A career in childminding comes with a whole host of responsibilities, and topping this list must be childminder safeguarding responsibilities. Safeguarding is defined in the Oxford dictionary as “protect from harm or damage with an appropriate measure”. As a childminder, your duty is to protect the children from harm and have robust safeguarding policies in place.
Childminders become the voice of children when they cannot speak for themselves. Appropriate safeguarding training must be carried out so that childminders understand their responsibilities. It helps them to be able to identify potential safeguarding issues and path the way for them to deal with them in the appropriate manner.
Our easy to understand guide will outline the basics of creating a safeguarding policy for your childminding business. We’ll also take a look the training requirements around this very important practise.
What is Safeguarding?
Childminders often work alone which means they are solely responsible for each child’s welfare. Childminder safeguarding entails making sure children are out of harm’s way. Childcare settings have knowledge on child protection and hire suitable staff, and everyone knows the signs of possible abuse and neglect.
Safeguarding is also about the childcare itself – making sure it’s suitable and safe at all times. This means having the correct protocols in place for things such as medications, health & safety policy, attendance, risk assessments, and hiring suitable persons. Childminders have the responsibility of keeping children safe at all times but they must also recognise when a child’s environment may not be safe.
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) sets out the following statement:
Safeguarding Training For Childminders
Safeguarding training for childminders is a legal requirement that should be then repeated every few years.
Children are vulnerable and need a reliable adult in their corner who will keep them safe. All children deserve to feel loved and secure and by fulfilling your safeguarding role, you are making sure this is the case.
As childminders mainly work alone, they should be participating in a Level 3 Safeguarding course which is designed for the designated safeguarding leader. This should be completed every few years because regulations evolve over time. Most will take this course as part of the process of setting up a childminding business.
What does a Safeguarding Course Cover?
Child safeguarding courses are generic and cover topics such as:-
- What safeguarding means for childminders and its responsibilities.
- Types of abuse and possible signs.
- How to deal with any safeguarding disclosures or suspicions.
- When to share information with other professionals.
- The importance of having a robust safeguarding policy.
- Example case studies to read and think about.
- The importance of whistleblowing.
- Examples of paperwork to keep such as accident forms and registers.
- How to deal with allegations made against yourself.
Sample Safeguarding Policy
Working alone means you take the designated safeguarding role and so need a robust safeguarding policy in place. This policy should be shared with the parents who use your setting and it should be reviewed annually.
A safeguarding policy will contain some of the information you gained on your course. However, it should be personal to your setting, how you work, and the requirements as set out by your own Local Authority.
You should include all the telephone numbers and addresses you may need and have them listed and checked regularly.
What Should be in a Safeguarding Policy for Childminders?
A safeguarding policy should include:-
- An outline of your understanding of safeguarding and your own responsibilities.
- Your role as the designated safeguarding leader and what this means.
- Any supporting documents you are aware of such as Working Together To Safeguard Children.
- An explanation of why you keep certain records such as attendance, illness, and accidents.
- Details of training you have taken part in to further and refresh your safeguarding knowledge.
- List of all the agencies you may need to liaise with and their contact information.
- A brief outline of your understanding of the different types of abuse.
- Your protocols for reporting suspected abuse.
- Your protocols for dealing with allegations against the setting.
- A paragraph outlining your policy on regards to mobile phones in the setting. This should also include how you deal with photographs you take of the children – eg deleted once they’ve been added to the child’s file.
- A paragraph outlining Prevent Duty and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and how you’ll support children with additional needs.
- Any other information that is required by your local authority.
- Safeguarding Children – Our guide gives a useful overview of child safeguarding legislation and principles.
- Interested in a career caring for kids? Our in depth overview of what you need to do to become a childminder lays it all out!