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We believe that children and young people deserve the very best start in life, and to encourage this, we work with parents and the community in ensuring the rights and safety of all children, young people and vulnerable adults. Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility.
MumsAid and YoungMumsAid (YMA) operate in accordance with the Ethical Framework defined by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.
Counsellors and psychotherapists have safeguarding responsibilities towards both mothers and their children, including the unborn child, as do other frontline staff such as the YoungMumsAid Manager, and advocacy and link workers. Many of the young mothers supported by YMA will be considered children themselves (if under 18).
Respond appropriately to suspicions of abuse
Under the Children’s Act 1989, updated 2004, all staff have a responsibility for identifying, referring and supporting children and vulnerable adults at risk of abuse. We acknowledge that abuse can take different forms, including Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), emotional, sexual and physical abuse, and neglect. Other forms of abuse could include radicalisation and trafficking.
The World Health Organisation defines Child Abuse in terms of four main categories:
provide basic physical, healthcare, supervisory, nutritional, emotional, educational and /or safe-housing needs.
The role of the designated person/s
There are three designated people responsible for safeguarding within MumsAid and YoungMumsAid:
The designated people have the following responsibilities:
Identification and support of children who may have suffered abuse
There are three key areas in which staff and volunteers may be involved in safeguarding:
If a mother being supported by MumsAid or YMA is involved in a child protection process, a counsellor/psychotherapist may be asked to provide information about their involvement with the mother to assist in assessment. The policy regarding information requests from social services is detailed in the subsequent section on ‘Sharing information’ in Appendix B. Clinical supervision must be used to consider the appropriate response to an information request.
Provision of counselling/psychotherapy may become part of a child protection plan, to support a family and promote the wellbeing of a child. The counsellor/psychotherapist may be withdrawn if the child protection system becomes too complex.
Procedures for allegations or complaints against staff and volunteers
The welfare of mothers and their children, including the unborn child, should be the primary concern throughout all our work. All staff and volunteers working directly with families will:
All staff and volunteers will receive up-to-date training in the identification and support of children and vulnerable adults who may have suffered abuse. The designated people for safeguarding— Miriam Donaghy, Ann Marshall and Maggie Carney—will receive training to enable them to meet the responsibilities of the role.
We recognise that children and vulnerable adults cannot be protected in an environment where staff and volunteers fail to raise concerns. All staff and volunteers will be made aware of their duty to raise concerns where they exist about the attitudes or actions of colleagues.
All frontline staff operating within MumsAid/YMA, including counsellors and psychotherapists, are bound by the following safeguarding policies and procedures:
All staff are required to turn off mobile phones when working with mothers.
Photographs can only be taken with a mother’s consent. The reason for taking photographs will be fully explained to mothers. MumsAid/YMA will only use photographs for the website, marketing and awareness-raising purposes, and in rare occasions to meet monitoring expectations. Mothers will be required to give written consent that they understand how the photographs will be used and agree to photographs being taken. All photographs will be taken on mobile phones and deleted after the photograph has been used for one of the purposes stated above.
Appendix A Contact details
If you have any concerns and need to speak to a member of staff at MumsAid please contact:
Important telephone numbers
IN AN EMERGENCY, DIAL 999.
Contact details for Royal Borough of Greenwich MASH Team:
The MASH operates Monday-Thursday: 9.00am-5.30pm; Friday: 9.00am-4.30pm
Referral information to provide includes:
o Details of an incident and/or other concerns and the source of that information o Names and dates of birth of child/children
o Family address
o Names of those with parental responsibility for the children o Anyone else involved in the care of the children
o GP and health visitor
o Schools attended by older children
o Any known movements regarding the family (e.g. working hours) o How referrer can be contacted
The lack of any of this information will not stop a referral from being made.
Other useful numbers:
MumsAid related policies and procedures Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of mothers
In order to respect the mothers with whom MumsAid/YMA works, and to reduce the likelihood of abuse taking place, all frontline staff must:
Where it is considered necessary for the welfare and protection of a mother, information will be shared with the appropriate authority/agency.
Protecting mothers from significant harm is a shared responsibility. In order to fulfill our responsibility in promoting the welfare and safety of mothers, frontline staff will maintain effective partnerships with other appropriate organisations.
Safeguarding and child protection policy and procedure
Where there are concerns for the welfare of children, including the unborn, frontline staff will support and encourage mothers to seek additional support from relevant agencies to meet those needs by:
MumsAid/YMA has no statutory remit or role to investigate child abuse. However, the welfare of the child is paramount, therefore MumsAid/YMA does have a responsibility to share information with the appropriate agency.
The Government provides the following guidance on sharing information:
The Seven Golden Rules to Sharing Information (Information Sharing, updated July 2018 www.gov.uk).
Requests to participate in child protection proceedings
Social services staff may contact MumsAid/YMA to request a counsellor or psychotherapist attend or contribute a report to a Child Protection (CP) conference being held; to comment on their work with a mother whose baby is deemed to be at risk. Careful consideration is required in how to respond to such requests; to meet both our safeguarding responsibilities towards children involved and the need to protect client confidentiality.
As MumsAid is a small organisation with limited human resources, we are not always able to attend CP conferences. We can comment on client attendance and engagement, and will provide reports, subject to client consent and with sufficient notice.
Responding to concerns
In line with MumsAid’s policy on confidentiality, counsellors/psychotherapists (or other frontline staff) should seek to discuss any concerns with the mother, providing this would not place the child at greater risk. Where possible and appropriate, the mother’s agreement will be sought before making any referral to Children’s Services and/or other agencies as part of an assessment to secure further support services. Lack of consent is not a barrier to taking action in response to safeguarding concerns.
Any concerns about the safety of a child or mother must always be shared. Discuss any safeguarding concerns in the first instance with the MumsAid designated person/s.
In an emergency
If a child is potentially seriously injured, the priority is to ensure that the child receives medical attention as soon as possible. If it is thought that a crime has been committed, a child is alone or at immediate risk, the police should be contacted without delay.
Referring on concerns to the relevant agency
Children’s Services social workers, the police and the NSPCC all have specific powers to intervene when there are concerns about significant harm. If it is considered appropriate to pass on a concern about a mother, baby or child, then a referral will be made in the first instance to the Royal Borough of Greenwich social worker involved with the family. A social worker should always be spoken to directly on the day of referral.
If you make a referral by telephone, you must confirm it in writing within 48 hours. Children’s Services should acknowledge your written referral within one working day.
If there is no social worker involved with the family, or the social worker is unavailable, then a referral will be made to Greenwich MASH (Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub). Concerns can be discussed prior to making a referral, by calling the consultation line. The anonymity of a client can be preserved at this pre-referral stage.
Policy updated: 16th March 2023
Review date: 15th March 2024
(full PDF version signed please contact office)