The purpose and scope of this policy statement
We are a "Not for Profit" peer-to-peer community childcare and virtual education service, aimed at preparing the country to get back to work as the peak of CoronaVirus passes and the current lockdown is released.
The purpose of this policy statement is:
- to protect children and young people who receive Childcare Connects’s services from harm. This includes the children of adults who use our services
- to provide staff and volunteers, as well as children and young people and their families, with the overarching principles that guide our approach to child protection.
This policy applies to anyone working on behalf of Childcare Connect, including senior managers and Board of Trustees
Childcare Connect cannot personally check the details of every member that registers with us and we remind members that they must be cautious about visiting parents in their homes or inviting strangers to visit them before background and other checks have been completed because of the potential safeguarding risks.
Make sure you always complete your Reference and Review checks
Online safety needs to be taken very seriously. We recommend that members are cautious about how much personal and family information they share in their profiles as any information on our platform is available for the public to view.
Please take the time to read the information below as this details what Childcare Connect does to ensure our service is safe and secure as well as guide members on what to do to stay safe and protect themselves.
Members create a private profile detailing their childcare requirements or childcare services. The information we request has specifically been designed to ensure maximum safety and security. In particular we do not show the full real names of members on our platform until a member is registered and logged in.
For safety reasons we advise members to include their full name so that they can be identified when checking their details. We recommend that members' profiles do not include non-mandatory information ie childrens names or ages. We recommend that members do not upload photos containing children for child protection reasons.
Pre publishing profile checks
A member of our team checks all profiles before publishing them on our platform to make sure they are appropriate and do not contain offensive or inappropriate language. This might cause a short delay if we are particularly busy, but we feel it is worth the extra time to ensure that the content is suitable. This includes each time a profile is edited.
We use proprietary technology to monitor our platform 24 hours a day in order to help detect suspicious activity. This involves a range of both automated and manual security checks. Our systems automatically alert our security team about suspicious activity flagged for further investigation. A temporary suspension may be placed on an account whilst an investigation is being carried out. If we cannot be satisfied that a user is genuine then accounts may be permanently suspended. We maintain blacklists based upon historical activity in order to prevent banned members registering in the future.
As a member, if you are concerned that a child is suffering or at risk of suffering significant harm you must report using our Reporting concerns
Childcare Connect has a zero tolerance policy on abusive or inappropriate use of our platform. We will permanently suspend without warning any member found to be acting in an inappropriate or abusive manner.
Safe & Secure Messaging
We are currently in the process of developing a secure messaging system.
The overall aim is to develop a safe and secure messaging system that enables all our members to communicate with each other until you feel safe to communicate outside our platform. Communicating via our messaging system will mean that you do not have to disclose any personal details such as your full name or email address to other parties.
During this development stage if any members would like to message another member in a safe secure manner you can report to a member of the Childcare Connect team at email@example.com
Additional to this, if a member receives any inappropriate messages or messages that require further investigation, please contact a member of our team on the admin email above.
Secure Document Validation and Sharing
All leaders, childcarers and students MUST obtain a DBS check, link on how to obtain one is found here.
Members must upload their DBS checks, registration certificates, identity documents, qualifications, references and full CV to our secure document repository.
These documents will be manually validated by one of our team to ensure it appears to be genuine and the details contained within the document are compared with the details we hold on file for the provider. If the details match then the document is approved and members' profiles will show details of the approved documents that we hold on file for them.
Although Childcare Connect will check all required documentation, it is the parents responsibility to perform their own due Diligence on the members DBS checks/certificates.
Childcare Provider Reviews
We are currently in the process of developing a review platform.
This development will allow Parent members to leave public reviews for childcare providers and the provider will have the facility to respond. This will promote safety as it will allow parents a voice if they have concerns about a care provider, while at the same time ensuring good practice is shared and high quality working practices celebrated.
All reviews will be approved by a member of our team before they appear on our platform. Many parents prefer the reassurance of using a childcare member who has received multiple positive reviews.
During the development of the Review platform, If you've had a good, or bad, experience of a childcare member then please take the time to send a childcare provider review to our team at firstname.lastname@example.org
. We will retain this information and ensure this is shared once the Review platform has been launched. This information will help to reassure other parents.
Interviews (Virtual/Face to face)
We highly recommend that parents and leaders should always conduct either virtual or face to face interviews with a childcare member before using their services.
Ensure you review all items on the Childcare checklist
before making your decision. Childcare members should never accept a job from anyone they have not met in person.
Please see Virtual Interview Tips
here, this gives ideas on what tech platform to use, environment and what questions to ask. The questions could be used for both a virtual or face to face interview.
Safeguarding Disabled Children
It is important that all children are kept safe and secure at all times. Due to disabled children being particularly vulnerable, if you require more information with regards to the safeguarding of Disabled children please follow the NSPCC link to Safeguarding children with special educational needs and disabilities
(for guidance and support.
When meeting for the first time we strongly recommend that both parties meet in a safe public place such as a coffee shop. Always tell someone else when and where you are going to meet.
Payments sent or received to/from other Members
Please ensure you never accept payments from any member you have not met in person. Similarly, you should never send money to any person you have not met in person.
Protecting Yourself From Scams
Please be aware of scams, some scammers target childcarers by offering money up front to care for a child 'not currently in the country' or 'travelling from abroad shortly'.
If a job offer seems suspicious, fees seem ‘too good to be true’ or if advance payment is offered without checks having been completed, we advise all members to be vigilant.
Secure Server Hosting
We use state of the art secure server hosting facilities located in multiple locations throughout Europe.
Encryption technology, anti-virus protection, firewalls and other appropriate security systems are in place to help us ensure our member information remains safe and secure.
Members Checks and Other Research
Alongside all these precautions we strongly recommend that all parents who use our site take responsibility for carrying out their own thorough checks on childcare members before leaving them with their children, refer to the Childcarers Checklist.
Please remember that Childcare Connect cannot verify DBS / PVG disclosures, references, qualifications, insurance, registration and other details for each of them.
Similarly, we remind childcare members that they should carry out their own checks on parents and their families before inviting them into their home and always inform a friend of where you are going and how long you are likely to be if they have arranged an interview outside the home.
The NSPCC have some useful advice about leaving children alone at home and tips for choosing the right babysitter on their website. They say, there's nothing quite like a parent’s intuition. If you’ve got any doubts at all about a possible babysitter then it’s always best to find someone else.
In Scotland you can report any concerns about a registered childcare provider to the Care Inspectorate
or by calling 0345 600 9527.