News

23rd Nov 2018

Policies & Procedures

  • We at Edinburgh Guardian Angels have updated all our Policies & Procedures in 2018.  
  • Safeguarding is one of our most important Policies
  • Why have a Safeguarding Policy
  • A Safeguarding Policy helps us to:
1) Protect children from abuse and maltreatment
2) Support children and keep them safe
3) Ensure that procedures are in place and are followed in order to protect children
4) Set out the organisations commitment to protecting children
5) Ensure that the organisation adheres to its Child Protection Policy 


 

Safeguarding Policy 

 


(A)  1.   Introduction




All children looked after by Edinburgh Guardian Angels (hereafter referred to as EGA) should enjoy and experience as ‘normal’ a family life as possible and EGA want our host carers to enjoy the rewards of this. Hosting can sometimes be a ‘Risky Business’, therefore every host family household needs a Safe Care Plan.


The Hosting agency namely EGA expects host families to care for the children they look after ‘as their own’ but looking after other people’s children is not quite the same - it comes with additional responsibilities, restrictions and risks. The aim of a Safe Care plan is to protect host carers, placed children and friends and family members from these risks.

Unfortunately, it is not possible to eliminate all risks completely. EGA staff must be ‘realistic and proportionate’ in their approach. Host carers need to identify as many potential areas of risk as possible and then develop strategies in order to avoid, minimise and manage these. This Safe Care Plan template can help them to formulate a plan suitable for their family and for children who are placed with them.


The EGA Agency has a duty to support its host carers and this support will include regular supervision and professional development through training relevant to the tasks they are undertaking. EGA Guardians must support and guide the professional development of hosts and will offer general advice on hosting and procedural matters.  They should also facilitate hosts  access to more specialist advice and support where necessary.


Equally, host carers have a responsibility to take advantage of the support and advice available to them including Supervisory Visits; Host Family Review Visit and meetings with other hosts. 


(B)  2.  The Safe Care Plan


2.1 Names Used at Home

Host Families should think about what the children should call them; what feels right and comfortable for hosts and for children. Parents and Guardians don’t want children to be confused about relationships e.g. hosts are not their ‘Mum / Dad’. Also, there may be cultural or other reasons why a child shouldn’t call adults by their first names and may feel uncomfortable with that. 

 

2.2 Showing Affection

All children need nurturing but this needs to be done in a way that is comfortable for them and for host families and in ways that are not going to be misinterpreted by the child or their parents. Everyone needs kind and appropriate physical affection but no one should touch another’s body without permission. Play fighting, wrestling etc. can be a cover for abuse and easily misinterpreted, so is not appropriate. Hosts should think how they will meet the child’s emotional needs and how they will help them feel safe and cared for.  All Guardians and Hosts should also remember that there will sometimes be cultural differences as well as any particular differences and experiences within families when showing affection.


2.3 Secrets

Hosts and Guardians should think about how they will promote open and appropriate communication with children they look after. They should remember that they may previously have been pressurised into keeping ‘secrets’ by an abuser and  remember that ‘surprises’ may also be difficult for some children to manage.  In accordance with EGA Child Protection policy, Guardians and Hosts should remind children that some secrets may need to be disclosed, must be shared with the guardian and possible other services.


2.4 Language and Behaviour Management

Hosts and Guardians should consider how they will deal with offensive / inappropriate language and challenging behaviours. They should also remember that EGA has a ‘no smacking’ policy and does not support punitive punishment based models of behaviour management or the physical restraint of children. EGA staff need to support and encourage the development of appropriate, safe behaviours, when children are in the care of Guardians and Hosts.

Any form of ‘incident’ must be recorded and reported on an Incident / Accident report form.)


2.5 The Way People Dress at Home

When EGA children are residing with Hosts or Guardians, adults, children and young people should be appropriately clothed at all times. They should think how they need to promote and actively achieve this and how they would need to explain ‘appropriate dress’ to a child or young person.  No one in the household should walk around partially clothed or unclothed.  Guardians and Hosts should discuss and clarify with guardians when it is appropriate to wear night clothes such as dressing gowns etc.  Guardians will set an example. Where it is possible, host families should attempt to give EGA children in their care, separate bathrooms.  If this is not possible, then agreed times for using shower/bath should be discussed and agreed.  EGA request Guardians and Hosts to be as flexible as possible but to ensure that ‘safe care’ is paramount.


2.6 Education about Sex and Sexuality

Good and clear age appropriate sex education is important for all the family. Hosts and Guardians should consider how they express and ‘model’ intimate relationships and how this might affect or impact on the children they host. They should also consider who might be the most appropriate person to talk about sex and sexuality with a child / young person and where you might get further advice and support if needed (seek advice from parents and guardians or SSPCC if appropriate)

 

 

2.7 In the Bathroom

Hosts and Guardians should consider everyone’s privacy and set some boundaries such as door locking and bath times, to prevent any unintentional invasions of privacy, which could be misconstrued.  They should consider if any of the household members are more or less suited to explaining this to any child.

 

2.8 Bedrooms (Children)

EGA does not generally support bedroom sharing on the grounds that everyone needs their own space and privacy e.g. Guardians and Hosts could have a house rule that no-one enters another person’s bedroom without knocking and some bedrooms may be areas where the hosed children are denied access. Likewise, Guardians and Hosts should clarify who can access a hosted child’s room and when to change bedding, collect laundry.  They should also, think about arrangements when they are away from the household (e.g. on holiday) and if extra vigilance is required given changed bedroom arrangements e.g. caravans / holiday accommodation etc.


2.9 Bedrooms (Host Families)

Guardians and Hosts should consider their own privacy needs and how might they support a child/young person to respect the privacy of others in the household. Does their bedroom need to be out of bounds at all times or might it be okay for children to come into your bedroom at some agreed times?


2.10 Children’s outdoor Activities

      Hosts and Guardians should consider where it is safe for children hosted to be outside.  They must consider if there are potential problems with children unsupervised or behind closed doors? Guardians and Hosts should consider how they will promote healthy / safe play and activities. Guardians and Hosts who are registered with the Care Inspectorate, will have had an inspection by the C.I on their premises.  The relevant report will detail whether the Guardian and Host is registered to allow children in the garden unsupervised or not

 

      Thorough risk assessments and adequate adult/child ratios, one adult per 6 children is a general guideline in accordance with Scottish National Care Guidelines for children aged up to 12.  The Guidelines state that the Care Inspectorate will have the discretion to assess how many children can be cared for by one adult aged 12 to 16 years old.  Consequently, EGA prefer to adopt the practice of having an adult/child ratio of 1 adult per 4 children for outdoor pursuits unless there are any mitigating circumstances which would then be discussed and agreed with the Care Inspectorate

 

2.11 Taking Photographs

Guardians have the responsibility of agreeing with parents whether they give permission for photos and the circumstances e.g. for marketing by EGA, for EGA website, or for purposes of making mementos of the children. In such circumstances, photos should only be shared with hosted child, their parents, host parents and guardians.  The guardians will appraise host families at the beginning of host placement with the help of (profiles of children made and shared with Guardians and Hosts).  The permission for such photos is granted or not granted at the point of parents signing contract with Guardians. Before Hosts and Guardians take any photos of EGA’s children, they should firstly consider some issues:


Has permission been given to take photos?  Where should they not take photos? Are there any other considerations - e.g. some children may have been photographed in negative circumstances previously. Photos of children hosted by EGA should never be published on Facebook or similar social media. Guardians and Hosts should never become friends with hosted children on facebook or other social media.


2.12 Alcohol/Smoking

Guardians and Hosts should always ensure general health and safety has been considered regarding alcohol storage. They should also consider that some children may have had difficult previous experiences of parents/carers use of alcohol/substances.  Guardians and Hosts may need to remind children of cultural differences e.g. being legally permitted to drink alcohol or smoke at the age of 16 in some parts of Europe but not until the age of 18 in the U.K.  Any discretions regarding alcohol use and smoking could place a child at risk of exclusion from their school as well as breaking the law.  Under no circumstances should any child in the care of EGA consume or purchase alcohol or cigarettes.

 

Smoking


EGA has a stated aspiration for all hosting households to become smoke free and employs a No Smoking policy for those host families supporting hosted children. EGA must check if Hosts do smoke, or if they allow anyone else to smoke in the house or around children? If so, they must consider and discuss with Guardians, what they need to do differently? e.g. only smoke outside.

 

2.13 Medication

Guardians and Hosts should consider safe storage of any of their medication, whether prescribed or over the counter medication.  They must consider if it is prescription or ‘over the counter medicine'? EGA staff must record the administration of any medication to hosted children and consult guardian.  Hosts should consult Guardians before administering any over the counter medicine as some medication could previously have been given by school staff or Guardians.  See Administration of Medication Policy – Appendix 1 of Policies & Procedures.


2.14 Use of TV, Computers, Mobile / Smart Phones, Social Media and the Internet

If children have access to a TV and/or Computer in their own room, Guardians and Hosts should consider how they will monitor age appropriate TV viewing and computer use, particularly the internet? Given the range of phones and other devices available, children and young people need support and guidance on using them safely and securely, particularly internet and social media use e.g. any social media. Guardians and Hosts should assist them to obtain maximum benefit whilst minimising any risk to their well-being.  Guardians and Hosts should consider their computer safeguard settings to ensure that hosted children cannot access inappropriate material on the internet.  See internet safety  guidelines on Appendix 27 of Policies & Procedures.


(Technology is developing rapidly and is often an area of concern for families. Host families should be more aware of these issues, following their EGA Child Protection Training.


2.15 Use of Cars / Transport

EGA expects all host families and Guardians to use appropriate car seats and restraints when transporting children if required (as per Car Seat Safety Regulations). The law requires that all children travelling in the front or rear of any car, van or goods vehicle, must use the correct child care seat until they reach 135cm in height or 12 years old (whichever they reach first).  As most children within the Care of EGA are over 12 years old, this will rarely apply.  However, if ti does the legislation must be followed.  Beyond the height  of 135cm or 12 years old, a child must use an adult seat belt/  Car seat legislation changed in 2017 for backless booster seats.  The use of a backless booster seat, requires a child to be at least 125cm tall or more than 22kg.


Guardians and Hosts will also need to consider whether any individual driver should travel alone with a specific child and/or where any child should sit in relation to the driver e.g. it may feel unsuitable or uncomfortable for a host father to transport a young girl, depending on how long they have known each other, or cultural differences for example.

For more info:


www.scotland.police.uk/keep-safe/road-safety/children-travelling-in-cars

www.madeformums.com/news-and-gossip/booster-seat-law


2.16 When Host Parents Go Out / Baby-sitting Arrangements

Host families have delegated authority to decide who should baby-sit for them but it is important to choose a responsible adult to maximise care as Guardians and Hosts are ultimately responsible for the child. They must seriously consider who they have to baby-sit when they go out? How will they help them to understand EGA Safeguarding principles in order to keep everyone safe without compromising Confidentiality?  No child under the age of 16 should be left alone whilst in the care of EGA.  Host families should always discuss their babysitting plans in advance with the Guardian.


2.17 Visitors to Host Family Home

Guardians and Hosts should consider who visits their home - adults and children? They must think about how they greet / say goodbye to family and friends and if friends or family sleepover and where will they sleep and how will hosting impact on this? 

Regular visitors and baby sitters (e.g. neighbours, grandparents, aunties, uncles etc.) will have been discussed, negotiated and agreed with Guardians at point of recruitment.  If there is ever any change to that agreement, host families should consult the Guardians for advice.


2.18 

All host families employed by EGA are required to attend Compulsory Child Protection Training.  One Caregiver from the household must attend EGA’s Child Protection Training or NSPCC online course, or any other suitable relevant training as agreed with the Guardians.


2.19

All host family members aged 16 and over, are required to provide a satisfactory PVG or Enhanced Disclosure check.

 

2.20

EGA has a thorough Recruitment Policy which pertains to all individuals who are contractors with EGA (e.g. hosts, admin staff, taxi drivers). 

The policy takes into account the following:


·         References

·         PVG/CRB check

·         Requirement to accept that all post with EGA will be exempt from employment under the   Rehabilitation of Offenders Act, to ensure safety to all children

·         Training

 

See Recruitment Policy Pages 3-4

See Child Protection Policy Pages 13-14


2.21

All host families will be issued with the following policies and will be expected to read and understand them.  All such policies are provided on EGA’s Child Protection course.  Host families who commence employment but have not yet attended the training must familiarise themselves with the policies and consult the Guardians regarding any queries.


2.22

When Host families attend EGA Child Protection Training, they learn about the following policies and are issued with copies:


UN Declaration of the Rights of the Child

Types of Abuse

Appendix – Helping children to protect themselves

Legislation re Child Protection

What should you do when you suspect Child Abuse

Safeguarding Policy

Childcare Code of Conduct

Child Protection Policy

Internet Safety Policy

  • If any parents wish to view Edinburgh Guardian Angel's Child Protection Policy, they can receive a copy by contacting Agnes Masters.
  • If any parents have any cause for complaint about the quality of the services provided by Edinburgh Guardian Angels, they should contact Agnes Masters in the first instance who will forward the Complaints Procedure documents
If a resolution of your complaint cannot be reached with the Guardians, parents may contact:

 

The Care Inspectorate

Compass House

11 Riverside Drive

Dundee

DD1 4NY


Tel:  0345 600 9527

E-mail:  enquiries@careinspectorate.com

                



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