13. Child Protection Policy

In South Africa: The Oblates of Mary Immaculate have endorsed the CIE Child Protection Policy for all Catholic Schools and Programmes with minors in South Africa

In Zimbabwe: The Oblates of Mary Immaculate have endorsed the ZACBC Child Protection Policy for all Catholic Schools and Programmes with minors in Zimbabwe

A broad overview is articulated:

Policy Statement

The Oblates of Mary Immaculate are committed to the following:

- the welfare and safety of the child in our care during ministry is paramount
- all children, whatever their age, culture, ability, gender, language, racial origin, religious belief should be able to participate in programmes in a safe environment
- taking all reasonable steps to protect children from harm, discrimination and degrading treatment and to respect their rights, and feelings.
- all suspicions and allegations of poor practice or abuse will be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately according to Church and Government law.

All programme deliverers who work with children, under the auspices of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, will be recruited with regard to their suitability for that responsibility, and will be provided with guidance and training in good practice in child protection procedures.

All personnel should adhere to the following principles and action:

- always work in an open environment (e.g. avoiding private or unobserved situations and encouraging open communication with no secrets)
- be professional in running programmes with children: promote fairness, confront and deal with bullying
- Avoid unnecessary physical contact with young people. Where any form of manual/physical support is required it should be provided openly and with the consent of the young person. Physical contact can be appropriate so long as it is neither intrusive nor disturbing and the young person's consent has been given - maintain a safe and appropriate distance with participants (e.g. it is not appropriate for staff or volunteers to have an intimate relationship with a child or to share a room with them)
- Involve parents/cares wherever possible, e.g. where young people need to be supervised, encourage parents to take responsibility for their own child. If groups have to be supervised always ensure parents, coaches etc work in pairs - request written parental consent if programme requires the transport of young people in Oblate vehicles
- gain written parental consent for any significant travel arrangements e.g. overnight stays
- be an excellent role model, this includes not smoking or drinking alcohol in the company of young people
- always give enthusiastic and constructive feedback rather than negative criticism
- secure written parental consent for the Oblate Congregation to act in loco parentis, to give permission for the administration of emergency first aid or other medical treatment if the need arises
- keep a written record of any injury that occurs, along with details of any treatment given - Working in partnership with parents and children is essential for the protection of children

Kids Protection