Policy Statement and Guidelines on Working with Children and Young People

Peebles Baptist Church is a church affiliated to the Baptist Union of Scotland. This document has been written with reference to, and in the spirit of, the Booklet - ”Baptist Union Of Scotland ‘Working Together Care and Protection of Children and Young People’ 1997”

POLICY
This church has a love for children and young people and seeks to provide a ministry to them. The church membership and church leadership take seriously their responsibility to care for and protect the children and young people in their care. This church is committed to:     encouraging and supporting parents and carers listening to, relating effectively to and valuing each child and young person providing training and support for our workers with children and young people taking all reasonable steps to ensure the safety and well-being of children whilst in our care

The church recognises that physical, emotional, sexual abuse and neglect of children and young people does occur in society. We undertake that, in any instances where such abuse is suspected or disclosed, the matter will be handled according to the guidelines contained in this document.

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GUIDELINES
The church leadership have responsibility for the implementation of these guidelines and will review them periodically, taking into account any new child care legislation or guidelines from the Baptist Union or government, concerning work with children and young people. Each group or organisation e.g. King’s Club, Creche, must have a leader nominated by the church membership or leadership. Other volunteers should relate primarily to that leader, other than if there are concerns regarding the conduct of the leader, when the co-ordinator or a member of the leadership team should be consulted. In addition, all new volunteers will have a meeting with the activity leader to gain an impression of their understanding of and suitability for the task, and to ensure, as far as possible, that the person does not present any physical emotional or sexual risk to the children and young people in our care. The church will appoint a voluntary co-ordinator for care and protection of children and young people entrusted to our care. The co-ordinator will be given all relevant information sent to the church. The co-ordinator will undertake to:      be familiar with our current guidelines issue them to new volunteers via group leaders be available for consultation advise church leadership and group leaders on appropriate and safe practice be familiar with local referral systems for Child Protection to Social Work and Police.

In addition the leadership will appoint a “designated person” in terms of the Disclosure Scotland Act. This person will be responsible for arranging police checks for everyone involved in, or wishing to become involved in working with children and vulnerable adults in the church. They will also keep abreast of new legislation in relation to this. This may be the same person as the coordinator. All people currently involved in child/youth related activities, or volunteering to do so, must be given a copy of these guidelines by the activity leader. They should sign a form stating that they have read and understood them. They will be required to fill in a Disclosure Scotland application form in order that police checks can be carried out to ensure they have no convictions for offences against children. Any information gained regarding offences will be kept completely confidential by the designated person.

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Guidance- for good practice for leaders, staff and helpers of all groups/organisations

Workers and leaders should:     Recognise and respect parents/carers responsibility for their children Respect the values, culture and race of each child and family Treat all youngsters with respect and dignity appropriate to their age Pay attention to their tone of voice, language, physical contact. (The church does not advocate avoiding all physical contact such as picking up a small child or an encouraging arm round a shoulder but any contact which might hurt, cause embarrassment or discomfort, or be interpreted as sexual, should be avoided).

Consideration should be given to additional resources where children have a disability or special need. Mixed gender staffing should be encouraged wherever possible. As far as possible having one worker with one child alone in a room should be avoided. In the case of counselling or “time-out”, another adult should be made aware of the activity and remain nearby with the child’s knowledge, and the door left ajar if possible. The physical environment for any activity should be assessed for safety and suitability and with regard to age ability and behaviour of the youngsters concerned. For all youngsters regularly attending a group, a card should be completed by parents/carers. This should give details of any relevant allergies, illness, disability, or medication; parents/carers name, address, & tel. number; proper name & d.o.b. of their child and emergency contact person. This should be retained by the leader. (see Appendix 1) For any “one-off” activities, a consent form should be signed by parents/carers and retained by the leader. Whilst the child is in the group/activity the group leader/workers are responsible for their care. It is expected that the parent/carer will take over responsibility for their child’s care immediately after the activity. As a general rule unaccompanied adults should avoid giving lifts to lone youngsters. If there is no responsible adult around when picking up or dropping off a youngster the worker should first ensure the child’s safety. They should not leave a child alone nor take a child away from home without leaving word for the parents/carers. All information / concerns about children and their families should be dealt with confidentially and shared on a “need-to-know” basis only.

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Guidance - re behaviour and discipline of children and young people         Ensure adequate staffing where behaviour is particularly challenging Consistency by each worker and within each team is vital Staff are role models and should set a good example A child must never be rejected, only his/her behaviour Care should be taken to give quieter children adequate attention Children should not be shouted at or “put-down” Children should never be smacked or deliberately hurt In situations of difficulty consultation should take place with parents/carers and colleagues

Guidance - where abuse is suspected or disclosed Workers may detect apparent deliberate injury to a child, or a youngster may tell a trusted adult about physical or sexual abuse, or sometimes physical appearance or behaviour may arouse suspicion. Where the possibility of abuse comes into the mind or to the attention of a worker, appropriate steps should be taken, whether the possible abuser is another child, a colleague, stranger or family member. If any discussion takes place with a child regarding abuse then it is important to be supportive and reassuring to the child. Accept what the child says without showing any shock or disgust, tell the child they are not to blame and let them know what you are going to do next - do not give them false assurances. Do not tell the child that you will keep what they have told you as a secret but tell them that you must speak to someone else about what they have told you. Exactly what the child has said should be put in writing, by the worker, as soon as possible and as accurately as possible.

No leader or worker should take any action, or decide not to act, on their own initiative. - Consultation should always take place with the co-coordinator or, if not available, a church leader. - A decision then will be made about the most appropriate course of action which may be referral to Child Protection agencies-Social Work and/or Police. No such referral will be made without a parent/ carer being informed. - Virtually every situation can wait for advice, but in the extremely rare situation where a child is perceived to be in immediate danger then the worker should call 999.

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Any discussion about suspected abuse must only take place in the strictest confidence and only with those designated.

Church Child Protection coordinator is currently Liz Keiro
26.03.99

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