about whom a complaint has been made resigns or leaves their position the procedures will still be followed.

 

A full de-brief and review of relevant policy and procedures will be undertaken by the principal and Board of Trustees following any allegation made against a staff member. 


6.          Child on Child Harmful Behaviour

 

Te Miro School will ensure that the safety of the child or young person is paramount and no form of physical, sexual or verbal harassment or violence from peers will be sanctioned or minimized in any way.

 

While the situation is being evaluated the children or young persons concerned will be separated. It is essential to reduce further emotional trauma for the victims who may be fearful and distressed if they are in contact with possible abusers.

 

Te Miro School will make every effort to keep specific and identifying information as private as possible.  Nothing will be passed onto the media from the school and parents will be asked to keep information as private as possible.

 

When a child who has a known history of engaging in harmful behaviour is enrolled there will be communication with the Principal and staff about risks involved.  Co-operation of the family will be sought in doing this.

 

A process will also be put in place to support the child who is engaging in the harmful behaviour. Children often express that something is wrong through their actions and therefore unless we get to the root of the cause behind the behaviour it is unlikely to stop and it may be that that child is experiencing abuse themselves and therefore requires a lot of support.

 

7.                      Supervision Guidelines: Safe Working Practices

 

To minimise the risk of actual or alleged abuse these guidelines are in place.

 

All staff should examine the opportunities or possible situations there are for staff to be alone with children. This should be avoided wherever possible.

 

If you are to be alone with a child:

-        notify another staff member, providing specifics about what you are doing and how long you intend to be

-        notify the staff member again when the child has left

-        ensure you are in a place where you can be seen by others

 

Wherever possible an open door policy for all spaces should be used.  Staff should be aware of where all children are at all times and monitor regularly to ensure what they are doing is appropriate.

 

Be aware of situations where children are out of sight together (dens, playhuts etc.) and manage accordingly – making the children aware that you know they are there, maintaining regular contact by walking past, and/or ensuring they are in line of sight. 

 

Visitors to the centre should be monitored at all times by Te Miro School staff.

 

All volunteers and outside instructors should be monitored by Te Miro School staff.

 

If specific activities require 1:1 physical contact (e.g. classes in swimming, gymnastics etc.) parents should be advised, and staff members should ensure that another staff member is present.  Staff members should not engage in 1:1 contact when alone with a child.   

 

Unless requested by children or parents there is no need to assist school aged children with toileting.  If the situation arises ensure that other staff know you are toileting a child/young person, and that parents are informed.

 

Where a child or young person requires assistance, e.g. intellectually or physically disabled, if possible involve the parents/caregivers and outside agencies (such as Special Education Service) to assist.  If this assistance is not available, ensure that the staff members are aware of the appropriate procedures – to be detailed in an individual plan, agreed to by parent/caregivers - when giving assistance.

 

Staff should avoid transporting a child or young person on their own at all times, unless an emergency requires it.  Except in an emergency, children and young people are not to be taken from Te Miro School without written parental consent.

 

Socialising with children outside of school hours

No child or young person should be in, or invited to, the home of an adult who works with them unless the reason for this has been firmly established and agreed with parents/carers and senior managers or the home has been designated by the organisation as a work place. 

 

The giving of gifts or rewards to children or young people is not an accepted practice at Te Miro School.  If this is to occur, permission must be sought from the principal.

 

Please refer also to Appendix 6, Safe Working Practices

 

8.                      First Aid and the Administration of Medication

Staff members and students will follow procedures as set out in the ‘Administering Medication’, and ‘First Aid, Illness, and Infection Control’ procedures.

 

9.                      Confidentiality and Information Sharing

 

Where possible, record of suspected abuse and/or discolosures of abuse should be kept on or attached to the ‘Report of Concern’ template (appendix 3).  The Designated Child Protection Person (DCP) is responsible for safe and confidential storage of all reports. 

 

Te Miro School maintains a commitment to share information in the best interest of the health and wellbeing of children with reference to Section 6 of the Children Young Persons and Their Families Act.  


Principle 11 of the Privacy Act which could can be accessed in Appendix 4.  Responding to Requests for Information – Appendix 5 – should also be referred to.

 

Requests made for access to this information must be to the Principal, unless deemed inappropriate in which case requests should be made to the Board Chairperson.  Where possible the Principal / DCP will assume primary reponsibility for sharing information with Child, Youth and Family or the Police.  However, where a staff member has a concern about child safety and is either unable or onwilling (for reasons relating to child safety) to approach the principal they may make direct contact. 

 

Requests for information from other agencies (not Police or Child, Youth and Family) must be made to the Principal.  Proof of identity must be sighted (photographic ID with official agency identification) before any information is shared.

 

10. Internet, Social Media and Technology Use

 

Staff members and students will follow procedures as set out in Use of Information Technology Policy.

 


 

Consultation and Approval Process

 

This policy was drafted for consultation in March, 2016. 

It has been susequently reviewed in May 2017 following a comprehensive Child Protection Policy Review commissioned by the Board of Trustees and carried out by ‘Child Matters’.

 

The policy is available on the school website, and will be included as part of an induction programme for all new employees.

 

The policy will be reviewed by staff, the principal, and the Board of Trustees every 3 years, or sooner if changes to legislation or expectations occur. 

 

 

Date policy adopted by the Board: June 2016

Chairperson: Ricci Wesselink

 


Next Review Due (Date): May, 2020


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Te Miro Principal,
May 23, 2017, 7:58 PM
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Te Miro Principal,
May 23, 2017, 7:59 PM
Ċ
Te Miro Principal,
May 23, 2017, 7:58 PM
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Te Miro Principal,
May 23, 2017, 7:58 PM
Ċ
Te Miro Principal,
May 23, 2017, 7:58 PM
Ċ
Te Miro Principal,
May 23, 2017, 7:58 PM
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