At Doncaster Deaf Trust Children’s Homes the welfare and protection of children from abuse is paramount. The registered manager, deputy manager, shift leaders and care workers in Dickson House and the North Flat work closely with ‘Doncaster Safeguarding Children’s Board’ and the local Safeguarding Manager (LADO) in terms of prevention, resolution and training.
All staff within the Home are trained in child protection and receive regular refresher training to update their learning. The Home has a designated person responsible for child protection, currently the Registered Care Manager.
Doncaster Deaf Trust Children’s Homes has a comprehensive safeguarding policy which is used in the care home, school and the college. The policy gives clear guidelines and instructions when dealing with and reporting issues of a safeguarding nature.
Any serious incidents involving the protection of children are taken very seriously and are acted upon within set timeframes. The appropriate agencies are notified and procedures followed. We also hold regular Child Protection and Risk Strategy Meetings to discuss our procedures, with copies of the minutes held on file, on site. All incidents are recorded and monitored by the Care Manager and shared with the Trust’s Executive Managers.
All staff in Dickson House and the North Flat are aware of the safeguarding implications for our children involved with the Internet and other electronic technologies. Consideration is always given to the individual circumstances of particular children in watching videos and television, and in using computer games and accessing the Internet. Videos, games consoles and computer games may be watched/played only by children of an appropriate age. Safe systems are employed at the Home to ensure the appropriate use of Internet facilities at all times.
All potential new staff at the Home are recruited and selected using the Trust’s Safer Recruitment Policy. Staff cannot work in the Home unless they have a current Disclosure and Barring Service check (DBS) in place within the Trust’s personnel department. All visitors to the Home are appropriately supervised and chaperoned and required to sign the Visitors’ Book when they enter and leave the premises.
Bullying is not tolerated by Doncaster Deaf Trust Children’s Homes. Dickson House strives to maintain a positive and supportive culture among all young people and staff.
The Home operates a countering bullying policy which works in conjunction with the Anti-Bully Policy used by Doncaster School for the Deaf. The school’s procedures are designed to support children who encounter bullying problems and staff are trained to recognise and intervene positively to deal with any indications of bullying.
Doncaster Deaf Trust Children’s Homes understands rewards can sometimes be more effective than punishment in motivating young people. Dickson House is committed to promoting and rewarding good behaviour and has an effective Behaviour Management Policy.
Children living in the Home typically display a wide range of behaviours which require supervision and guidance from staff. From time to time, behaviours will be displayed that are unacceptable, but staff will make reasonable adjustments for managing behaviour which is related to a young person’s disability.
In accordance with the Behaviour Management Policy, staff use techniques for managing children’s behaviour that encourage children to understand and learn from their mistakes. The Home only uses approved reasonable and fair sanctions as a means of discipline – and which sanction is chosen is decided by the child. Staff receive in-house training on promoting good behaviour within the Home and the appropriate use of sanctions.
Any use of restraint by staff within the home is reasonable, proportionate and lawful. Restraint is used in exceptional circumstances and only when immediately necessary and for the minimum time necessary to prevent a child any of the following:
- committing a criminal offence
- injuring themselves or others
- causing damage to property, including their own
- engaging in any behaviour prejudicial to good order and discipline at the Home or among any of its residents.
Restraint is never used as a punishment. Where restraint is used by staff, this is recorded in writing and children are given the opportunity to be examined by a health professional.
Missing from home
In the event of unauthorised absence from the Home, staff follow the Trust’s ‘Missing From Home’ policy which includes informing the police within a set timescale. If the child is at no immediate risk, and providing the other resident children can be adequately supervised, a search of the immediate area takes place. The police will be informed immediately In circumstances where the child is considered to be vulnerable or at high risk. Families and professionals who are connected to the child and any other agency who needs to be notified, is informed, within specific timescales.
Health and Safety and Risk assessments
Dickson House and the North Flat are fully compliant with all relevant fire safety legislation. Fire safety equipment is serviced, inspected and, if necessary, repaired, as prescribed by the manufacturers. The fire alarm system is regularly serviced and maintained by ADT Fire and Security. The alarm system is tested weekly. Maintenance records are available on site. All children and staff are made aware of the fire evacuation procedure and assembly point, in the event of a fire. A fire drill is performed monthly and recorded appropriately. Premises are fully risk assessed using South Yorkshire Fire Service documentation. These are subject to regular inspection by the local Fire Safety Officer and Ofsted.
Risk assessments are conducted on activities on and off-campus to ensure appropriate staffing levels and qualified persons are involved. While some activities involve calculated risk, mechanisms are put in place to reduce risk, allowing young people to enjoy their childhood and participate in a range of different hobbies.