The Woodlands Trust (the Trust) delivers problem gambling education and treatment to adult clients, usually in group settings. While the Trust does not deal directly with children, it does provide services to adults who may be living with children or to adults whose problem gambling may directly affect the safety or well-being of children.
It accepts its responsibility under the legislation for engaging in safe employment practices and playing a role in the prevention and identification of child abuse and neglect.
This policy outlines the Trust’s commitment to child protection.
- All staff will be familiar with this policy and abide by it irrespective of whether child abuse or neglect is suspected or identified and regardless of whether the child is a client of the organisation.
- This policy outlines the Trust’s protocols for responding when child abuse/neglect is reported or suspected.
- This policy states the Trusts commitment to providing education to its clients to help them understand, identify and/or prevent child abuse or neglect.
- The Trust supports the roles of the New Zealand Police and Child, Youth and Family in the investigation of suspected abuse and will report suspected/alleged abuse to these agencies.
- The Woodlands Trust supports families to protect their children.
- The Woodlands Trust models and provides a safe environment, free from physical, emotional, verbal or sexual abuse.
- The purpose of this policy is to protect the safety and promote the wellbeing of children and young persons under 17 years who are associated with adults who deliver services in the name of the Trust or with adults who receive services delivered by the Trust.
- The rights, welfare and safety of children and young persons are paramount.
- Services will contribute to the nurturing and protection of children and advocate for them.
- Adults who are receiving services delivered by the Trust will participate in an education unit which will give them competence in identifying and managing actual or potential abuse and or/neglect caused by their problem gambling or other issues in their lives and empower them to keep their children safe.
- The Trust recognises the right of family/whanau to participate in decision-making about their children.
- The Trust is committed to ensuring that all staff can identify the signs and symptoms of potential abuse and neglect and know how to respond.
- The Trust is committed to supporting all staff to work in accordance with this policy, and to work with the Ministry of Health to ensure child protection policies are consistent and of high quality.
- The Trust undertakes to comply with relevant legislative responsibilities.
- All staff will share information in a timely way and discuss any concerns about an individual child with the Child Protection Coordinator.
- Child abuse is a broad term which includes physical, emotional and sexual abuse and neglect. This abuse or neglect is caused by a deliberate act or omission by another person, usually an adult, and has the potential to cause serious harm to a child.
Prevention of possible abuse or neglect
- All workshops run by the Trust will include an education component. This will empower clients to identify and/or manage the stressors and issues associated with problem gambling that have potential to endanger the safety of any children or young persons in their care.
Identifying possible abuse or neglect
- Download: “Working together to keep children and young people safe” a resource for helping people recognise when families are vulnerable and how they can help, through to spotting the signs of abuse, who to talk to, how to report their concerns, and what happens when a report of concern comes through to Child, Youth and Family.
- All staff are expected to be familiar with the various indicators of different types of abuse that can be found here.
- All staff will be made aware of their responsibilities under this policy.
Responding to suspected abuse or neglect
- See the ‘Child Abuse Reporting Process’ flowchart (Appendix A)
- All suspicions or reports of incidents will be reported to and discussed with the Child Protection Coordinator as soon as possible.
- S/he will make a written report of the incident.
- If there is clear evidence or reasonable cause to believe an instance of child abuse has taken place, the Child Abuse Coordinator will immediately take steps to protect the child and may notify Child, Youth and Family.
- In many cases however, the involvement of statutory agencies would be inappropriate and potentially harmful to families. In these situations, the Trust will refer the family to an appropriate statutory or non-statutory agency which can provide supportive services to the family and respond to the needs of the vulnerable children in their care in a manner proportionate to the level of need and risk.
Allegations or concerns about staff
- When a staff member is suspected, the same processes apply.
- If there is a need to pursue an allegation as an employer, the Child Protection Coordinator will consult with Child, Youth and Family or the Police before advising the person concerned and informing them that they have a right to seek legal advice. The child protection coordinator will provide the staff member with an opportunity to respond.
- The staff member should also be informed of their right to seek support from the relevant union/representative body. It is vital to follow ordinary disciplinary policies, guided by the employment contract/collective employment contract and relevant statutory obligations.
- The Trust commits to not using ‘settlement agreements’ where these are contrary to a culture of child protection. Some settlement agreements allow a member of staff to agree to resign provided that no disciplinary action is taken, and a future reference is agreed. Where the conduct at issue concerns the safety or wellbeing of a child, use of such agreements is contrary to a culture of child protection.
Confidentiality and information sharing
- The Privacy Act 1993 and the Children, Young Persons, and their Families(CYPF) Act 1989 allow information to be shared to keep children safe when abuse or suspected abuse is reported or investigated.
- Under Sections 15 and 16 of the CYPF Act, any person who believes that a child has been, or is likely to be, harmed physically, emotionally or sexually or ill-treated, abused, neglected or deprived may report the matter to Child, Youth and Family or the Police and, provided the report is made in good faith, no civil, criminal or disciplinary proceedings may be brought against them.
Recruitment and employment
- Safety-checking will be carried out in accordance with the Vulnerable Children’s Act 2014. This will include a police check, identity verification, references and an interview. A work history will be sought and previous employers will be contacted. If there is any suspicion that an applicant might pose a risk to a child that applicant will not be employed.
Appointment of Child Protection Coordinator
The Trust will appoint a Child Protection Coordinator whose responsibilities will include:
- Reviewing the Child Protection Policy and procedures as required
- Co-ordinating the Trust’s response to child abuse and neglect
- Developing a training plan and ensure training of staff is available cyclically
- Developing an education unit relating to the identification and prevention of child abuse or neglect
- Ensuring documentation tools are in place and accessible to staff for the recording of care and protection concerns
- Ensuring regular audits of child protection practice occur
- Accessing and providing resources required to support the programme and make these available for staff and clients
- Providing support and advice to staff regarding child abuse and neglect
Training, supervision and support
- Training, resources and/or advice will be available to all staff as part of the initial staff induction programme.
- Staff will attend initial training, refresher training and regular updates to ensure that they can carry out their roles in terms of this policy.
This training will ensure that staff:
- Are conversant with the Trust’s Child Protection Policy
- Understand and comply with legal obligations in regard to child abuse
- Understand statutory referral processes and management of identified or suspected child abuse and neglect
- Understand child abuse and the indicators of child abuse
- Understand how to minimise the risk of child abuse
- Understand the need to seek advice when child abuse or neglect is suspected
- Understand how to deliver the education unit relating to the identification and prevention of child abuse or neglect
- This policy will be reviewed at least every three years
Appendix A : Signs of Abuse and Neglect