Nga tikanga whakamaru tamaiti/ Child Protection
This policy outlines our commitment to child protection. It includes our protocols when abuse is reported to us or suspected by us. It also includes information on measures taken at Collectively Kids to prevent child abuse. All staff are expected to be familiar with this policy and abide by it. This policy meets the requirements of the Vulnerable Children’s Act 2014.
Kaiako and Management recognise that it is the obligation and responsibility of the centre to provide a safe physical and emotional environment where tamariki are treated with dignity and respect and are free from physical, verbal, emotional and sexual abuse. We are committed to the prevention of child abuse and neglect and to the protection of all tamariki.
Kaiako are familiar with the national protocol agreed by the Ministry of Education, Early Childhood Education Services and Oranga Tamariki which is enclosed with this policy in the operations manual and will be revisited regularly. Collectively Kids uses living documents that describe processes and procedures we use to support vulnerable tamariki.
Child Abuse is defined by the Ministry of Children, Oranga Tamariki as “any tamaiti or young person that has been, or is likely to be, harmed (whether physically, emotionally, or sexually), ill-treated, neglected or deprived”.
Child Abuse can be:
Exposure to family violence or intimate partner violence
Child Neglect “is a pattern of behaviour which occurs over a period of time and results in adverse or impaired functioning or development of a tamaiti. It is the failure to provide for a child’s basic physical or psychological needs.
Neglect may be:
Physical - failure to provide necessary basic needs of food, shelter or warmth
Medical - failure to seek, obtain or follow through with medical care for the tamaiti
Abandonment - leaving a tamaiti young person in any situation without arranging necessary care for them and with no intention of returning
Neglectful supervision – failure to provide developmentally appropriate or legally required supervision
Refusal to assume parental responsibility - unwillingness or inability to provide appropriate care for a tamaiti.”
From Child Matters website: www.childmatters.org.nz
The interest and protection of the tamaiti is paramount in all actions.
We recognise the rights of whānau to participate in the decision-making about their tamariki.
We have a commitment to ensure that all kaiako are able to identify the signs and symptoms of potential abuse and neglect and are able to take appropriate action in response.
We are committed to supporting kaiako to work in accordance with this policy, and to work with partner agencies and organisations to ensure tamaiti protection policies are consistent and of high quality.
We will always comply with relevant legislative responsibilities.
We are committed to sharing information in a timely way and to discussing any concerns about an individual tamaiti with colleagues or the person responsible.
We are committed to promoting a culture where kaiako feel confident that they can constructively challenge poor practices or raise issues of concern without fear of reprisal.
We are committed to keeping professional and personal lives separate (no babysitting)
Collectively Kids is committed to making this policy and our practices available to whānau and it is on our website.
Relationships with whānau
We will form good relationships with whānau and be aware of issues that can make life extra hard for whānau. We will monitor situations and offer help and support to whānau where we can. Collectively Kids will share our child protection poilcy with whānau of tamariki who attend our centre.
Prevention of Child Abuse
Management is committed to maintaining and increasing kaiako awareness of how to prevent, recognise and respond to tamaiti abuse.
Kaiako and management take part in training courses concerning abuse as these become available and information is shared. Information regarding child protection is available and kaiako are encouraged to read this, particularly when policy review takes place.
Most of the centre's layout allows for the visibility of tamariki and adults. There are a number of viewing windows to aid supervision. Kaiako are rostered to supervise the toilet area and attempt to be in the area when a parent/caregiver is changing or toileting his/her tamaiti while other tamariki are present. Relievers (unless long-term) visitors, whānau members, students, ESW’s and volunteers do not help toilet tamariki (other than their own), or in the case of (ESW’s, tamariki they are working with) to dress or change nappies. On rare occasions, only one registered kaiako may be present if there is an emergency, or for a late pick-up if a second kaiako is unable to stay on. At least 2 adults supervise on outings and at least one is a permanent kaiako.
Students, ESWs, volunteers and relieving kaiako (unless they are long-term relievers) are asked to limit physical contact with tamariki and to ensure that tamariki feel comfortable before initiating contact. Permanent kaiako, however, do develop affectionate relationships with the tamariki. This is an important aspect of building relationships and providing an emotionally safe and secure learning environment for young tamariki.
The centre programme fosters self-help skills, assertion, self-esteem and respect for others through activities, procedures and resources. It offers a trusting environment where tamariki have opportunities and are encouraged to discuss anything that concerns them (however small or large it may seem to them) with kaiako.
Tamariki are encouraged to say 'no' to unwanted physical contact (including hugs). They are encouraged to respect the physical and emotional space of others. Tamariki are given the correct names for all body parts including genitals (penis, vagina or vulva).
Tamariki at Collectively Kids engage in the “We Can Keep Safe” course funded by the HELP Foundation every 1.5 years
Tamariki are encouraged to express feelings and kaiako are always available for conversations. Any concerns arising from regular observations and incidental records are discussed.
No tamaiti will be taken from the centre without whānau written consent. If there is a change in routine or an emergency, whānau are required to ring to advise the centre. A note will be made on the roll or in the communications book of such calls.
Open communication and a close relationship between whānau and the centre is fostered. Information regarding abuse is available. Kaiako are always prepared to discuss any concerns about tamaiti. A confidential record of conversations with whānau which are of a sensitive nature may be kept. The centre has a complaints procedure. Whānau are asked to immediately report any concerns regarding their tamaiti's treatment at the centre to management and/or to a kaiako.
Situations of suspected abuse and responding to it
In situations of suspected abuse our predominant concern will always be to ensure the welfare and immediate safety of the tamaiti.
The flow chart of action after abuse is discovered or disclosed (in the interagency protocol) will be followed.
If there are concerns regarding the safety of infants and toddlers, kaiako will keep written records of such concerns and notify the person in charge and management who will, in consultation with kaiako, take action deemed appropriate for the circumstances.
If there are concerns regarding the safety of young tamariki and/or tamariki disclose information relating to their care that is of concern the person in charge and management will be informed and will, in consultation with kaiako, take action deemed appropriate under the circumstances. Under such circumstances, tamariki will be listened to, believed and reassured. Confidential records will be kept of observations and communications that cause concern. Kaiako will avoid making judgements, facts only will be recorded. The tamaiti will not be questioned. Kaiako will not act alone but will consult with other kaiako and advice will be sought from appropriate agencies.
If there is clear evidence of reasonable cause to believe an instance of child abuse has taken place the person in charge shall notify Oranga Tamariki.
In addition to guiding kaiako to make referrals of suspected child abuse and neglect to the statutory agencies (i.e. Oranga Tamariki and the Police), this Child Protection Policy will also help kaiako to identify and respond to the needs of the many vulnerable tamariki whose well-being is of concern.
In many of these cases, the involvement of statutory agencies would be inappropriate and potentially harmful to whānau. Throughout New Zealand, statutory and non-statutory agencies provide a network of mutually supportive services and it is important that Collectively Kids works with these agencies to respond to the needs of vulnerable tamariki and whānau in a manner proportionate to the level of need and risk.
Allegations or concerns about Kaiako
Where suspected abuse has been perpetrated by a kaiako or other person at the centre, kaiako will report the matter to Management and/or appropriate authorities (a protected disclosure policy is in place). To ensure the safety of the tamaiti and other kaiako, the Service Provider will take immediate steps to remove the kaiako (or volunteer) from the licensed premises. The flow chart procedure will be followed. Statutory organisations will be informed, and advice sought. The kaiako concerned will be advised and informed that they have the right to seek legal support. They will be provided with an opportunity to respond. The investigation will seek to establish if there are reasonable grounds to believe that the person has ill-treated or abused a tamaiti or committed a crime against tamariki, or in guiding or controlling a tamaiti, has subjected the tamaiti to solitary confinement, immobilization, or deprivation of food, drink, warmth, shelter or protection (Education (Early Childhood services) Regulations 2008 Reg .56).
Support will be made available from; NZEI, a Human Rights Commission officer or any other suitable person. The Ministry of Education will be advised.
Alcohol and Drugs
The centre has zero tolerance for kaiako use of drugs and alcohol, and kaiako will be excluded from licensed premises while any suspicion is investigated. Suspicions involving a registered kaiako will be reported to the Teaching Council. Our policies are in place to ensure that no kaiak is under the influence of drugs or alcohol whilst working in the centre. If any parent arrives to pick up their tamaiti whilst suspected to be under the influence of drugs, or alcohol, kaiako will use their discretion to decide whether the tamaiti is safe to be driven by the parent. Kaiako can offer to call another whānau member, but where drivers are non-co-operative, Kaiako should call the police (111)
All practicable steps will be taken to protect tamariki from exposure to inappropriate material for example, of an explicitly sexual or violent nature
Confidentiality and information sharing
The Privacy Act 2020 and the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989 allow information to be shared to keep tamarik safe when abuse or suspected abuse is reported or investigated. Note that under sections 15 and 16 of the CYPF Act, any person who believes that a tamaiti has been, or is likely to be, harmed physically, emotionally or sexually or ill-treated, abused, neglected or deprived may report the matter to Oranga Tamariki and the Police and, provided the report is made in good faith, no civil, criminal or disciplinary proceedings may be brought against them.
Recruitment and employment
Safety checking will be carried out in accordance with the Vulnerable Children’s Act 2014. This will include a police vet; identity verification; reference checks and an interview. A work history will be sought, and previous employers will be contacted. All of these checks as well as a risk assessment will have to be completed with satisfactory results before employment begins. If there is any suspicion that an applicant might pose a risk to a tamaiti, the applicant will not be employed. Existing kaiako will be safety checked every three years. Detailed records of all safety checks will be maintained, including copies of all original documents sighted, for as long as the person is employed by the organization.
Review of the policy
Childi protection policy will be reviewed at least every 3 years, ideally every year