Safeguarding/child protection policy


As a childminder I am the lead safeguarding practitioner for my setting.

My first responsibility and priority as an Ofsted registered childminder is towards the children in my care. If I have any cause for concern I will report it to the relevant bodies, following the Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) / Safeguarding Partners procedures.

Child protection is the activity undertaken to protect children who are suffering, or are likely to suffer, significant harm. Safeguarding action may be needed to protect children (and parents) from:


Indicators of child abuse

  • Failure to thrive and meet developmental milestones
  • Fearful or withdrawn tendencies
  • Unexplained injuries to a child or conflicting reports from parents or staff
  • Repeated injuries
  • Unaddressed illnesses or injuries
  • Significant changes to behaviour patterns.

Softer signs of abuse as defined by National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) include:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Wetting and soiling
  • Recurrent nightmares
  • Aggressive behaviour
  • Withdrawing communication
  • Habitual body rocking
  • Indiscriminate contact or affection seeking
  • Over-friendliness towards strangers
  • Excessive clinginess
  • Persistently seeking attention.


Peer on peer abuse

We are aware that peer on peer abuse does take place, so we include children in our policies when we talk about potential abusers. This may take the form of bullying, physically hurting another child, emotional abuse, or sexual abuse. We will report this in the same way as we do for adults abusing children and will take advice from the appropriate bodies on this area.


Physical abuse

Action needs to be taken if staff have reason to believe that there has been a physical injury to a child, including deliberate poisoning, where there is definite knowledge or reasonable suspicion that the injury was inflicted or knowingly not prevented. These symptoms may include bruising or injuries in an area that is not usual for a child, e.g. fleshy parts of the arms and legs, back, wrists, ankles and face.

Many children will have cuts and grazes from normal childhood injuries. These should also be logged and discussed with the nursery manager or room leader.

Children and babies may be abused physically through shaking or throwing. Other injuries may include burns or scalds. These are not usual childhood injuries and should always be logged and discussed with the designated safeguarding lead.


Female genital mutilation

This type of physical abuse is practised as a cultural ritual by certain ethnic groups and there is now more awareness of its prevalence in some communities in England including its effect on the child and any other siblings involved. This procedure may be carried out shortly after birth and during childhood as well as adolescence, just before marriage or during a woman’s first pregnancy and varies widely according to the community. Symptoms may include bleeding, painful areas, acute urinary retention, urinary infection, wound infection, septicaemia, incontinence, vaginal and pelvic infections with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder as well as physiological concerns. If you have concerns about a child relating to this area, you should contact children’s social care team in the same way as other types of physical abuse. There is a mandatory duty to report to police any case where an act of female genital mutilation appears to have been carried out on a girl under the age of 18, we will ensure this is followed in our setting.


Breast Ironing

Breast ironing also known as "breast flattening" is the process where young girls' breasts are ironed, massaged and/or pounded down through the use of hard or heated objects in order for the breasts to disappear or delay the development of the breasts entirely. It is believed that by carrying out this act, young girls will be protected from harassment, rape, abduction and early forced marriage. Although this is unlikely to happen to children in the nursery due to their age, we will ensure any signs of this in young adults or older children are followed up using the usual safeguarding referral process.


Fabricated illness

This is also a type of physical abuse. This is where a child is presented with an illness that is fabricated by the adult carer. The carer may seek out unnecessary medical treatment or investigation. The signs may include a carer exaggerating a real illness or symptoms, complete fabrication of symptoms or inducing physical illness, e.g. through poisoning, starvation, inappropriate diet. This may also be presented through false allegations of abuse or encouraging the child to appear disabled or ill to obtain unnecessary treatment or specialist support.


Sexual abuse

Action needs be taken if the staff member has witnessed an occasion(s) where a child indicated sexual activity through words, play, drawing, had an excessive preoccupation with sexual matters or had an inappropriate knowledge of adult sexual behaviour or language. This may include acting out sexual activity on dolls/toys or in the role play area with their peers, drawing pictures that are inappropriate for a child, talking about sexual activities or using sexual language or words. The child may become worried when their clothes are removed, e.g. for nappy changes.

The physical symptoms may include genital trauma, discharge and bruises between the legs or signs of a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Emotional symptoms could include a distinct change in a child’s behaviour. They may be withdrawn or overly extroverted and outgoing. They may withdraw away from a particular adult and become distressed if they reach out for them, but they may also be particularly clingy to a potential abuser, so all symptoms and signs should be looked at together and assessed as a whole.

If a child starts to talk openly to an adult about abuse they may be experiencing the procedure below will be followed:

Procedure:

  • The adult should reassure the child and listen without interrupting if the child wishes to talk
  • The observed instances will be detailed in a confidential report
  • The observed instances will be reported to the setting manager 
  • The matter will be referred to the local authority children’s social care team (see reporting procedures).


Child sexual exploitation (CSE)

Working Together to Safeguard Children defines CSE as “…a form of child sexual abuse. It occurs where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, manipulate or deceive a child or young person under the age of 18 into sexual activity (a) in exchange for something the victim needs or wants, and/or (b) for the financial advantage or increased status of the perpetrator or facilitator. The victim may have been sexually exploited even if the sexual activity appears consensual. Child sexual exploitation does not always involve physical contact; it can also occur through the use of technology.”

We will be aware of the possibility of CSE and the signs and symptoms this may manifest as. If we have concerns, we will follow the same procedures as for other concerns and we will record and refer as appropriate.


Emotional abuse

Action should be taken if the staff member has reason to believe that there is a severe, adverse effect on the behaviour and emotional development of a child, caused by persistent or severe ill treatment or rejection.

This may include extremes of discipline where a child is shouted at or put down on a consistent basis, lack of emotional attachment by a parent, or it may include parents or carers placing inappropriate age or developmental expectations upon them. Emotional abuse may also be imposed through the child witnessing domestic abuse and alcohol and drug misuse by adults caring for them.  

The child is likely to show extremes of emotion with this type of abuse. This may include shying away from an adult who is abusing them, becoming withdrawn, aggressive or clingy in order to receive their love and attention. This type of abuse is harder to identify as the child is not likely to show any physical signs.


Neglect

Action should be taken if the staff member has reason to believe that there has been any type of neglect of a child (for example, by exposure to any kind of danger, including cold, starvation or failure to seek medical treatment, when required, on behalf of the child), which results in serious impairment of the child's health or development, including failure to thrive.

Signs may include a child persistently arriving at nursery unwashed or unkempt, wearing clothes that are too small (especially shoes that may restrict the child’s growth or hurt them), arriving at nursery in the same nappy they went home in or a child having an illness or identified special educational need or disability that is not being addressed by the parent. A child may also be persistently hungry if a parent is withholding food or not providing enough for a child’s needs.

Neglect may also be shown through emotional signs, e.g. a child may not be receiving the attention they need at home and may crave love and support at nursery. They may be clingy and emotional. In addition, neglect may occur through pregnancy as a result of maternal substance abuse.


Extremism – the Prevent Duty

Under the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 we have a duty to refer any concerns of extremism to the police (In Prevent priority areas the local authority will have a Prevent lead who can also provide support).

This may be a cause for concern relating to a change in behaviour of a child or family member, comments causing concern made to a member of the team (or other persons in the setting) or actions that lead staff to be worried about the safety of a child in their care.  We have a Prevent Duty and Radicalisation policy in place. Please refer to this for specific details.


Domestic violence: Domestic abuse is any type of controlling, bullying, threatening or violent behaviour between people in a relationship. But it isn’t just physical violence – domestic abuse includes emotional, physical, sexual, financial or psychological abuse. Abusive behaviour can occur in any relationship. It can continue even after the relationship has ended. Both men and women can be abused or abusers. Domestic abuse can seriously harm children and young people. Witnessing domestic abuse is child abuse, and teenagers can suffer domestic abuse in their relationships.    


Fabricated or induced illness: Sometimes parents or carers will make up or cause the symptoms of illness in their child, perhaps giving them medicine they don’t need and making the child unwell.

I understand that child abuse can be in the form of any of the above bullet points or a mixture of these.


Terrorism and prevent duty.

I am aware that I must have due regard to the need to prevent people being drawn into terrorism. This is referred to in the Prevent Duty. I am also aware of the signs and indicators of extremism or radicalisation. If I had any concerns I would contact the Prevent Officer in my local area and my LSCB. 


Reporting Procedures

All staff have a responsibility to report safeguarding concerns and suspicions of abuse. These concerns will be discussed with the designated safeguarding lead (DSL) as soon as possible.

  • Staff will report their concerns to DSL
  • Any signs of marks/injuries to a child or information a child has given will be recorded and stored securely
  • If appropriate, the incident will be discussed with the parent/carer, such discussions will be recorded, and the parent will have access to these records on request
  • If there are queries/concerns regarding the injury/information given, then the following procedures will take place:


The designated safeguarding lead will:

  • Contact the local authority children’s social care team to report concerns and seek advice (if it is believed a child is in immediate danger we will contact the police)
  • Inform Ofsted
  • Record the information and action taken relating to the concern raised
  • Speak to the parents (unless advised not do so by LA children’s social care team)
  • The designated safeguarding lead will follow up with the Local Authority children’s social care team if they have not contacted the setting within the timeframe set out in Working Together to Safeguarding Children (2018). We will never assume that action has been taken,


Keeping children safe is our highest priority and if, for whatever reason, staff do not feel able to report concerns to the DSL they should call the Local Authority children’s social care team or the NSPCC and report their concerns anonymously.


Informing parents

Parents are normally the first point of contact. If a suspicion of abuse is recorded, parents are informed at the same time as the report is made, except where the guidance of the local authority children’s social care team/police does not allow this. This will usually be the case where the parent or family member is the likely abuser or where a child may be endangered by this disclosure. In these cases, the investigating officers will inform parents.


Confidentiality

All suspicions, enquiries and external investigations are kept confidential and shared only with those who need to know. Any information is shared in line with guidance from the local authority.


Support to families

The setting takes every step in its power to build up trusting and supportive relations among families, staff, students and volunteers within the nursery.

The setting continues to welcome the child and the family whilst enquiries are being made in relation to abuse in the home situation. Parents and families will be treated with respect in a non-judgmental manner whilst any external investigations are carried out in the best interest of the child.

Confidential records kept on a child are shared with the child's parents or those who have parental responsibility for the child, only if appropriate in line with guidance of the local authority with the proviso that the care and safety of the child is paramount. We will do all in our power to support and work with the child's family.


Allegations against adults working or volunteering with children

If an allegation is made against a member of staff, student or volunteer or any other person who lives or works on the premises regardless of whether the allegation relates to the setting premises or elsewhere, we will follow the procedure below.


The allegation should be reported to the manager . If this person is the subject of the allegation, then this should be reported to

The Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) and Ofsted will then be informed immediately in order for this to be investigated by the appropriate bodies promptly:

  • The LADO will be informed immediately for advice and guidance
  • If as an individual you feel this will not be taken seriously or are worried about the allegation getting back to the person in question, then it is your duty to inform the LADO yourself directly
  • A full investigation will be carried out by the appropriate professionals (LADO, Ofsted) to determine how this will be handled
  • The setting will follow all instructions from the LADO and Ofsted and ask all staff members to do the same and co-operate where required
  • Support will be provided to all those involved in an allegation throughout the external investigation in line with LADO support and advice
  • The setting reserves the right to suspend any member of staff during an investigation
  • All enquiries/external investigations/interviews will be documented and kept in a locked file for access by the relevant authorities
  • Unfounded allegations will result in all rights being reinstated
  • Founded allegations will be passed on to the relevant organisations including the local authority children’s social care team and where an offence is believed to have been committed, the police, and will result in the termination of employment. Ofsted will be notified immediately of this decision. The setting will also notify the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) to ensure their records are updated
  • All records will be kept until the person reaches normal retirement age or for 21 years and 3 months years if that is longer. This will ensure accurate information is available for references and future DBS checks and avoids any unnecessary reinvestigation
  • The setting retains the right to dismiss any member of staff in connection with founded allegations following an inquiry.


Monitoring children’s attendance

As part of our requirements under the statutory framework and guidance documents we are required to monitor children’s attendance patterns to ensure they are consistent and no cause for concern.

Parents should please inform the setting prior to their children taking holidays or days off, and all sickness should be called into the setting on the day, so the management are able to account for a child’s absence.

If a child has not arrived at setting within one hour of their normal start time the parents will be called to ensure the child is safe and healthy. If the parents are not contactable then the further emergency contacts will be used to ensure all parties are safe.

Where a child is part of a child protection plan, or during a referral process, any absences will immediately be reported to the local authority children’s social care team to ensure the child remains safeguarded.

This should not stop parents taking precious time with their children but enables children’s attendance to be logged so we know the child is safe. 


I will implement the local safeguarding procedures, without delay to minimise any risk to the child. I will keep a factual record of the concern and will ask the parents for an explanation, providing it would not put the child at risk and contact the local authority.


The EYFS welfare requirements for registered childminder’s in England require me to let Ofsted know of any concerns that I have reported without delay.


  • Whistle blowing.Everyone who comes into contact with children and families in their everyday work has a duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.

All childminders, their assistants, students on placement or volunteers have a responsibility to report abuse and malpractice when it is suspected or if they have concerns. 


Mobile phones.

I understand that mobile phones are an everyday part of life for parents and childminders however incorrect use of these can also provide a risk to the child’s safety. Please refer to my mobile phone policy. 


Alcohol and drugs.

I will ensure that neither I, nor anyone else who has contact with the children whilst at my setting, is under the influence of alcohol or any drug which may affect our ability to care for children.


I will not release the children into the care of any parent or carer who I have reason to believe is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. I will contact a person from their emergency contact list and if no one is available to collect the child then I will contact the local authority duty social worker and follow their advice.