Child Protection Policy - Opunake Kindergarten Reg 47 HS31/HS32 GMA7A Rationale/Pūtake: Our ♥ HEART ♥ philosophy guides our child protection procedures and practices. Ōpunakē Kindergarten is committed to the prevention of abuse and to the well-being of members, children, young people, vulnerable adults and their families. All children/tamariki have a right to be kept safe from harm and to have the adults in their lives act as advocates on their behalf. Children of the age attending the Centre are vulnerable to undetected abuse. Simple precautions and careful observational practice can help prevent and/or detect abuse. Policies and Practices used by the Kindergarten give confidence to parents, staff and officials that, if any child is subjected to abuse, it will likely be detected and appropriately investigated and action taken. This policy applies to all tamariki who attend our centre, and to those with whom staff come into contact with in the course of their work with Ōpunakē Kindergarten. A child is defined as anyone under the age of 18. It applies to staff, volunteers and Governance Committee. It also applies to any contracted personnel providing any support services to families and members, (including childcare), and to those providing support services to staff. Intended Objectives/Whāinga:
To ensure children are protected from harmful effects of physical, verbal, emotional, sexual abuse or neglect.
To minimise potential for child abuse to occur at the Centre.
To ensure there are processes to detect, document, identify and report child abuse if it occurs.
To ensure all processes adhere to the Children’s Act 2014, the ECE Regulations 2008, the Family Violence Act 2018 and other relevant legislation.
Definition of Child Abuse Includes physical, emotional and sexual abuse as well as neglect which is the direct consequence of a deliberate act or omission by an adult and which has the potential or effect of serious harm to the child. 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 of or hearing the ill treatment of others. Sexual Abuse Sexual Abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities (penetrative and non-penetrative, for example, rape, kissing, touching, masturbation) as well as non-contact acts such as involving children in the looking at or production of sexual images, sexual activities and sexual behaviours. Staff should be aware of their 'duty of care' which precludes developing a sexual relationship with or grooming of a child. A sexual relationship between an adult and a child will always be wrong, unequal and unacceptable. 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 health 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. Information taken from http://www.childmatters.org.nz/239/child-protection-policy/section-2-child-protection-policy/definition-of-child-abuse 12 May 2016 Procedure/Ngā Tukanga: Employment All adults who have access to children are required to be safety checked in accordance with the Vulnerable Children’s Act 2014 before they have access to children. The results of these safety checks must be recorded and kept as long as the person is employed at Kindergarten. This includes a 7 step process:
Identity. A prospective employee’s identity will be checked before the employee has access to children by checking an original primary identity document and checking an original secondary identity document. One of these must be photographic. Copies must be kept on file.
Interview. A documented interview of the prospective employee must happen before the employee has access to children. Interviews will include: Questions that: provide information about the employee themselves; about their attitudes; their view on child safe practice and finally their experience in working with children.
Work history. A work history needs to be obtained and considered before the prospective employee has access to children. This needs to cover the past 5 years and include dates. If there are any gaps in the work history we will record the reasons for these.
Reference check. Information needs to be obtained and considered from at least 2 referees before the prospective employee has access to children. The referees cannot be part of their extended whānau. Include a question regarding applicant’s suitability in working with young children and if there are any risk concerns in the check.
Professional Organisation. Information must be gathered from any relevant organisations that the prospective employee is a member of to ensure they are currently a member of/and licensed before they have access to children. This is a requirement for the employment of registered teachers and a record of the search of the Teacher Councils register is required to be kept on file (e.i. a screenshot). Other information searches about the prospective employee and their suitability for employment with young children should be undertaken as required e.g Social media, local community group membership.
Police Vet. A New Zealand police vet must be obtained and considered before the prospective employee has access to young children, unless the employee holds a confirmed teacher registration as current professional registration that has 3 yearly Police Vetting as a condition. The record of the Police Vet must include the date it was obtained and whether the results were satisfactory or unsatisfactory. If a police vetting check comes back with a result, the Centre Manager will make the decision on employment/volunteering suitability in consultation with the Governance Committee Chairperson or HR Officer. Police vetting results will be held in each employees personnel file and are renewed every 3 years.
Risk Assessment. All of the above 6 steps of information must be evaluated to assess the potential risk the prospective employee would pose to the safety of children if employed before the person has access to children. If there is a conflict of interest, another person will conduct the vetting and screening process.
When completing any existing workers checks on the three year cycle, only steps one, five, six and seven need to be completed. All Governance Committee members are police vetted as a condition of being appointed to the committee and are included in the regular 3 year cycle of re-checking. All other employee records will be held for 7 years after employment has ceased in accordance with the Privacy Act 1993. Employee records will be disposed of through shredding.
Employee induction and training We recognise that induction training for new employees is critical to the safety of children and all staff whether paid or un-paid will receive training at their induction on child abuse.
We include information on how to notice child abuse and our procedure on how to respond to and report concerns in our Induction training.
Staff are reminded of the correct process to respond and report suspected child abuse during this policy’s annual review.
How to respond to a child who has disclosed abuse to you
Listen to the child Disclosures by children are often subtle and need to be handled with care, including an awareness of the child’s cultural identity and how that affects interpretation of their behaviour and language.
Reassure the child
Let the child know that they are not in trouble and have done the right thing. While reassuring the child it is important that you do not agree ‘not to tell anyone’.
Ask open ended prompts, e.g. “What happened next?” Do not interview the child (do not ask questions beyond open prompts for the child to continue).
If the child is visibly distressed Provide appropriate reassurance and engage in appropriate activities under supervision until they are able to participate in ordinary activities.
If the child is not in immediate danger Re-involve the child in ordinary activities and explain what you are going to do next.
As soon as possible formally record the disclosure Record: • Word for word, what the child said. • The date, time and who was present.
Staff Members responding to Child Abuse from someone who is not a member of staff: Any staff member is able to report suspected abuse. If a staff member sees a child being abused, or suspects a child is being abused they should firstly;
Respond to the child’s needs and reassure them that you are taking them seriously. All situations need to be handled in an appropriate manner that ensures the child’s safety. Call the Police if the child is in immediate danger.
The Centre Manager (who is our centre’s designated ‘Child Protection Co-ordinator’) should be immediately informed.
The staff member should then clearly document all the facts and everything ‘word for word’ the child says on a ‘Record of Issue or Concern’ form. This can be collected from and returned to the Centre Manager (or Admin Officer in the event of the Centre Manager being the suspected abuser) who will file it in a folder in the Administration office.
If the information collected indicates that abuse should be reported, the Centre Manager (designated Child Protection Co-ordinator’) will follow these procedures;
Offer the staff member support and inform them of the actions that are going to be taken.
Ensure that all information concerning the complaint and the procedures taken to deal with the complaint will be documented on the Incident Investigation/Report form.
Ring Oranga Tamariki - Ministry of Children on 0598 326 459 and discuss the concerns.
Immediately inform the Governance Chairperson about the situation if Oranga Tamariki deems the abuse reportable.
Inform the Ministry of Education Area officer adviser about the event.
Confidentiality is to be maintained while there is an investigation in progress. Information sharing will be restricted to those who have a need to know, in order to protect children.
If a formal report is required about a parent or caregiver, then all staff will be reminded about our current process to keep staff and children safe from an upset or angry person.
If the allegation is against a staff member Ōpunakē Kindergarten will respond to suspicions and allegations of child abuse by a staff member in a manner which best ensures children’s/tamariki immediate and long-term safety and will treat suspicions or allegations against a staff member with the same seriousness as suspicions or allegations made against any other person. We will not act alone, and will refer all suspected situations of child abuse to Oranga Tamariki and/or Police. If a parent/caregiver contacts the Governance Chairperson or Centre Manager regarding suspicion of child abuse by a staff member they will be assured of an immediate response by the Kindergarten. If a parent/caregiver or staff member suspects a child is being abused by a staff member (or someone closely associated with staff) they should follow these procedures:
Inform the Centre Manager or the Governance Committee Chairperson.
If the suspected abuser is the Centre Manager, inform the Chairperson of the Governance Committee OR Oranga Tamariki on 0508 326 459.
Once informed of the allegation the Centre Manager and Chairperson will immediately print out this policy and any other relevant documents to refer to and follow for guidance. The Governance Chairperson or Centre Manager will contact, Oranga Tamariki for guidance (or the Police if the child requires immediate removal for their safety). Oranga Tamariki (OT) will advise if a formal report will be required. If a formal report is required, OT will take the lead in ensuring the child abuse allegation is followed up. 1. After making the formal report, the Governance Chairperson or the Centre Manager will inform the Kindergarten Lawyer, the MOE Trauma Team and MOE NP Area Officer Adviser. A copy of any written notification to another agency will be copied and sent to the MOE NP Area Officer. The Centre Manager or Governance Chairperson will start an Incident Investigation/Report form. 2. The Governance Chairperson will take charge of the employment issue as the employer and the Centre Manager will support and advise as required. All information concerning the complaint, e.g. formal suspension or return to work letters, any meetings (face to face or phone), and the procedures taken to deal with the complaint will be documented. All persons involved in meetings will receive copies of meeting minutes etc. 3. The staff member concerned will be informed of the nature of the complaint and treated fairly in accordance with the terms and conditions of their employment as defined in the ECECA 2020-2021 agreement (d) Disciplinary Procedures and (e) Suspension pgs 37 and 38 where applicable. As per ECE Regulations 2008, part 56 ‘Ill treatment of children’, the accused staff member will be prevented from having any contact with the child making the allegation and will be immediately placed on paid precautionary formal suspension from Kindergarten, for their own and all children’s safety and well-being. 4. The staff member concerned will be advised of where they can seek support, a lawyer of their own choosing, or a counselling service (See table below for support services, such as NZEI if they are a member, and will be informed fully of their rights. 5. If, after their investigation, Oranga Tamariki finds there is insufficient evidence to pursue a criminal prosecution, then an internal disciplinary investigation may still be undertaken. Disciplinary procedures still may occur if found that Kindergartens policies or procedures have not been followed. 6. A mandatory report will be made to the Teaching Council in the event of a certificated teacher having engaged in serious misconduct. For a full list of the events that require a mandatory report and how to make a mandatory report refer to the Teaching Council website at https://teachingcouncil.nz/content/making-mandatory-report. 7. Ōpunakē Kindergarten commits to not use ‘settlement agreements’ for staff where these are contrary to a culture of child protection. Some settlement agreements allow a member of staff to resign provided that no disciplinary action is taken, and a future reference is agreed. Where the conduct at issue concerns the safety or well-being of a child, the use of such agreements is contrary to a culture of child protection. 8. If there is no “reasonable cause to suspect” that abuse may have occurred, then a meeting will be set up between the affected staff member and the Chairperson, Centre Manager and the HR person to make a plan to support the affected staff member back to work asap. 9. We will undertake a debrief and review after each instance of suspected abuse. This will include all affected members of staff and also representatives of the Governance Committee and outside agencies if required. The Centre Manager will request copies of any report made by outside agencies using the information Ōpunakē Kindy supplied, to support the debrief and review. Support will be provided to staff members, Governance Committee members and other persons involved. 10. If the Centre Manager is away, then the Assistant Head Teacher will take over the role of ‘Child Protection Co-ordinator’. 11. Ōpunakē Kindergarten will maintain a good working relationship with Oranga Tamariki and with the Police, and be familiar with the laws that protect children from abuse. We will consult with Oranga Tamariki and the Police and with other appropriate organisations that have specialist knowledge to help us protect children from abuse.
People and places to consult with in situations regarding suspicions of child abuse Oranga Tamariki Minstry of Children 0508 326 459 Coastal Care 761 7324 To find out current counsellors Police (local) 06 761 6050 Police (emergency) 111
Public Health Nurse 761 7324
Ministry of Education Trauma Team 0800 TI Team (Shelley O’Sullivan) NP Area Officer Adviser 06 349 6324 (Suzanne Beenen) Kindergarten Lawyer Alice Vickers - Parker and Marriner PO Box 443, Hawera 06 278 4055 firstname.lastname@example.org www.pmlawyers.nz Chairperson - Vanessa LeProu 027 494 2105 HR Person – Steve Haste 021 813 899
Agencies that can provide support and counselling for staff and families when child abuse is suspected:
Te Aro Pae - Gwyneth 06 278 6399 (Support for staff). NZEI Member Assist 0800 NZEI Help (Only if a union member) WellStop (Accessed through Oranga Tamariki. Support for whānau and children)
Opunake Coastal Care 761 7324 Ring to find out current counsellors
Staff Training: Staff will be kept up to date with current information on recognising and responding to the signs of child abuse. Appropriate agencies will be contacted for information and support for staff when needed. Staff: All staff undergo pre-employment checks as part of the selection procedures. The design and layout of the centre ensures that all staff are visible and supervised at all times. Staff are not permitted to leave the centre with children unless ratios and guidelines in the excursion policy are adhered to. Staff are aware of and sensitive to responding to children to ensure that the safety of children is paramount at all times. Only a child’s parent/caregiver, permanent teachers or Centre Manager approved long term relievers are permitted to undertake toileting or nappy changing routines. Professionalism: Staff are encouraged to keep a professional distance with families and keep their professional and private lives separate. Staff working outside centre hours as babysitters for parents/caregivers are not acting as employees of the centre, but will advise the Chairperson of the Governance Committee if they are doing this work whether it be paid or unpaid. The Ōpunakē Communities Kindergarten accepts no responsibility for any staff member who is working in this capacity. All staff should be aware of strategies for protecting themselves from suspicion of abuse.
It is important for staff to not form new ‘friendships’ with families at Kindergarten, unless they were already friends before they enrolled their children. Staff should wait till the children leave for school before pursuing any friendship. This also includes Facebook friendship requests.
It is important not to share ‘bad news’ like behaviour issues with parents unless you are their Key teacher. If there is something you feel parents should know, then only inform the Key teacher and discuss it with them. They will decide if and how to approach the family with the information.
Information Sharing: The Family Violence Act 2018 allows the ‘family violence sector’ to share information. Teachers with current practicing certificates can now share more information with other social services practitioners or family violence agencies. The ‘Guide to sharing information’ and the ‘Decision Tree’ are given to all registered teachers during their induction process and annually during this policy review. Parent Support and Education: The kindergarten will provide books and videos on this topic as part of the parent/caregiver education programme and appropriate speakers for parent information evenings will be provided as available. The kindergarten has an open door policy which encourages parents/caregivers to visit the centre and their children at any time. Visitors and Contractors: All unrecognised visitors to the centre shall be acknowledged in the entrance foyer to ascertain their business. Visitors without good reason to be on the premises are to be asked to leave. The Chairperson of the Governance Committee and all staff shall ensure visitors and contractors on official business in the centre shall not be left unsupervised with children at any time.
Governance: _______________________________________________________ Date: _________________ Te Whakahaere
Centre Manager: ___________________________________________________ Date: _________________ Kaiako Matenga
Review started Oct 2017 Oct 2018 Aug 2019 Review brought forward due to ‘Family Violence Act 2108’ information and MOE advice. Feb 2020 Review brought forward due to MOE advice July 2021 July 2022
Next review (Annually) Oct 2018 Oct 2019 Oct 2020 July 2021 July 2022 July 2023
Record of amendments
Created August 2009. Reviewed ’13, ’15. Major review in ’15 due to Vulnerable Chn Act (2014). Added work experience, Head Teacher/Centre Manager to authorise relievers to undertake toileting. Changed CYF to Oranga Tamariki – Ministry of Children. Changed Management Committee to Governance Committee. Added piece about vet check having results and HT having to consult with Governance. Added Lance Mullin Phone No. Added including notes from verbal interview and conflict of interest details to vetting and screening process. Added neglect to (a) in Intended objectives
Changed wording from ‘will be assured of an immediate investigation’ to ‘will be ensured of an immediate response’. Strengthened the ‘allegations against a staff member’ procedures. Strengthened the procedure on Police vetting and employing staff. Added table on how to support children who have disclosed abuse. Added new procedure regarding written notification to MOE Removed reference to sharing information with other employers (5) Added new contacts – MOE Lawyer, staff support, HR person, NZEI Assist. Added more to Staff Professionalism to strengthen. Added points 6,7,8 to Allegations against a staff member procedures. Added information sharing section. Changed ‘challenged’ to acknowledged in the entrance foyer’. Changed ‘All About Me’ from ‘over 3’s’ to all children in Maunga room’ and added parental consent.
Changed and up-dated the 7 step process for safety checking prospective employees; Removed part about not undertaking an investigation in centre so as to not influence a police investigation; Added the requirement to complete an Incident Investigation/report form for all incidents; Separated Employment and Induction/training procedures
Changed contact details for Chairperson and HR person. Removed section ‘Child training’. Changed wording from other legislation to “other relevant legislation” in Objective d. Removed - If there is reasonable cause to believe that abuse has occurred, from pg. 4
Consultation undertaken Teachers, Governance and families consulted Teachers, Governance and families consulted Teachers, MOE, Governance and families consulted Teachers, MOE, Governance and families consulted Teachers, Governance and families consulted Teachers, Governance and families consulted
Appendix 1 Body template – Child Abuse record Appendix 2 Reporting Process for Child Abuse at Ōpunakē Kindergarten poster. Appendix 3 How to recognize Signs of Abuse and neglect Appendix 4 ‘Guide to sharing information’ and the ‘Decision Tree’. (Family Violence Act 2018)
Related Policies Excursions, Sleeping children, Complaints, Health & Safety, Cleaning children, Toileting & Nappy Changing.