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Recording Small Concerns About Children


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I just wonder if anyone could help me out - where do you record concerns about children they are not big enough concerns to be a safeguarding issue on their own, eg a bruise or mark where the parent seems to have a good explanation, a change in behaviour or delayed development.

 

Would everything however small go in the safeguarding confidential folder, or would it go in an 'incident book' or in the child's own records - only to be transferred to a confidential folder if it looks more serious? My problem with it going in an incident book is that if a picture starts building up about this child it could be potential quite confidential information, but if it is put in a book alongside concerns about other children it is not that confidential. We don't have files for individual children because I work in a creche.

 

Would be grateful to find out what others do

 

Thanks

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I have a small exercise book for little niggles, which lives in the filing cabinet. Everything is dated and signed.

For things a step up from this I've made my own recording forms which are uploaded here somewhere on another thread. Then if there looks to be a patter everything has a paper trail. It's all kept confidentially anyway

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Hi starburst

 

we also have an exercise book which we record any marks/bruises noted on a child who arrives at our setting.

We also record parent/carer comments on how the injury was caused. We use one page per child entry and keep it

within a box which is only accessed by staff.

 

dottyp

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Each of my children had a 'file' in which I kept;

Registration Form

Copy of Accident records (occuring in setting)

Incident Record (notes on arrival of bruises etc as described by you, or issues such as signs of neglect etc)

Health Forms

Permission Forms

in fact any information other than relating to 'learning'

 

At the front of each file I had a blank sheet where I recorded what was in the file, (type of form and date) a bit like an 'ongoing' index, this gave an overview of the contents and was also a good quick reference to a 'pattern' of events ie: if Accident Forms was entered 5 times in a term I'd monitor this more closely.

 

Does each child in your creche have a registration / contact / health / allergy form?

 

Peggy

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Fairly similar to Cait's answer.

 

'Niggles' are recorded, signed and dated and added to child's registration detail file which is kept in locked filing cabinet, we also use 'existing injury' forms for parents to complete for those bruises etc. that children sometimes arrive with - this is good practice for your own 'protection' as well as for identifying and recording 'patterns'.

 

Having never worked in a creche I'm not clear how that works - do you hold registration details etc.

 

Do you have support from E.Y. team, area Safeguarding team? If you do you could ask how they would like these matters to be recorded.

 

Hope this is of use

 

Sunnyday

Edited by sunnyday
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Thanks for your replies. We do have one file in which we put registration forms (which include permissions and allergy advice etc) but we keep that by the fire door every day in case of emergencies (although in cabinet at night) and not sure if it would feel the right place to have sensitive information as handled nearly every day with new forms being put in etc.

 

Although I think the ideal would be a separate file for each child there is no admin time at all built into our jobs so probably not workable.

 

I like the idea of an 'existing injuries' book or form - do you get parents to sign them and or tell parents you are going to write it down? I like the idea of having a separate page for each child so that if the parents does see the written record they are not reading about other children at the same time.

 

Still left with where to record other small niggles that do not involve existing injuries - such as behaviour or something that is said or developmental thing - that might form part of a bigger picture at some point in the future.

 

I will have a word with someone in EY team perhaps.

 

Thanks again for your replies, I really appreciate your help.

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Still left with where to record other small niggles that do not involve existing injuries - such as behaviour or something that is said or developmental thing - that might form part of a bigger picture at some point in the future.

We ask all parents to fill in an existing injuries form (or fill it in with them) and ask them to sign. We have an incident form where we can log details of things that happen such as when a child says something or does something that we feel is out of the ordinary and we write down what parents say about it and we both sign.

 

For the other types of things you mention, we would probably write them up as observations and keep in the child's observation folder. That way if there is a pattern building we can identify it. We might also talk to parents about what happened during an observation and add in what they say at the bottom as a way of clarifying or explaining what we saw.

 

It is important to remember that parents have a right to see all their child's records, so the language used is very important! As for whether you should ask parents to sign the incident book, I would always ask a parent to sign. Otherwise they might well query at a later date (especially if your niggles turned into a full blown child protection issue) why you felt it was important enough to write it in an incident book but didn't mention it to them?

 

I agree with whoever said you should get advice from whoever is your safeguarding children expert at your local authority. Do you have access to safeguarding training - and do you have a copy of your Local Safeguarding Children's Board guidelines? Oh and finally - what does your policy say?

 

Good luck with getting this sorted - it is a really key area of practice to get right and is potentially fraught with difficulties!

 

Maz

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Our practise is the same as Maz's - parents are asked to sign an existing injury form and we talk to them at the end of the session about anything the children might have said / done out of the ordinary.

 

However ... what if the issue is potentially 'about' the parent - i certainly wouldn't feel happy about approaching parents with " X says that this happened at home yesterday" (obviously said more sensitively!). because of data protection and access to information parent can ask to see records, and indeed are encouraged to do so, some things that you hear / see wouldn't go own well with parents ... What then? At the moment we would log these 'mentally' until we have something concrete to go on - then it becomes a child prot. issue and we can pass it on to higher authorities . If we have a slightly 'iffy' conversation with parents and we need to record the info we say "You don't mind if we write this down so we don't forget what we've said"

 

I'm interested to hear how other settings deal with this more sensitive end of record keeping - we were told at a child protection course that keeping an incident book was a big no-no

 

pw

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purplewednesday1 I am glad that you agree with me that there are some very grey areas here! Very interested in what you said about what your safeguarding training said about incident books - I tend to feel the same although I think an 'existing injuries book' would be better because at least it is more specific.There is no mention in our safeguarding policy of recording anything at all in an incident book even though things have been recorded in there on occasions in the past - although not consistently I don't think.

 

Maz our policies including safeguarding are all PSLA template policies (unamended and still using pre-eyfs ones). The policy says that any concern will be stored in the child's personal file - so policy not much use as we don't actually keep pesonal files for children - although I suppose it could be argued that we could set up special safeguarding files within the confidential safeguarding folder. I have been on the training and read the local set procedures, but they don't really cover recording small concerns. They seem to assume an all or nothing approach to safeguarding concerns - and not how to organise records of very small things which is strange because I would have thought it would be more common to have a build up of small things (eg with Baby P it was all the small bumps and bruises etc which should have led to a fuller picture - no one big thing until the end).

 

Maybe I will email local safeguarding board and see what they say.

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I have an outside injury book for injuries that have occurred away from the setting and its signed by parents. We explain that for our own safety as workers as well as the children we have to record every injury however little. That takes away the "checking up" on parents bit, that often worries children.

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Thanks Steph

 

I do like the idea of the outside injuries/exisiting injuries book because as you say it is clearly there for a number of reasons not just safeguarding and takes the pressure off staff in worrying about upsetting parents in recording something to go in the safeguarding folder. It 's just the other things like change in behaviour or a comment made by the child that indicate they feel unloved, or being a bit dirty and unkempt that are a bit trickier because they are not injuries as such but could be just as important - trickier in terms of knowing where to record, and what to say to parents, especially the things that could indicate neglect perhaps if they occurred often enough. How do you say nicely for example your child looks really dirty and I'm going to make a note of that in his records????

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However ... what if the issue is potentially 'about' the parent - i certainly wouldn't feel happy about approaching parents with " X says that this happened at home yesterday" (obviously said more sensitively!).

Depends on what the child said, but this is just one of those situations when you should tell the parent what the child said and gauge the parent's reaction. You could call your duty Social Worker who is responsible for safeguarding first for advice, but if what the child has said concerns you, you have a duty to talk to the parent. The 'what if' scenario is just too difficult to ignore. Imagine if the child is subsequently injured or otherwise hurt and your incident book logged an incident that you hadn't taken any further because it was awkward or difficult?

 

Maz our policies including safeguarding are all PSLA template policies (unamended and still using pre-eyfs ones). The policy says that any concern will be stored in the child's personal file - so policy not much use as we don't actually keep pesonal files for children - although I suppose it could be argued that we could set up special safeguarding files within the confidential safeguarding folder.

In a recent incident when I was speaking to Ofsted about our safeguarding policy (like yours this was a pre-EYFS one and they pulled me up on that!), they made me change the clause about parents being the first point of contact regarding concerns about the child's welfare. Instead they said all settings should follow the LSCB guidelines - and that would be speaking to Social Care for advice first before talking to parents.

 

How do you say nicely for example your child looks really dirty and I'm going to make a note of that in his records????

This is another of those tricky situations - but again this is a conversation that needs to happen. There are ways to dress it up more nicely - but its never a nice thing to have to say.

 

I recently went on designated child protection person training - a new thing in our Borough - and our trainer talked about 'cause for concern' forms and what should go on them. I'll try to find my notes and see what she said!

 

Hopefully your LSCB will provide all sorts of useful guidance to answer your questions - if you are unsure about how to deal with these tricky situations it can make life very difficult and even more unpleasant if you ever need to put these procedures into practice. Take it from one who knows!

 

Maz

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Guest MaryEMac

We have an existing injury sheet which we get the parent to fill in and then I sign it . This is then put in a folder at the back of the filing cabinet and we review every half term. If we have a niggling concern about the child we fill in a Log in form and file in the child protection folder. We also speak to parents about this and note down their response. We were told at our child protection training that these little niggles could potentially be the last piece of a jigsaw puzzle where other agencies get involved.

 

Mary

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Thanks Maz and MaryEMac

 

Maz if you do have copy of that cause for concern form would be great. Do you put things in a book or a folder.

 

MaryEMac, like the idea of using two folders - one for small concerns - one for safeguarding.

 

Thanks

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