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9.20 Child Protection Guidelines

For all up to date information go to the Berkshire LSCB Child Protection Procedures.

This chapter was added to the manual in July 2014.


Contents

  1. Response to a Child Protection Incident or Allegation
  2. A Child / Young Person Making an Allegation
  3. Incidents of Abuse Between Children / Young People
  4. Observations of a Significant / Unusual Bruise or Other Marking on a Child / Young Person
  5. A Child / Young Person Presenting as Unduly Distressed or Anxious
  6. Concerns About a Child / Young Person's Presentation
  7. Medical Conditions / Concerns
  8. Incident that a Staff Member Witnesses a Colleague / Other Professional Carrying out Against a Child / Young Person

    Appendix 1: Flowchart for Child Protection Concerns at Breakaway


1. Response to a Child Protection Incident or Allegation

An ‘incident’ or ‘allegation’ can include:

  • A child / young person (C / YP) making an allegation of any form of abuse;
  • A C / YP being observed to have a significant bruise giving cause for concern, either on arrival at the unit or sustained during their stay;
  • A C / YP presenting as unduly distressed or anxious, including behaviour that is unusual;
  • Concerns about a C / YP’s physical presentation i.e. cleanliness, clothing;
  • Medical conditions / concerns – including seizures, accidents;
  • Incidents or abuse between C / YP’s against one another;
  • Incident against a C / YP that a staff member witnesses involving colleague / other professional.

N.B. This list is not exclusive.


2. A Child / Young Person Making an Allegation

If a child / young person (C / YP) on a short break makes an allegation either against a member of staff, a parent / carer or other, the following steps must be taken:

  1. Listen to the C / YP but do not interview them or ask any direct / leading questions;
  2. Ensure that the information given by the C / YP is accurately and thoroughly recorded, adhering to required recording procedures of Breakaway;
  3. Inform the Manager / Assistant Manager on duty immediately. If there is no Manager / Assistant Manager on duty, inform the Manager / Head of Service telephone numbers in Business Continuity Procedure. Should this be unsuccessful contact the Emergency Duty Team, recording the information given, who you spoke to and the agreed actions on the EDT sheet in the Out of Hours folder and also on ICS;
  4. Inform the C / YP’s Social Worker immediately. If the allocated Social Worker is unavailable, speak with their Line Manager. Out of hours the Emergency Duty Team must be contacted. REPORTING AN ALLEGATION CANNOT BE DELAYED;
  5. Do not discuss the details of the allegation with any other persons, unless it is in the interests of the C / YP’s safety or well-being to do so (for example, if staff need to be aware that the C / YP may be presenting with challenging or distressed behaviour, on a need to know basis only).

The Social Worker will liaise with appropriate professionals in relation to convening a strategy meeting and undertaking a Section 47 Child Protection inquiry as appropriate. You must adhere to advice given by the Social Worker and continue to ensure that all information is fully recorded.


3. Incidents or Abuse Between Children / Young People

If there is an allegation by a child / young person (C / YP) against another child / young person of any form of abuse or concern about this in relation to C / YP’s who cannot communicate verbally, the guidelines 1 – 5 must be followed.

If there are any physical incidents between C / YP’s the following must be followed:

  • Breakaway Incident form must be completed and sent to the designated staff at Breakaway who will forward to the C / YP’s Social Worker as soon as possible;
  • Parents / Carers of all C / YP’s involved must be informed;
  • The Manager and the Assistant Manager must be informed;
  • In consultation with Senior Management and parents a decision must be taken about the safety of the C / YP. Including whether C / YP should / can be returned home and if there needs to be further interventions.


4. Observations of a Significant / Unusual Bruise or Other Markings on a Child / Young Person

A ‘significant’ bruise is one that is in an unexpected or unusual place on the child / young person’s (C / YP) body. An ‘unusual’ bruise could be a bruise in a place you would expect but not how you would expect it to look. All significant and unusual bruises must be recorded on a body chart. A significant or unusual bruise must be reported to the shift leader and management. If there is no management in the building call one of the management in the Business Continuity Procedure. The person receiving the call must be provided with:

  • The size of the bruise, at what time and how it was observed, whether it appears old or new and if the C / YP appears to be in any discomfort or pain.

If management cannot be contacted the Emergency Duty Team must be contacted.

All details must be thoroughly and accurately recorded on ICS, including the above information.

The person called must be clear if they need to:

  • Attend the unit to observe the bruise (most likely if significant bruising);
  • Inform the Social Worker and / or Emergency Duty Team (if not already called) dependent on the hours, including if there needs to be a medical examination;
  • When parents should be informed, by whom and what follow up is likely.

At all times, it must be considered, whether or not there may need to be a Section 47 inquiry, medical examination or police involvement. NO ASSUMPTIONS CAN BE MADE.


5. A Child / Young Person Presenting as Unduly Distressed or Anxious

How a child / young person (C / YP) presents, both physically and emotionally, must be recorded as a matter of course, this must be clear and thorough.

Some C / YP’s cannot communicate verbally and are therefore unable to explain to those caring for them how they are feeling or what may have happened to them. However, observations of C / YP’s should note consistencies or differences in C / YP’s behaviour and know ways that those C / YP’s express themselves, may raise concern about their emotional state.

All such observations must be recorded and the information passed on to the C / YP’s Social Worker.

Parents must also be informed. 


6. Concerns About a Child / Young Person’s Presentation

If a child / young person (C / YP) comes to stay at Breakaway and is inappropriately dressed / unkempt, the information must be recorded. This should be factual, clear, analytical information – not judgements or assumptions about a C / YP or their family. The C / YP’s Social Worker must be informed of any genuine concerns about presentation that raise concern about the C / YP’s care.

This does not present an immediate safety issue and does not require emergency action.


7. Medical Conditions / Concerns

If a child / young person (C / YP) has any medical or health difficulties whilst staying at Breakaway:

  • Parents / Carers must be informed immediately;
  • The Manager / Assistant Manager must be informed immediately;
  • Recording must be accurate;
  • Appropriate medical assistance must be sought.

Concerns about recurring medical conditions must be reported to the C / YP’s Social Worker and fully recorded on ICS.


8. Incident that a Staff Member Witnesses a Colleague / Other Professional Carrying out Against a Child / Young Person

  • Inform the Manager / Assistant Manager and LADO immediately who will instruct you as to the next course of action;
  • Out of hours call management as in Business Continuity Procedure, if unable to contact them contact EDT;
  • Recording must be accurate and detailed.


Appendix 1: Flowchart for Child Protection Concerns at Breakaway

Click here to view Appendix 1: Flowchart for Child Protection Concerns at Breakaway.

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