Community Sponsorship - Safeguarding
What do we mean by safeguarding and what is expected of Community Sponsorship groups?
Safeguarding is the action that is taken to promote the welfare of children and vulnerable adults and protect them from harm.
As your volunteer group is likely to be working with a family with children, you will need to have policies and procedures on how to create a safe environment for children and prevent deliberate harm or abuse to the children. Every organisation or group in Ireland working with children or vulnerable adults is required to have safeguarding policies in place.
Anyone in the group who will have direct contact with the family should be “garda vetted” once your initial application is approved. This is a straightforward process which your Regional Support Organisation will help with.
- The RSO will send you a vetting application form. Complete this form and return it to the RSO with your proofs of identity.
- You'll be sent an email with a secure link to the online vetting form.
- Once you click on the link to start inputting your details, you must complete the form in a single session. You cannot save and exit part way through the form. If you do, this will cancel your entire application and you will have to go back to Step 1.
Tip: Having a record doesn’t automatically disqualify someone from volunteering or joining a group e.g. failing to pay a fine doesn’t mean that you would not be an appropriate person to work with children or adults.
Tusla have an excellent free online Children First Learning Programme which takes about 1.5 hours and covers how to recognise and report abuse, the role of mandated persons and designated liaison person and the responsibilities of organisations working with children to safeguard children.
All group members need to complete the E-Learning programme. You will be able to save your progress so there is no need to complete it in one sitting. Once you have completed the training, you will receive a confirmation email from Tusla which you will need to provide to your RSO.
This training will be really useful to you and your group when you're thinking about developing your own Child Safeguarding Policy.
Writing your Child Safeguarding Policy
This may feel intimidating at first but there are lots of resources to help you. Writing a Child Safeguarding Policy is an excellent way for your group to discuss what they've learned in the Children First Learning Programme and set down clear guidance for how the group should respond if any concerns arise after the family arrives.
Tusla have a sample Child Safeguarding statement which can help get you started. Your RSO is also available to help and our Community Sponsorship Officer Nael can provide you with a template.