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CHILD SAFEGUARDING STATEMENT FOR HELPLINK SUPPORT SERVICES

NAME OF SERVICE: Helplink Support Services CLG

NATURE OF SERVICE AND PRINCIPLES TO SAFEGUARD CHILDREN FROM HARM:

Helplink provides counselling face to face, by phone and online nationally. We provide an online counselling service for the Irish abroad called Cabhrú.  We provide a range of workshops that take place in primary/post-primary schools, third level institutions, businesses, community organisations and to the public. We also run a Conflict Resolution Centre which provides various forms of mediation. Helplink is committed to best practice which involves the safety and protection of children and from harm. We aim to create a safe environment within which all staff can work with clear guidance around child safety. All our staff are Garda Vetted and have completed the Children’s First E-Learning Training. We have a range of policies and procedures in place to help to ensure child safety, that all staff have been made aware of.

RISK ASSESSMENT:

RISK IDENTIFIED PROCEDURE IN PLACE TO MANAGE RISK
One to One Contact between a Child and Counsellors, Mediators, Volunteers or Admin Staff ·         All our staff are Garda Vetted

·         They have all completed the Children’s First E-Learning Training Module

·         They have all signed a document saying they must agree to follow Helplink’s Policies and Procedures

·         They are aware of Helplink’s ‘Child Safeguarding Statement’ and ‘Children First-Reporting Procedure’

·         Clinical Supervision is provided for all counsellors

·         Two staff training days are provided annually

·         References are checked for all staff before they commence work with Helplink

·         All counsellor’s private supervisors are being contacted to advise them they must report any information that they believe indicates harm to a child to our DLP

During school workshops a pupil could disclose information to a facilitator ·         Any information that is divulged will be reported to the mandated person in the school and the person reporting it will make a joint report

·         Information will be logged anonymously and confidentially in Helplink’s ‘Incident Log Book’

One to One Contact between a Child and a member of the Helplink staff during a school workshop ·         The child will never be left alone with a member of the Helplink team

·         There will be a minimum of 2 adults present at all times

·         If a child requests use of the bathroom, a member of Helplink will find a teacher from the school to take them

·         If a child is taken ill a member of Helplink’s staff will find a staff member to assist the child

·         Helplink personnel will only use the staff bathrooms in the school

·         Personnel will not linger on completion of the workshop

Outside of Helplink Offices or outside of schools, a pupil or client divulges information that indicates harm to a child to a member of staff ·         If the person is a mandated person, they will report the incident to our designated liaison person (DLP) and they will make a joint report, which will be filed with TUSLA

·         If the information is relayed to a non-mandated person they will relay the information to our DLP who will make the report and then file it with TUSLA

·         All schools will be provided with a copy of Helplink’s ‘Child Safeguarding Statement’ before commencement of the workshops

Information may be relayed to a counsellor/therapist during a session that may indicate harm to a child ·         As this individual is a mandated person, they will report the incident to our designated liaison person (DLP) and they will make a joint report, which will be filed with TUSLA

·         The incident will logged anonymously and confidentially in Helplink’s ‘Incident Log Book’

Health risks to any children on the Helplink premises ·         Helplink ensures that any hazardous materials are kept in latched cupboards, which are out of the reach of children

·         The electricity cupboard is secured with a high latch

·         Therapists must ensure that all clients are never left unattended on Helplink premises

Public having access to Helplink premises ·         The front door is kept locked at all times

·         Access to the premises is only allowed via admission by Helplink personnel

·         A notice on the door stating that Helplink ‘Reserves the Right to Refuse Admission’

·         All organisation personnel are trained in Helplink Safety Procedures and dealing with people whose behaviour is unruly

Board members coming into contact with children on Helplink premises ·         All board members are Garda Vetted

·         They have all signed the Helplink ‘Volunteer Contract and Handbook’

·         They have all been requested to take the Children First E-Learning Training Module

·         A board member has been allocated the responsibility for child protection and risk

 

Important Note:  It should be noted that risk in the context of this risk assessment is: the risk of “harm” as defined in the Children First Act 2015. A ‘child’ is as defined in the Child Care Act 1991.

PROCEDURES:

Our Child Safeguarding Statement has been developed in line with requirements under the Children First Act 2015, Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children (2017), and TUSLA’s Child Safeguarding: A Guide for Policy, Procedure and Practice. In addition to the procedures listed in our risk assessment, the following procedures support our intention to safeguard children while they are availing of our service:

  • We have a ‘Complaints Policy’ in place for the management of allegations of abuse or misconduct against workers/volunteers of a child availing of our service
  • All existing staff have been fully Garda Vetted and have signed a document stating that they have agreed to abide by Helplink’s ‘Policies and Procedures’.
  • All staff hired must first have been fully Garda Vetted and they must have signed a document stating that they have agreed to abide by Helplink’s ‘Policies and Procedures’ before starting work with the organisation
  • All staff members have completed the Children’s First E-Learning Training Module. They have been provided with a copy of our ‘Child Safeguarding Statement’ and ‘Children First-Reporting Procedure’
  • All staff must attend one of the twice-yearly staff training days, in which Helplink’s Child Protection Procedures will be gone through in detail.
  • All room renters must sign Helplink’s ‘Policy for Room Rental and they have been provided with a copy of Helplink’s ‘Child Safeguarding Statement’ and Helplink’s ‘Children First-Reporting Procedure’
  • Reporting: Depending on the person’s designation they will be done in the following manner:
  • Mandated Persons: Where they know, believe or have reasonable grounds to suspect, on the basis of information that he or she has received, acquired or becomes aware of in the course of his or her employment or profession as such a mandated person, that a child has been harmed, is being harmed or may be at risk of harm they must report this to our DLP. They will then jointly make out either a Child Protection and Welfare Report Form (CPWRF) or Retrospective Abuse Report Form (RARF) and submit it to TUSLA.
  • Non-Mandated Persons: Where they know, believe or have reasonable grounds to suspect, on the basis of information that he or she has received, acquired or becomes aware of in the course of his or her employment or profession, that a child has been harmed, is being harmed or may be at risk of harm they must report this to our DLP. Our DLP will then make out either a Child Protection and Welfare Report Form (CPWRF) or Retrospective Abuse Report Form (RARF) and submit it to TUSLA.
  • All reporting will be kept strictly confidential and will abide by Helplink’s ‘Code of Practice’ in these matters
  • The company has a record of all mandated and non mandated persons. This list is updated whenever required.
  • The Designated Liaison Person (DLP) is Tamar Scott
  • The Deputy Designated Liaison Person is Denise Gordon

All procedures listed are available upon request.

 IMPLEMENTATION

We recognise that implementation is an on-going process. Our service is committed to the implementation of this Child Safeguarding Statement and the procedures that support our intention to keep children safe from harm while availing of our service.

This Child Safeguarding Statement will be reviewed on 11TH March 2019 or as soon as practicable after there has been a material change in any matter to which the statement refers.

For queries, please contact Admin at helplinksupport@helplink.ie, the Relevant Person under the Children First Act 2015.

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