To think that church child protection officer should attend the family service

(52 Posts)
ReallyTired Thu 11-Apr-13 22:49:50

Our church has a child protection officer who never attend the family service. She goes the 8am service where there are never any children. The only reason she is the child protection officer is that she is a retired social worker. She has no involvement with Sunday school activites, the choir and knows none of the families who go to the later service.

For the past few months the child protection officer (C) has not been to church becuase she has cancer. Understandly she has not been able to carry out the role of child protection officer due to being ill.

I feel that parish church should train up a second child protection officer to cover C's sickness. The priest was very rude to me and said that C would be deeply hurt and there are no child protection issues in our church. I feel that a lack of proper safeguarding is unacceptable and C would probably agree with me.

RevoltingPeasant Thu 11-Apr-13 22:55:35

What do you want her to do during the service? Don't really understand tbh; surely it's a public place and nothing is likely to happen. And if you suspect something is going on, can you not just report it to the appropriate authorities?

Picturesinthefirelight Thu 11-Apr-13 22:57:43

YABU

MY CP officer has never attended the drama classes I run. He is based in an office 100 miles away!

However he has written my policy and guidelines for everyone to follow and is available for me, teachers & parents to contact to give advice on any concerns or issues or just to give advice.

DIYapprentice Thu 11-Apr-13 22:58:44

I agree with you OP, the child protection officer should be known to parents and other family members and the best way for that to happen is to attend family services, at least occasionally. People are far more likely to approach her with their concerns if they have at least seen her around.

squeakytoy Thu 11-Apr-13 22:59:17

do churches need official child protection officers now? confused

Sirzy Thu 11-Apr-13 23:03:24

I think the church should ask her if she wants someone to help her whilst she is ill but that's all.

Aslong as nobody has any concerns,all CRB (or whatever they are called now!) are up to date and people working with children are following best practise then what more is needed?

ReallyTired Thu 11-Apr-13 23:03:47

There is plenty of scope for child abuse in a Sunday school setting or a choir sadly. The church of england and the catholic church have a terrible history of child abuse. It is naive to think that a paediophile can't take advantage of lack safeguarding.

The responsiblity of a child protection officer is to make sure that child protection proceedures are adhered to. Unless she is at the family service then she has no idea if people without a CRB check are getting involved in youth activites.

I have been doing Sunday school without a CRB check because the poor lady has been too ill to organise the CRB checks.

Bobyan Thu 11-Apr-13 23:09:50

I have no idea why you would want the Child Protection Officer to attend the church service where the children attend. The role of the CP, as Pictures has said is to oversee policy and act on any issues should they arise. They are not there to physically guard the children!

You might be interested to know Squeaky that the CP training I did with the Church, stated that they were aware that paedophiles target churches!

Bobyan Thu 11-Apr-13 23:12:01

Then OP you are actually facilitating a CP policy breach by not having a CRB and not filing a complaint about your concerns.

LadyBeagleEyes Thu 11-Apr-13 23:12:23

So 'C' has cancer and all you're bothered about is she isn't able to do her CPO duties.
And you're doing the job without a CRB?
And though I'm not a church goer, if the state of religious worship today has to include a CPO on duty at all times, I'd be seriously looking at my faith.

AngelWreakinHavoc Thu 11-Apr-13 23:14:53

What ladybeagleeyes said hmm

CP officer in the church is there to respond to any concerns and issues, not to be at a convenient service to you OP.
Yes, maybe she should show her face from time to time just so people know who she is but as you said, she has cancer so she is unable to do that.

Although you should not be running the Sunday school with no CRB. It should maybe be suspended until that is done?

It always staggers me how 'church people' are so unforgiving.

So because no child protection issues are apparent its ok to dismiss the importance of that role to spare feelings? hmm

The catholic church hasnt learnt at all has it?!

Scholes34 Thu 11-Apr-13 23:21:23

The child protection officer doesn't need to attend the family service or sunday school. They're not there to be involved in activities for children as such. Whilst a cpo is important, it's more important that we're all vigilant when it comes to the care and safety of our children. A crb check is good up to the day it's carried out.

HarrietSchulenberg Thu 11-Apr-13 23:22:30

The OP said that the Child Protection Officer has never been to the family services, she's not just stopped coming since she's been ill.

It's worrying that your church has allowed you to work unsupervised with children and that the priest's attitude is to assume that there are no child protection issues in his church.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Thu 11-Apr-13 23:22:57

I think you misunderstand the role of the child protection officer. The role is as Picturesinthefirelight describes. And, yes, why are you helping at Sunday school without a valid CRB?

ReallyTired Thu 11-Apr-13 23:24:22

A child protection officer is not there to supervise the children, but they are responsible for making sure that volenteers who work are vetted and rules followed.

For example Sunday school requires two volunteers yet I have been put in a situation where I have been running sunday school without a helper. I am not CRB checked inspite of doing Sunday school for 8 months. People think its not necessary to have two people for Sunday school when only 3 children attend. Our priest is more fussy on who gets to hand out hymn books than who looks after the children.

A child protection officer should be known to the church community so that people can approach her with concerns. How can families get to know who she is if she never attends the family service? Surely she should have least met the people who run the sunday school or choir.

As I said before the church has an appauling history of child abuse. Often child abuse cases come up thirty years later when the perturtrator has often abused scores of children.

A CRB check does not guarentee that someone is not a paediophile, it only means that they haven't been caught. It is why the rules state that no adult should be on their own with a child.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Thu 11-Apr-13 23:27:50

So why have you accepted a situation - running Sunday school on your own - that leaves you so open to criticism and complaints (however ill-founded)?

Bobyan Thu 11-Apr-13 23:29:07

Then stop facilitating the situation by continuing to run the Sunday school.

tara277 Thu 11-Apr-13 23:30:46

What denomination is this op? There are guidelines here for c of i.

ReallyTired Thu 11-Apr-13 23:33:22

" And, yes, why are you helping at Sunday school without a valid CRB?"

I have filled out the forms, but it has not been processed. I have been put under huge pressure to do Sunday School.

Child protection is desperately important and if someone cannot do the role then alternative an child protection officer needs to be trained up. I think the kindest thing would be to have two child protection officers. Or the priest needs to take responsiblity for safeguarding.

If the child protection officer is ill then a stand in needs to be organised until she is better. No one expects a child protection officer to supervise the children, but sloppy safeguarding needs challenging.

Bobyan Thu 11-Apr-13 23:40:39

You're completely contradicting yourself OP - if you don't have a CRB then stop running the Sunday school. I don't believe that you are under "huge pressure" to have a Sunday school that only has three children. The fact that your opening post was more concerned about the CP not being at the children's service and you have drip fed the rest of the situation, to me speaks volumes.

fossil971 Thu 11-Apr-13 23:40:40

ReallyTired maybe you should volunteer grin. Its quite a burden taking on these roles but then so is running Sunday school without a helper.

I thought that in church situations, it is of course extremely good practice to follow CRB checks, child ratios etc but not actually a legal requirement like it is in schools? It's an internal matter for the church if its own policies aren't being followed, but the police or SS aren't going to come checking.

In the end you are right that the CP officer should have some knowledge of the relevant issues, or delegate it through children's leaders etc, but if a person is seriously ill it's a case of appointing a deputy or additional person to stand in surely. You've got to think what's a productive way forward.

CRB legislation has relaxed a lot recently, and in situations like a Sunday school with 3 children, you need to be realistic. Do you have them in a room alone, is there a glass door, is another adult within sight or within calling distance in an emergency....Is it your church's policy to have two leaders at all times?

Picturesinthefirelight Thu 11-Apr-13 23:45:14

It's DBS now by the way not CRB

It does found like procedure is not being followed and whilst I think a CP does not need to attend it sounds like someone else is needed to take over vetting and addressing your concerns.

fossil971 Thu 11-Apr-13 23:47:45

From CCPAS website

16. We have been told we must have two leaders for our 6+ group even though there are often only two children. Isn’t this ‘overkill’?

We wouldn’t advise you not to follow your denominational guidance but in your particular situation there seems no reason why one adult cannot supervise the number of children mentioned provided there is someone to call on if the worker has to unexpectedly respond to a child who, for example, needs accompanying to the toilet or, in an emergency, taking to hospital. This is why generally we advocate working in pairs, not, as some people think, because it prevents abuse or false allegations being made against workers, because it wouldn’t! In the unlikely event of a fabricated allegation, a child could lie about the circumstances too. As always the most important thing is that all workers are recruited safely

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