Safeguarding – sharing best practice
Safeguarding and Child Protection
Whats the difference? Safeguarding is about prevention, safe and effective care and Child Protection is action ie for children who are suffering from mal treatment.
All agencies have little bits of information about a young person ( GP, youth worker and teachers, parents ) but non of those people talk to each other so safeguarding is about being aware of young people and issues you can see and contacting other relevant agenices. Do you know who to talk to?
So how can you tell the difference and what if a young person comes into your youth centre and tells you he’s planning to stab someone? What should you do and who should you tell?
Why do we need this? Protect young people, yourself and your organisations. Share information with other relevant workers
How much should you share? Confidentiality – where would you stand when another worker asks you for information your not comfortable sharing. How can you protect your trusted relationship whilst building stronger relationships with other youth workers.
Schools can be difficult places to navigate as individuals may be brilliant but regularly institutions can seem aloof.
Even getting foster parents or parents involved is difficult and sometimes they are part of the problem.
Conversations – recording and sharing conversations is problematic as you need the young persons permission to do so and sometimes they don’t want you to share that information. However if you believe that it is serious you will have to let them know that it is your duty by law to tell the authorities.
Referrals – if you make a referral it maybe by email rather than phone and you may not know what’s going to happen or when! Once a visit has been made they may not respond to your young person in the way you hoped. What happens with the information when you share it?? You can’t know how those other agencies will behave. If you have to make a referral it could be very handy if it is with someone that you know who works within another agencie.
How will your referral effect the young person you work with? It’s hard not to consider other family members but your responsibility is to the young person you work with.
When should you intervene? Making referrals – you have to phone the parents to tell them you’re making referrals.
Physical abuse – bruises, cuts, jumpy or edgy
Emotional abuse- high levels of anxiety, aggression and fear
Sexual abuse – overly sexual or knowledge of sex that seems inappropriate, self harm, eating disorders
Neglect – hungry, torn dirty clothes, begs or steals food
If you do not report information and a young person and they die you could be liable.
Young people you work with have relationships and they can go wrong bringing trouble to your group. You must remember that you are a befriender and not a friend.
Recording and evaluating
Consent forms, registrations and registers.
Best practice – sit down after each session and evaluate your group and record issues arising, you can do this on your own database or password protected google docs. For funded youth groups there are youth services data bases, see across the borough.
Shared database within youth groups should be secure and private ( password protected ) but recording issues doesn’t necessarily mean people will read your report and what about volunteers? How much should you tell them?
Residential and working with other groups means sometimes you have to tell other workers about safe guarding issues like sexual abuse.
Summaries can be good if your really worried about a young person and you need to share info with other youth workers and having a second in command and other sessional staff you trust.
Building evaluations and debriefs into sessions is vital but keep the time at a minimum if you’re relying on volunteers
Communicating with your staff
Safeguarding includes not being alone with vulnerable young people, taking them in your car or sharing sensitive information like phone numbers, where you live, what about FACEBOOK? You have to let your staff know this.
Update your risk assessment based on real risks you experience.
Share your risk assessment and safeguarding policy before volunteers or visiting teachers come to your sessions – let people know if they can’t take photos and how they should behave!
Who’s responsible – if you go into other centres and do you need a service level agreement?
There are free safeguarding training courses from the council but they tend to be for younger kids