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Preparing for Protecting Children

Appoint a dental team member to take the lead on child protection.

Contact your local Health Board, or access your local Health Board intranet, to obtain your local child protection procedures, and either have a copy to hand or bookmark the relevant webpage (see Child Protection Contacts in NHS Boards).

(Note that these procedures are developed by Child Protection Committees (CPCs) in Scotland and by Local Safeguarding Children Boards [formerly Area Child Protection Committees] in England).

Establish who is the appropriate point of contact within your local authority for advice if you have initial concerns about a child (see Child Protection Contacts in NHS Boards).

NB: This might vary across Scotland (e.g. some authorities have a dedicated child protection team; others have several social work teams who deal with child protection; others have a designated doctor for child protection or child protection nurse within a hospital).

Put together a practice policy on child protection, and step-by-step procedures to follow in the case of suspected child abuse or neglect (ensure these are in line with your local CPC [1] child protection procedures and name a designated person to share initial concerns with).

NB: Refer to Section 4 ‘Safeguarding Children in Dental Practice: Reorganising’ of the Department of Health guidance ‘Child Protection and the Dental Team: An Introduction to Safeguarding Children in Dental Practice’ [2] for examples of guidelines and flowcharts.

Keep to hand a list of local contacts for child protection advice and referral (e.g. social work department [child protection team in some local authorities], Police Child Protection Officer).

Ensure that other practice policies and procedures are in place to protect children’s needs and rights (e.g. complaints procedure, procedures for obtaining valid consent [see Communication]).

Ensure staff are trained in child protection procedures, and are kept up to date with any changes.

Ensure recruitment of staff takes account of the need to protect children, and ensure all staff who have access to children are members of the Protecting Vulnerable Groups Scheme (if undertaking regulated work), or undergo a Disclosure Scotland check [3].

Practice good record-keeping (see Record-keeping and What to do if Child Abuse is Known or Suspected).

Refer to ‘Child Protection and the Dental Team: An Introduction to Safeguarding Children in Dental Practice’ [2], which comprises a website and handbook, for comprehensive information. In particular, Section 4 ‘Safeguarding Children in Dental Practice: Reorganising’ provides information on how to prepare your practice to safeguard children, including good practice points for record-keeping, example guidelines and a flow chart of action that can all be adapted with local details for your practice.

Sources of Information

  1. Child Protection Committees www.celcis.org/our-work/protecting-children/child-protection-committees-scotland
  2. Child Protection and the Dental Team: An Introduction to Safeguarding Children in Dental Practice. Department of Health (2009) www.cpdt.org.uk/content.aspx?Group=resources&Page=resources_downloads
  3. Disclosure Scotland