It is our policy to ensure that a safe and secure environment is provided for all children in our care. Child Protection, the department of Health and Children’s Guidelines on protecting children from abuse place a duty on childcare providers to protect the children in their care.

Staff are kept up to date on current child protection procedures. It is our policy to report any suspicious signs of physical, emotional and/or sexual abuse or neglect to the health board. If any situations arise which alerts our suspicions we will document and diary any conversations or occurrences regarding the particular situation and follow up as required. Parents are kept informed and confidentiality is maintained at all times.

To ensure the safe and secure environment, steps must be taken to avoid the possibility of abuse in the crèche:

  • The appropriate recruitment policy has to be in place, which will assure that only suitable, qualified and experienced staff members will be looking after children in our care
  • Every staff member has to be garda vetted
  • There is always a minimum of 2 staff members left in the crèche even if there is only one child on the premises
  • The manager will supervise all staff members and take immediate action if any suspicious situations arise.
  • All staff members have to sign a child protection policy statement (see attachments)
  • At least one person will receive training in Protection First
  • All staff members will be required to participate in ongoing training to set the standards and understand the ethics of the nursery.
  • All staff members will be introduced to policies and procedures of Once Upon A Time and will go through an induction period before they can be in charge on their own.
  • References will be checked before a new staff member starts working in the nursery.
  • The data protection policy and confidentiality policy will be in place.
  • All staff members will sign a standard Declaration form for all staff and volunteers working with children and young people (see attachments)

The Child Protection Officer at Once Upon A Time has the ultimate responsibility for ensuring that the child protection and welfare policy of the nursery is promoted and implemented. A Deputy Child Protection Officer will take over the responsibilities of the Child Protection Officer if they are unavailable for a significant amount of time.

The role of the Child Protection Officer involves the following duties:

  • 1. To be familiar with “Children First”, National Guidelines for the Protection and Welfare of Children and “Our Duty to Care”, the principles of good practice for the protection of children and to have responsibility for the implementation and monitoring of the child protection and welfare policy of Once Upon A Time.
  • 2. To receive reports of alleged/suspected or actual child abuse and act on these in accordance with the guidelines.
  • 3. To ensure that training is provided for all new and existing staff members on the child protection policy.
  • 4. To build a working relationship with the Health Service Executive (HSE), An Garda Síochána and other agencies, as appropriate;
  • 5. To ensure that supports are put in place for the employees in cases of allegations being made;
  • 6. To review the once upon a time policy and procedures on child protection on an annual basis and amend as appropriate;
  • 7. To ensure that systems are in place for recording and retaining all relevant documentation in relation to child protection issues.