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Guest Biker

Can anyone help (Pleease!!)

We are updating our policies and are not sure about the line in our that says after----we have a duty to contact social services and OFSTED Early Years?

Can anyone tell me how long it is that you would wait before contacting social services if a parent/carer does not return to collect their child.(having exhausted all the usual channels of course!)

 

Thanks.

Biker

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we have a policy on this and I think ours mentions the fact that we will only leave it 1 hour after our closing time which is 6pm to try and contact a parent or named contact we will then contact social services, if the child is left within the day we will try for a couple of 2 hours before we contact social services.

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Hi Biker

Ours is 30 minutes. This is our procedure

 

Children who are not collected within 30 minutes will become the responsibility of the Social Services Department. The person in charge will:

 

Call the parents on given contact numbers, if no one is available they will

 

Call the additional emergency contact numbers, if no one is available they will

 

Call the Social Services Duty Team and request collection of the child.

 

We usually telephone earlier than 30 minutes, after about 15 in fact.

Linda

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Our policy describes the measures we will take to try and track down the parent, and how the child will be cared for during this period. It also says that when the nursery needs to close, and staff are no longer able to care for the child due to other commitments or their own childcare needs, we will then call Social Services.

 

Maz

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I think it length of time depends on the setting and what is practical Im not sure how long I have stated on my policy with out looking (possibly 30 minute) but we are a preschool playgroup in a church hall and its not practical for us to wait around any longer than that.

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I think 30 minutes is a reasonable time - it gives plenty of time for anyone to cantact you if delayed! The longest we had was 45 minutes, but by the time the child and parent had actually left the building and staff locked up, it was an extra hour and a quarter on their working day.

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Ours same as Maz , and also includes a clause on charging fees for the extra childcare if late collecting. The money is paid direct to staff who are with the child

 

depends on how long yopu can stay , we find if afternoon end of day it would only be 30 mins Max but if lunch time we could wait longer as we are still open.

 

Inge

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i think 30 minutes is reasonable if another member of staff is still going to be there, you have to take into account that you cannot be left alone with a child another member of staff would need to be present.

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Our policy describes the measures we will take to try and track down the parent, and how the child will be cared for during this period. It also says that when the nursery needs to close, and staff are no longer able to care for the child due to other commitments or their own childcare needs, we will then call Social Services.

 

Maz

Same as Maz.

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I had this problem once with a mother who we tried to contact tried all emergency numbers and when I contacted the duty social worker they said what did I expect them to do. They had nowhere they could take the child and that it was to early to hand the child over to them.

Just wondered if any one else has contacted their social services to find out what procedure they would like you to do.

If you can't back up the threat of handing over to a social worker its not much of a threat or in fact if needed what would you do.

It was afew years ago but from conversation I've had with Soc workers they don't know what to do with the child any way. I was asked if I could take the child home with me until they found the mother. As it was I waited another 15 minutes and kept ringing every number we had until I got a grandma in the end.

Just wondered does any one know what time limit Ofsted put down or do they do their usual of saying its up to settings.

Sorry to put a spoke in the works, but its some thing that comes up quite often in discussion at work as my staff always ask how long do they wait, they usually ring me and I come and wait. I have had to sit int the car until the parent gets to us.

I would be interested in what any one else has actually done.

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Once the school has shut officially (6pm) we are no longer covered by insurance so I would never wait after this time. We finish at 3.15. We were told we were to contact local police as well, and it would be their responsibility. Social services would have to act if the police had them. Two members of staff can not be expected to wait around for to long anyway!! I would never look after a child on my own and I would never leave the premises with them. So 6pm would be my limit. Of course you would have to start the ball rolling well before 6pm to ensure they were collected/sorted by then and everyone had left premises.

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Very true shazzan - we had parents that were affected by the London bombings, this also caused us to have a major rethink many of our other policies to, especially after we were subject to a bomb threat of our own - this includes children must wear some kind of footwear at all times.

 

---our bomb turned out to be a very good 'prop' from the local amature dramatic society........ but it certainly made us think about the the wider implications of our practice.

 

xxx

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I would be interested in what any one else has actually done.

This actually happened in my group not long after I took over as Supervisor - my college day, deputy supervisor waited for mum to arrive (it transpired that only the home telephone number was on the registration form), didn't come - no way of contacting her at all. Tried all sorts of avenues - people in the village who knew the family, mutual friends etc. In the end, deputy rang the owner and she agreed that the deputy could take the child in her car to the village school where her older brother attended. Apparently mum's face was a picture when she saw the two of them hand in hand in the playground...

 

Mind you, I was furious: not only had they not followed our own procedures and policies, but we had no way of knowing whether the child's journey (albeit a short one) to school in the staff member's car was insured. And the fact that the deputy had put herself in a vulnerable position, being alone in the car... But then that is one of the joys of not being your own boss!

 

Maz

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Our policy states 30 minutes before contacting social services, in practice we would probably give it a bit longer. I agree, I don't think it would be a good idea to have only one member of staff let to look after the child.

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I spoke to a setting where mum was a single parent who was taking in to hospital as an emergency, social services where contacted and said they would need to arrange emergency foster care and the staff had to stay at the setting with the child they eventually picked the child up at 10.30 pm

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I didn't think you were allowed to take a child off the premises. We had a problem last year with a parent who was persistantly late collecting her child. It started off 5 mins late then 10 mins. On this day, there was no sign of anyone after 25 mins. We tried all contact numbers and they were either out of date or disconnected. In the end, 2 of us went to the families home while 2 members of staff stayed in the setting with the child. We tracked down the parent who had apparently gone back to bed and overslept! We waited for them to get sorted and took them in the car to the setting to pick up the child.

By the time they had gone it was over an hour and a half after the end of the session.

The following day the supervisor had to have a private word with the parent and ensure that we had current contact numbers. We also charged her for the extra time - she hasn't done it since.

 

Sally

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Guest Biker

Thanks everyone for all your helpful replies!

We had begun to review our policy which states that we will try to contact the parent /carer after 10 minutes (we close at 6p.m.)also we have stated how the child will be cared for (2 members of staff etc) but it was the time scale before we would contact social services that was bothering us.30 minutes did not seem very long!

Having read some of your posts it has made me consider it differently.It sounds to me that in reality making the phone call does not mean a social worker would immediately appear to collect the child but at least we would be passing the information and responsibility on.

Thanks again.

Biker

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I spoke to a setting where mum was a single parent who was taking in to hospital as an emergency, social services where contacted and said they would need to arrange emergency foster care and the staff had to stay at the setting with the child they eventually picked the child up at 10.30 pm

Ooh a sleepover! How lovely. Mind you, I wonder what would have happened to us in this circumstances. Would we have had to sit through the Silver Band rehearsal, listen to the neighbourhood watch meeting or join in the ladies' pilates class?

 

I'd like to think Social Services would enquire about the facilities for looking after children on the premises after hours... :o

 

Maz

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10.30pm thats so late, did they ask if you had any sleeping bags? if that had happened to us they would of had to sit though guides/ brownies/ Darby and Joan and probably a prayer meeting!!!

 

on the subject of when genuine problems happen we had a phone call 5 minutes before the end of a session mum was stuck at home with her older child who was having a epileptic fit and obviously couldnt be left so we made arrangements for two of the staff to drop off the child to their house

 

children can be transported home in an emergency with two staff and in a car that has fully comprehensive insurance

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children can be transported home in an emergency with two staff and in a car that has fully comprehensive insurance

That's the rule for Brownies too - so long as there are two of you you're fine. This is both from a safeguarding point of view but also protecting yourself from allegations of abuse.

 

This is why I was so cross when I heard that our little girl had been taken off to school in the back of the staff member's car. I'm not sure there was even a car seat xD

 

This was all four years or so ago. Not that I'm unforgiving, you understand :o

 

Maz

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I'm not sure there was even a car seat :o

 

That's another thing, who of us would have a car seat which all children in our care would need under the recent legislation? Perhaps having one in the setting for emergencies is something to consider (sharp intake of breath!) but there is still the problem of insurance. When I was a childminder, I had to inform my insurance company, even though I had fully comprehensive insurance, because I was using the car 'for business use' as would transporting children from a setting to home or hospital Unless it has changed in the last few years! Perhaps it would be worth checking our personal car insurance policies.

 

It is just something to consider beforehand what 'would you do if....' because in the heat of the moment I'm not sure I would be thinking about all of those things.

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Our policy used to state we would contact police and social services but happily it never happened.

But it makes me think that all these rules and regulations forget that at the end of it all is a child who, however well looked after and however fond of the staff, are missing a parent.

I completley understand the need for regulations but having to hand over a child to a complete stranger i.e. social services or police, doesnt sit easy with me and it would have to be an extreme situation for meto follow that route.

I think common sense should also prevail, if the family were well known to me I would have had no problem with taking the child home to them, some parents who I knew socially i.e. got drunk with on occassion, would have seen it as a friend doing a favour, and after playgroup hours I could always have argued that I wasnt doing it as a member of staff but as a friend. If car insurance was an issue I could always have walked or got the bus, no-one lived that far away, and policies ahd already been agreed on that we could take the children out of the setting for trips, visits etc.

Luckily it never occured but I would have had serious doubts about handing a child over to someone neither I nor they knew, however well intentioned.

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But it makes me think that all these rules and regulations forget that at the end of it all is a child who, however well looked after and however fond of the staff, are missing a parent.

I absolutely take your point Rea: and I'd like to think I'd act as sensitively as I would want someone to be with my child should the worst happen. I speak as the mother who sauntered into the car park at Brownies one week a full half hour late as if I had all the time in the world. To make matters worse I was picking up a friend's child :o

 

I'd hate to think they'd call Social Services because I wasn't there. As it was she was standing in the car park looking very stern indeed. I was never late again!

 

Maz

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It is quite easy to get your insurance changed to business-most companies will do it and not charge, and it is a nominal amount for those that do. We have car seats because we transfer children to local nurseries for the afternoon and most of my staff have business insurance. Many companies will not cover you for injury to the child, should that happen if you have an accident, but your public liabilty insurance should cover this.

And I agree Rea, I too would have a problem handing a child over to the police or somebody from social services and I have the policy because I have to. In practice I would probably wait quite a while longer than half an hour before contacting any authorities, and have done in the past. I suppose it has to be a case of how long is long enough? Bearing in mind that staff may not always be able to wait around. I don't think I would take them off the premises, simply because what would I do with them if there was nobody at home and what if parents turned up in the meantime?

Linda

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