St. Columbanus Church Ballivor   St. Dympna's Church Kildalkey
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        Adoration Thursday 10.00am - 2.00pm
 
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Parish Child Protection Policy

Parishes of Ballivor & Kildalkey

Safeguarding Children Policies & Procedures

 

Contents of our Parish Policy

1. Valuing our Young Parishioners

2. Our Parish Safeguarding Representatives

3. Good Practice for Working with Children

4. Recruiting and Supporting our Parish Volunteers

5. Developing Safe Practices for Involvement in Parish Activities

6. Responding to Safeguarding Children Concerns

7. Responding to Complaints

8. Parish Record Keeping

9. Audits

1. Valuing our Young Parishioners

Children have a very important place in our parish. We celebrate their faith at

Baptism, First Holy Communion and Confirmation; they are the life and focus of

our parish schools; their energies and initiatives play a vital role in many of our

parish activities. We are always eager to encourage their active participation in

parish life. Towards this end, we are committed to doing everything we can to

create a safe and welcoming environment for our young parishioners, where

their welfare is paramount. It is our parish policy to ensure that our children will

be protected and supported in all activities.

Our parish wants to assist the dedicated parents and volunteers who give generously

of themselves by taking part in child-related parish ministry. Among these activities in

our parish are the following; altar serving, Children’s choir, adult choirs with children,

‘Do this in Memory’ Programme, ‘Out of school’ sacramental preparation, Baptism

Team and young readers.

We realise that valuing young people means valuing volunteers as well;

insisting on safe practices, eliminating the necessity for people to take risks and

providing them with support will make for a healthier and safer gathering. This

parish policy, addressed to parish clergy, lay employees and volunteers, covers

all Church-related activities and circumstances involving people under the age

of eighteen.

Activities involving our parish schools are governed by each school’s child

protection policy, ratified by the Board of Management.

It is important that, from the outset, we make and emphasise the following confidentiality statement in accordance with the guidelines of the civil authorities:

Where safeguarding children concerns arise, information must be shared on a ‘need to know’ basis in the best interest of the child. Sharing information in this regard is not a breach of confidentiality. It is best practice that Parents and children are told if personal information is being shared, unless doing so could put the child at further risk.

2. Our Parish Safeguarding Representatives

Some adults in our parish have undertaken the Keeping Safe child protection

training, which was delivered at Deanery level, in consultation with the Health

Services Executive. Our parish is also committed to making provision for continuing

support and future training for our volunteers in order to keep up to date on best practice

in youth care and ministry.

The Parish Safeguarding Representatives can be contacted through the Parish Office. The Parish Safeguarding Representatives have been selected because they have good listening skills and sufficient knowledge about safeguarding children issues. They are familiar with parish activities and are available to our volunteers and parishioners to help us create an ever more child friendly spirit in our pastoral ministry.

The role of the Parish Safeguarding Representatives is as follows:

-      To raise awareness of safeguarding children measures in the parish.

-       To circulate information on the national guidelines ‘Safeguarding Children’ 1

and other relevant updates.

-       To ensure that activities run within the parish provide for the

safety and well-being of the children and young people taking part.

-       To provide support, assistance and arrange training for parish volunteers

working with children.

-       To ensure that the contact details for the Designated Person are widely

circulated.

-       To report to the Designated Person any concerns, suspicions or allegations for

onward referral to the relevant authorities (see Sections 5 and 6 below).

-       To oversee the implementation of this policy, carrying out an annual review

and reporting to the parish clergy.

 

Ballivor/Kildalkey's Parish Safeguarding Representatives are;

 

Chrisitna O'Neill 086 3635260
Pauline Cogavin 086 0847905
Martina Brown 086 0844576
Mary O'Halloran 087 2851880

 

3. Good Practice for Working with Children

Our parish is fully committed to the guidelines outlined in ‘Children First’ 2 and

‘Our Duty to Care’ 3 and all relevant Church policies on child protection. The

Code of Behaviour at Resource G must be adhered to by all Church personnel.

 

1 Safeguarding Children: Standards and Guidance Document for the Catholic

Church in Ireland. National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic

Church. 2008.

2 Children First: National Guidelines for the Protection and Welfare of Children,

Department of Health and Children.1999.

3 Our Duty to Care: The Principles of Good Practice for the Protection

of Children and Young People, Department of Health and Children 2002.

 

 

4. Recruiting and Supporting our Parish Volunteers

When recruiting and selecting our parish volunteers, we will follow the checklist

set out at Resource B. We will request completion of the Volunteer Application

Form at Resource C and, where appropriate, will use the Volunteer Reference

Form at Resource D.

We will ensure that the Declaration Form at Resource E is completed by the

following people:

-       parish representatives;

-       sacristans;

-       directors of children’s choirs;

-       all volunteers who work with children in Church related activities.

Training will be provided, not only for new recruits but for all volunteers, in order

to maintain standards and good practice. Our Parish Representatives will play a

role in facilitating this support. After a recruit has been ratified, he/she will be informed

of the dates of his/her probationary period.

If a grievance or disciplinary issue arises, we will follow the procedures at Resource H.

 

5. Developing Safe Practices for Involvement in Parish Activities

A guidance document is available for Church personnel on what to do to keep

children safe before, during and after their involvement in Church related

activities. The document is included at Resource J and covers the following

areas:

-       parental and child consent;

-       risk assessment;

-       vetting for events/activities;

-       supervision; knowing the children and the personnel;            

-       ensuring other individuals do not get the opportunity to harm children;

-       health and safety;

-       records of attendance;

-       incident reports.

The form used to obtain consent from parents or guardians prior to children

participating in an activity or event is included as Resource K. This form includes

the code of behaviour for children taking part in Church activities.

 

 

6. Responding to Safeguarding Children Concerns

When concerns are raised about the welfare of any child taking part in parish related

activities, whether suspected or disclosed, these will be brought to the

attention of a Parish Safeguarding Representative or directly to the Designated

Person who will report to the HSE.

These concerns can be in five different categories:

-       neglect;

-       emotional abuse;

-       physical abuse;

-       sexual abuse;

-       bullying

Guidance on how to recognise each is given in the document at Resource L.

All parish clergy, staff and volunteers will be given copies of this guidance document.

If members of our parish disclose concerns to parish staff or volunteers, it is our aim

that they will feel comfortable about voicing the matter in a safe, supportive, understanding

and sensitive environment. The following point is very important: we cannot guarantee

absolute confidentiality under any circumstances to a person who wishes to speak to us

about a situation of abuse or suspected abuse.

We will ensure that the procedure at Resource M is followed in responding

to concerns, suspicions, allegations or disclosures of abuse, and will use the

Safeguarding Children Recording Form at Resource O.

All Church personnel are expected to deal with concerns, suspicions,

allegations or disclosures of abuse by bringing the information either to a

Parish Safeguarding Representative, who will refer the matter to the Designated

Person, or directly to the Designated Person. (This does not apply to situations

involving the Sacramental Seal, which is inviolable).

 

7. Responding to Complaints against Parish Personnel

Any concerns or grievances about how this parish provides for child safety,

supervision and protection will be taken very seriously by our parish and dealt

with appropriately. It is paramount that precedence is given to the care of

children above all other factors. Advice will be sought to ensure fair procedures.

All efforts will be made to deal with these matters with justice for all and within

an appropriate timescale.

Complaints made or a concern raised about a member of Church personnel may be brought to the Designated Person, who will report the matter to the HSE, or to An Garda Síochána, (out of office hours and in case of emergency). The Designated Person will also report the matter to the appropriate Diocesan authority. Further information on the handling of complaints is available from our Parish Safeguarding Representative.

 

8. Parish Record Keeping

Application forms, declaration forms, and all other documentation associated

with recruitment and selection will be stored securely. Access will be restricted

to the Parish Priest, and/or the Parish Representatives, and/or the Designated

Person. Each parish will be responsible for storing in a confidential way, an accurate

record of each activity involving children. This will include: parental consent,

programme/activity details, attendance, incident records, necessary medical

details etc. Data protection rules as outlined in the Data Protection Act 1988 and

as amended by the Data Protection (Amendment) Act 2003 will be adhered to.

Written confidential records of all complaints will be safely and confidentially kept.

9. Audits

We will carry out an annual self-audit of our safeguarding children policy

and procedures. This is an important method of ensuring that a process of

continuous improvement takes place, and of demonstrating accountability and

transparency.

The self-audit will be carried out in accordance with the checklist at Resource S.