Guidelines for the Protection of Children in Early Childhood Services
An Comchoiste Réamhscolaíochta Teo
Barnardos, An Comchoiste Réamhscolaíochta Teo, NCRC, Childminding Ireland, IPPA & NCNA. (2000). Guidelines for the Protection of Children in Early Childhood Services. https://knowledge.barnardos.ie/handle/20.500.13085/939
In recent years, as a society, we have become more aware of the reality of child abuse and its impact on children. Consequently, there is a growing awareness of our shared responsibility to protect children and promote their welfare. In particular, individuals and organisations who provide childcare services recognise the need to understand the issue and to know how to respond effectively to it. New national guidelines entitled Children First: National Guidelines for the Protection and Welfare of Children were published in 1999. These guidelines are intended to assist people in identifying and reporting child abuse and to improve professional practice in statutory, voluntary, community and private childcare services. Promoting and safeguarding the welfare of children, however, goes beyond the development of policies, procedures and guidelines. Child protection should promote the overall welfare and development of the child, contributing to the growth of self-esteem and personal autonomy of each child. This is achieved through creating an environment where trust, respect, equity and in particular, a real willingness to listen to children is established, and where the best interests of the child is the guiding principle. Within a childcare setting, it is the shared responsibility of the owner/manager and staff to ensure that children are kept safe within the service. This is a paramount responsibility. For the manager, this involves ensuring that sensible measures to protect children and those caring for them are put in place and recognised by everyone. Child protection measures should be incorporated when staff are being recruited, in the promotion of an open work environment which is supportive of children and staff, and in the development of policies that have safety and security as core components (i.e. toileting, dressing and rest periods). It also involves equipping staff with the knowledge and skills to respond effectively where there is concern about the welfare of a child. It is not the purpose of this information booklet to deal in a full and comprehensive manner with the complex issues of child abuse and protection. However, it does aim to raise an awareness of these issues and to provide some useful information and advice to people with responsibility for childcare and for those managing and working in a variety of childcare settings. The main aim of Children First: National Guidelines for the Protection and Welfare of Children is to assist people in identifying and reporting child abuse. The guidelines are directed at all individuals and agencies who have contact with children. Society has a duty of care towards children and everyone should be alert to the possibility that children with whom he/she is in contact may be experiencing some form of abuse.