Child Protection Policy

Essential Homecare’s objective is to protect and safeguard children and people with learning disabilities from physical, sexual and emotional harm while they are being attended to in their own homes by staffs that are employed by EHCS.

EHCS staff should, at all times, show respect and understanding of children’s rights, safety & welfare and conduct themselves in a way that reflects the principles of EHCS.

We achieve the above statement by giving parents, children, and people with learning disability information about what we do and the standard you can expect from us.

We will at all times be making sure that our staff are carefully selected, trained and monitored on a regular basis ensuring the highest standard of care is delivered.

Our complaints procedure will be explained to the service user from the start of their care.

All staff must report immediately if they suspect any forms of abuse to EHCS.

PROCEDURE FOR RESPONDING TO ALLEGED OR SUSPECTED INCIDENTS OF CHILD ABUSE

When working with a family or children, you may become aware of the actual or likely occurrence of abuse in various ways.  Those being:

  • A child may tell you
  • A child may show some signs of physical injury for which there appears to be no satisfactory explanation
  • A child’s behaviour may indicate to you that it is likely that he or she is being abused
  • Something in the behaviour of one of the workers on in the way a worker relates to a child alerts you or makes you feel uncomfortable in some way
  • Your awareness of a suspicion about abuse may come about as a result of something disclosed to you by a third party (parent, friend, co-worker) who suspects or has been told of the abuse

RESPONSIBILITY FOR PROTECTING THE CHILD

The statutory responsibility for child protection lies with Health and Social Care Trusts and the NSPCC.

EHCS staff has a responsibility to pass on information to the Trusts in any situation where they feel the rights of the child are being jeopardized.

Process

PHYSICAL INJURY

It is normal for children to encounter cuts and bruises during their life.  However, there are occasions when these injuries may have resulted from either parental neglect or abuse, or both.

In the event of a child having a bruise, cut, or any other type of physical injury, first check to ascertain if the injury is accidental or non-accidental.  The following order will depend on circumstances:

  • Ascertain from the child how the injury occurred. Listen carefully to the child’s account.  Where the child is unable to communicate, more vigilant observation is required.
  • Discuss the injury with the child’s parent(s)
  • Always consult with your Manager.
  • If you and your Manager are satisfied that the injury was an accident and not caused by neglect or abuse then record the incident, showing why you are satisfied that it was an accident and inform Social Services of the injury and of your assessment of the situation.
  • If you have reason to believe that:
  1. The injury did not occur accidentally, and/or
  2. The child’s explanation is inconsistent, and/or
  3. The parents’ explanation is inconsistent

You must make the carer/parent aware where appropriate, that the concern/information will be passed to the Social Services

You must bring this concern to the immediate attention of your Manager.  If neither is available, you should immediately contact Social Services.

You must ensure that a detailed account of the incident; the child’s account’ and the parent’s and/or other explanations are recorded in writing.  One copy should be sent to the relevant Trust and one copy retained of file.

EMOTIONAL NEGLECT & ABUSE

Can be difficult to detect immediately, but usually becomes evident over a period of contact.  In light of the nature of emotional abuse the staff should share their “gut feelings” about situations with their Manager.

Where concern begins to arise the Manager should be notified immediately.

In all instances, all observations should be recorded in detail.

The Manager will ensure that appropriate steps are taken to inform all relevant agencies.

SEXUAL ABUSE

Sexual abuse is the exploitation of a child for the sexual gratification of an adult affectionate physical contact is a normal and desirable part of life; it is sometimes difficult for an outsider to distinguish between affection as opposed to sexually abusive behaviour within the family.

If a worker finds themselves in a situation of a child disclosing sexual abuse, listen to the child, reassure and remain clam.  Staff should avoid prompting or questioning either child or parent.  It is not your role to decide whether or not abuse has occurred or the possible degree of risk.  This must be decided by the Trusts.

If in the receipt of information or if you suspect sexual abuse has taken place you should:

Notify the Manager who will inform the Trust

Where appropriate stay with the child while she/he is being interviewed

Keep a written record of all details

RECORD ALLEGATIONS OR SUSPICIONS OF ABUSE

In any case where an allegation is made, or someone in EHCS has concerns, a record should be made.  It is good practice to draw upo a checklist of details to note and questions you should ask yourself in making such a record which could include – The following details:

Name of child

  • Age
  • Any special factors
  • Parents name
  • Home address
  • Telephone number
  • Details of concerns (their own or somebody else)
  • Dates and times of any incidents
  • Any signs, physical, behavioural, indirect signs
  • Has the child been spoken to? If so, what was said?
  • Have the parents been contacted? What was said?
  • Has anybody been alleged to be the abuser? Record details
  • Has anyone been consulted?

In all cases of abuse, communication to another agency by telephone must also be submitted in writing to a Senior Representative in that agency and a copy retained for the file.  All meetings related to abuse or neglect must be minuted as soon as possible by the EHCS member of staff attending the meeting and retained in the file.

Open communication should be maintained with the child’s parent(s) at all times unless impossible.

Contact Numbers should be made accessible to all staff at all times i.e. Social Services/Trusts and NSPCC

Untoward incident form must be completed and returned to EHCS WITH OUT DELAY.  EHCS will enlist the support of the Designated Officer to investigate the abuse.

All staff will be familiarised with the definitions and main forms of abuse what action to take if an incident of abuse is suspected.  The main forms of abuse are:

  • Physical
  • Psychological
  • Emotional
  • Sexual
  • Emotional
  • Neglect
  • Financial

ALL FORMS OF ABUSE ARE TO TREATED AS AN UNTOWARD INCIDENT

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