525 Trained since start of 2018 to work in early childhood centres
The Ministry of Education is working to ensure contracted service workers for Department of Education Services (DES) and staff in all Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Centres are trained in Child Protection and have policies, procedures, and practices in place to minimise risk for children.
This year, the Ministry has trained over 525 individuals working in various capacities with children.
Since 23 April 2018, the Ministry has trained over 240 ECCE centre employees.
Initially, the sessions were aimed at owners and managers and focused on content specific to their roles and responsibilities. These trainings were designed to provide the information and assistance needed to develop a comprehensive child protection strategy that involves effective policies, clear procedures for all staff, and child-centred practices that safeguard children while in their care.
From 7 May 2018, training was offered to all ECCE centre employees on how to identify and recognise signs of abuse and neglect. They also explored ways to appropriately respond to children who have been abused or neglected. Additionally, they discussed how to manage when children disclose sensitive information. The training also outlined the mandatory requirement to report and the type of procedures that need to be in place for facilitating reporting.
However, the Ministry is not only working on training ECCE centre employees, in collaboration with DES, they also started training personnel contracted to provide services in all government schools, such as bus drivers, bus wardens, security guards, canteen workers, etc. The training was also extended to companies that provide technicians, landscapers, and any other staff that deliver services in schools over an extended period of time.
Inspector Kevin Ashworth from the RCIPS lent his time to each session to share information regarding the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) Unit, proper reporting procedures, and what happens after a report is made. He answered questions which the participants had, and was able to help impart to those in the trainings how important it is for them be vigilant and informed on this topic in order to help protect the children they serve.
“As Minister for Education, Youth, and Sports, it is vital for me, that our children are learning, playing and competing in safe spaces with adults who have their best interest at heart,” Hon. Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, Minister for Education, Youth, Sports, Agriculture, & Lands expressed in her support for the trainings. “The effects of child abuse are long-lasting and have a negative domino-effect on a child’s life from increasing their risk of illness to reducing their long-term quality of life. Everyone must learn how to work together to create happy and safe environments where our children can thrive.”
The Ministry will continue to focus its efforts to reduce child abuse and neglect through the education of all people who come in contact with children on a regular basis in educational institutions. Every person who works with children should know what the mandated reporting requirements are for our country, the red flags for abuse/neglect, the policies for Education, the role they play on the child protection team and what the available resources are for the child and his/her family.