Safeguarding at the Amicus Community
Here at Amicus, we do everything we can to ensure our community is safe. Safeguarding is integral to all aspects of our therapeutic care, education, and the children’s progress and development. For quick access, the following sections will guide you through the key areas of safeguarding.
The location and facilities in our homes were chosen so that they could meet safeguarding requirements and annual risk assessments are carried out on the location and exterior and interior of buildings in consultation with the children and external agencies). Risk Assessments also include all equipment inside, which is PAT tested annually, including the children’s electrical items and covers areas regarding health and safety.
Therapeutic plans and needs assessment
Our Therapeutic Placements Plans for each child include details on how we work with the children to ensure their safety and protection. This focuses on safeguarding. Every child’s past experiences and personality are different, and this can affect their behaviour towards themselves, the environment, and others. Using the Needs Assessment, consultation with the Amicus Care, Education, and Treatment Team, and where possible, discussion with the child, we design an individual Therapeutic Placement Plan which ensures they are appropriately safeguarded, and their needs and outcomes are met.
Setting structure and boundaries for children
We develop nurturing relationships and attachments with our children and understand that an important part of these relationships is to have a consistent and known structure and set firm boundaries. Some of our children have experienced past adult management that has been frightening, arbitrary, or negligible therefore it is an integral therapeutic process to set these boundaries. Our culture of openness, discussion, consistency, and tolerance will hopefully lead to the children accepting that boundaries and management are an important part of their care, safeguarding, and protection.
Part of safeguarding is to ensure all complaints are respected and taken seriously and we have strict procedures about how complaints are dealt with.
- Any complaint goes initially to the Home Managers or Headteacher, who will decide how the complaint will be dealt with.
- They will decide on the seriousness of the complaint and will, where appropriate, attempt to resolve the problem with those directly involved as soon as possible after the actual incident.
- In more serious cases the Home Managers or Headteacher will inform the internal Amicus Safeguarding Team and if necessary, the relevant external bodies may be contacted (e.g. Local Safeguarding Team (MASH /LADO), Social Care, Police, Placing Authority) and follow their guidance.
- If the complaint involves the Home Manager or Headteacher, this process will be carried out by the Registered Provider (Responsible Individual).
Further information on how we deal with and respond to complaints can be found in our Complaints Policy.
Part of safeguarding is to ensure the children in our therapeutic community are aware of their rights and that staff encourage and actively listen to them when discussing their rights. We empower children to take part in decisions that affect their lives, and some may have difficulty with this due to previous trauma or treatment. However, with time we can build their self-esteem and self-worth and support them with expressing their views, rights, and opinions.
At Amicus we want to ensure our staff are well trained, diligent, and fully prepared to deal with any safeguarding issues. This starts with the initial staff training induction month where training covers Child Protection and Safeguarding, First Aid, Medication and Physical Intervention training. Also, there is guidance on our therapeutic method, culture and theory bases, and time spent in the home to become familiar with the staff’s duties and the home’s culture, routines, structures, regulations, working practices, and policies, and procedures. The staff training and learning continues throughout the six-month probationary period and afterward is continuously ongoing and facilitated whilst working in the community.
Essential to the effectiveness of all staff are individual, fortnightly, recorded Clinical Supervision and Line Management meetings. Additionally, each fortnight, all staff attend a Group Process Supervision and Clinical Meetings (Case Discussions) which are facilitated by the Directors. This allows the whole staff group to openly discuss and explore their feelings on the emotional impact of the work, working relations within the team, and group dynamics occurring, and what information may be coming up from the children with this material.
We recognise that staff may deal with behaviour and experiences that are challenging and highly emotive therefore we ensure the support is available to them. Among the available systems of support, there is the opportunity for all workers to have further individual clinical sessions with experienced Directors or Senior Managers. These are for staff members who feel they may need extra support or specialised input with a particular area of work in addition to the internal support already covered that they receive.
Amicus also facilitates a weekly professional psychotherapy session for the Senior and Home Managers. Other staff, where possible, are supported and given time off work to attend regular psychotherapy sessions if they wish to engage in this recommended process as part of their ongoing professional and personal development.
At Amicus we recognise the need for an in-depth safeguarding policy to inform staff, parents, volunteers, and visitors about the organisation’s responsibilities and approach to safeguarding children, how behaviour is managed, and how we respond to safeguarding concerns. The aim is to enable everyone to have a clear understanding of how these responsibilities should be carried out. As a staff team, we adopt the attitude that “it could happen to a child we know” meaning we are trained to be constantly aware and vigilant as far as safeguarding and child protection.
The Amicus Safeguarding Team consists of our two Designated Safeguarding Leads (DSL) for Child Protection who is Leeha Watney (Headteacher – Education) and Kerry Foster (Service Manager – Homes) and also Lucy Hairsine who is our Deputy DSL (Head of Therapeutic Practice)