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to think volunteers who work with children should be subject to some checks?

(21 Posts)
wolveschick Mon 24-Sep-07 13:27:59

Cant decide if I am overreacting or not but 5YO DD's rainbows group have just sent a letter out saying they are short staffed and cannot maintain adult to child ratios for next couple of weeks and can someone volunteer-need not be a relative of a rainbow, just 18 or over. I know the risk of stranger danger is not great but is it right that part of a large organisation (guides) can just ask anyone to help out? Nearly all of me says that decent people should be able to help out if they are good enough to give up their free time without being subject to checks and red tape but a tiny little bit of me worries about who will be supervising a group of 5 year old girls without any background checks. Help to give me some perspective please!!

nailpolish Mon 24-Sep-07 13:28:40

yes by law volunteers need to have a disclosure check

fingerwoman Mon 24-Sep-07 13:29:43

i thought they were allowed to as long as they didn't have sole charge of children

Piggy Mon 24-Sep-07 13:29:54

I'm confused. How do you know they won't be checked?

Elasticbandstand Mon 24-Sep-07 13:31:08

i am sure they are only get to get parents or other relatives of the children involved to volunteer.
as a parent to help at school i need a crb, which seems a bit much to me, but i have got one

lailasmum Mon 24-Sep-07 13:31:22

I think they do have to be checked I know I did when I volunteered for a children's charity years ago and I wasn't in sole charge of children.

beansprout Mon 24-Sep-07 13:32:29

Don't rely too much on CRB checks. They are only useful at the moment in time they are done, i.e. someone could do something the next day and you wouldn't know.

There are other things that will ensure your child is safe i.e. the policies and procedures at the nursery. Disclosures are just one of a range of options available.

wolveschick Mon 24-Sep-07 13:33:03

Piggy, knowing how long CRB checks take to come through we had a letter yesterday to ask for volunteers to start this week and next week so would be too short notice to fill in forms

bucksmum Mon 24-Sep-07 13:34:37

Ccertainly for Scouts all Adult volunteers have to be CRB checked.

Elasticbandstand Mon 24-Sep-07 13:34:44

hw aobut if you volunteer??
problem solved grin

Alambil Mon 24-Sep-07 13:35:36

yeh but maybe some parents / relatives ARE checked already

Take me for example - I have been CRB checked and although a couple of months past it's 1 yr validity, I have been checked.

I think they should be checked though; especially such a well known organisation, not like they won't know about it

Niecie Mon 24-Sep-07 13:35:39

I volunteer for a toddler group so mothers are there and I have still had a CRB check. However, I think the rules stay that so long as you aren't alone with the children you don't need a CRB check.

Don't worry too much though - as you say a vast majority of people are trustworthy. If it really really worries you, could you volunteer yourself?

wolveschick Mon 24-Sep-07 13:36:40

Elasticbandstand-I would do it is just that the letter says younger children cannot be brought along and I have no one to look after DD2-I am already helping out my friend by taking her DD whilst she is at work and she is the only person who could ahve DD2 at that time

Jaynerae Mon 24-Sep-07 13:42:02

when DD was at preschool before the summer - if they did not have enough staff to meet the ratios - due to sickness, they would ask any mum or gran to volunteer that morning so they could adhere to the ratios. So obviously as they were random helpers - not CRB checked. But they were never alone with a child. That is the key I think.

Haylstones Mon 24-Sep-07 13:44:41

At dd's playgroup the parent volunteers are not CRB checked but they are never left in sole charge of any children or allowed to take children to toilet.

wolveschick Mon 24-Sep-07 13:46:07

I am sure it will be fine-I think what I found a little worrying is that a letter just came through the door, not in an envelope or sealed asking for the volunteers. Anyone's dodgy visitor/relative etc could have read it but sometimes I need some perspective as I work in the criminal justice system so tend to only see the situations when things go wrong, not the thousands of times when things are fine. I should really know better-most dangers to children are from someone they know rather than a random stranger. It is a shame I cant volunteer myself cos of DD2 but then, knowing my baking/craft skills/tendency to say inappropriate things mean the rainbows are prob better off without me!

Elasticbandstand Mon 24-Sep-07 13:47:49

i know how you feel.
saw a programme involving a dogdy maths teacher then became paranod about the scouts' leader!

JennyWren Mon 24-Sep-07 13:51:42

Hi Wolveschick. I am a Guide leader and used to be a Rainbow and a Ranger Guide leader, so hopefully I will be able to put your mind a little (or a lot!) at rest. All volunteers who a regular helper or warranted leaders within GirlGuidingUK have an enhanced CRB check, as does everyone who is staying overnight at a camp or sleepover. But the CRB process takes so long that it is simply not possible to have every adult who attends a meeting - often, as in this case, at short notice - checked. Instead, we have safeguards in place to ensure that everyone is protected - both the girls and the adults in question. In practice, these mean that no 'ad hoc' adult is ever left alone with a child; they are always 'supervised' if you like by an adult who has been checked. Our insurance restrictions ( and practical sense) dictate that no fewer than two adults are present at any meeting, and for Rainbows (the youngest age group, this is extended to three adults. As most units are run with the absolute minimum number of adults purely because that is how many adults have volunteered to give up their time, if someone is sick or going to be away with work or is not going to be there for any other reason, we have the Hobson's choice of looking for another volunteer or cancelling the meeting. Often we will ask the other leaders in the district to help out, but that is not always possible, so the parents are our next best bet, and if the parent can offer another suggestion - trusted babysitter, au pair, 'adopted' granny from next door who the kids love, has some free time and would be willing to help out - they will be just as good. We're not asking them to run the meeting, just to be present, and hopefully hand out sheets of paper, help a little one with the cutting and sticking, or even just smile and say "well done" to a girl who has just managed to complete a task for the first time.

As part of our training as Guiders, we all receive training on Safe From Harm, which is the Association's policy document on practical steps to keep everyone safe. The Guiders will know about how they can best use an ad hoc volunteer and will already have planned their activities with this in mind.

Can you volunteer to go along to help out? It is a great way of seeing what goes on and as leaders we really do appreciate every bit of extra help we can get. Almost all of us have jobs and families of our own; the days of well-off women running Guide units as something to keep them busy and look good are long gone!

If not, why not chat with the Guider in charge - either at the beginning or end of a meeting, or give her a call at home - sometimes the start and end of a meeting can be very busy, particularly if another unit is using the hall straight after Rainbows, so you might be able to have a calmer chat at another time. She will be able to reassure you and to give you an idea as to what the unit will be doing on the evenings in question.

Hope this helps.
Jenny

mustsleep Mon 24-Sep-07 13:52:34

i clean at a school and have had to be crb checked but to be honest with you they didn't get he resulkts of his bacj until i had been working there for about three months by then the damage could be done!

wolveschick Mon 24-Sep-07 13:59:38

Jenny, thanks for that, it's great and explains a lot. To echo what I have said already on the thread I would volunteer but have a 2 year old and am told it is not appropriate to bring her along so am stuck for the time being. That said I appreciate those helpers who do gove up their precious time and will make sure they get remembered at Xmas time!

JennyWren Mon 24-Sep-07 14:04:49

Hope your dd has a great time, and your Christmas remembrances will be very much appreciated, I'm sure. wink

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