Role of the Child Welfare Officer:
The main purpose of the role is to assist with the safeguarding and protecting of children and young people in cricket and to implement the ECB Safe Hands Policy and procedures. In doing so, the person undertaking the role of a Child Welfare Officer should have an understanding of child protection and how best practice and use of the Disclosure and Baring Services (DBS) checks can help prevent child abuse.
Duties of a Child Welfare Officer:
- Assist the club to put in place the ECB Safe Hands Policy and procedures
- Assist the club to put in place implementation plans for child protection
- Be the first point of contact for club volunteers, young people and parents for any issue concerning child welfare, poor practice or potential / alleged abuse
- Ensure that all incidents are correctly reported and referred out in accordance the ECB Safe Hands Policy guidance guidelines
- Ensure that all relevant club members and volunteers have a DBS check and the opportunity to access appropriate child protection training
- Ensure that ECB Safe Hands Policy procedures for recruitment of volunteers are followed
- Ensure all appropriate volunteers have up to date Disclosure and Baring Services check and keep accurate records of their certificate number and date of issue of the certificate
- Be aware of and have a note of contact details of the local Social Services, the Police and the YCB County Child Welfare Officer
- Ensure that codes of conduct are in place for club volunteers, coaches, players and parents
- Sit on the Club Management Committee to advise on child protection issues or be in attendance as necessary
- Ensure confidentiality is maintained and information is only shared on a ‘need to know’ basis.
Skills and Qualities Required:
- To have an understanding of child protection
- To have an understanding of how best practice and the use of criminal records checks can help prevent child abuse
- To be a good communicator, be approachable and be clear and concise
- To be a good listener with an empathy for young people
- To respect confidentiality and be tactful and discreet
- Safeguarding Children course
- Safe Hands course
Tools for the role:
The following are deemed to be essential items for a Child Welfare Officer to have in order to do their role:
- Use of a computer and email address to produce letters, emails, reports and to store and record information
- Filing system to record all correspondence
- Notebook to record information
- Annual diary
- Club headed stationary
- Telephone with access to an answer phone facility
- Safe Hands cricket’s policy for safeguarding children book
Purpose of a Child Protection Policy for the club:
The purpose of a child protection policy is to promote and ensure the well being of children and young people taking part in the club’s activities. The policy should also ensure that all those responsible for the welfare of children and young people:
- Understand their safeguarding role and responsibilities
- Are suitably recruited, selected and trained to fulfil their role
- Understand the procedures for responding to concerns about children’s welfare
- Are able to act on these appropriately and effectively
The Safe Hands policy document provides guidance on the development of a club policy for child protection.
Top tips for a Club Child Welfare Officer:
1. Set up a system to ensure all persons who have significant contact with children within the club complete a DBS check. This can be done with new volunteers when they join the club or through you requesting all appropriate club personnel to complete a DBS check. Keep your own register of people that have completed a DBS check.
2. Be knowledgeable and clear about how to make a referral. A referral would be to the YCB County Child Welfare Officer or directly to the Police or Social Services in an emergency. You can do this by accessing appropriate training for the role and following the guidance in the Safe Hands Policy. All referrals to the Police or Social Services must be copied to the YCB County Child Welfare Officer.
3. Promote the club child protection policy at the club. Some clubs have included this policy information within club handbooks, on the website or distribute copies to all new members joining the club.
4. Be approachable. Make yourself known to members of the club and ensure all members are aware that you are available to advise any person in the club who has a concern of a child protection nature. Clubs have done this through providing photos and contact details of a Club Child Welfare Officer on websites and Notice Boards, so members know who to approach. Similarly, having a presence at training sessions, competitions and events on a regular basis helps too.
5. Promote best practice. Club Child Welfare Officers have done this through:
- Providing information sheets or briefing sessions to coaches and volunteers
- Contributing to codes of conduct for players, volunteers and parents to share and promote best practice
- Arrange training courses for volunteers
- Raising awareness at committee meetings
- Ensuring any questions or issues arising from poor practice are referred to the club committee for action
6. Raise awareness of child protection at the highest levels within the club. Ideally, Club Child Welfare Officers should sit on the management committee and ensure child protection matters are raised, monitored and reviewed. You are also then in a great position to advise the club committee on actions and issues relating to child protection in general committee discussions and ensure confidentiality is maintained at all times by all members of the committee over issues of a child protection nature.
7. Review your club protection policy. This should be every three years and should ideally fall in line with timescales of reviewing the clubs development plan and other policies.
Education and Training on Child Protection:
There are training opportunities available for all those who have direct contact with children in the club and any others who wish to do it. The course to attend is the Safeguarding Children course, the aims of the course are:
- Protect yourself, the young people you are coaching and your employer by understanding and following good coaching practice
- Learn about child abuse and how to handle situations if you have concerns
- Identify sport situations and coaching practise that might constitute either poor practice or possible abuse
- Identify ways of dealing with your own feelings about child abuse and state what constitutes neglect, physical, sexual and emotional abuse
- Recognise the signs and symptoms of abuse and appreciate why reporting it is often so difficult
- Identify appropriate action if a child discloses he / she has been abused
- Identify appropriate action if abuse is suspected and explain the role and responsibilities of other experts (e.g. Police or Social Services)
- Describe appropriate practice that reduces the likelihood of abuse occurring