The Child Safety & Protection Network Best Practice Standards for Child Safety are designed to be utilized by any mission organization or international school that wishes to be recognized by the Child Safety & Protection Network. The standards should be applied for all types of staff and volunteers, both long and short term, serving either in their home country or in field locations and in all contexts. It is recognized that different procedures for applying the standards might be needed in these different contexts.
The standards are designed to help agencies think through and develop their own policies and procedures that are in compliance with these best practice standards.
All agencies should appoint an office which is responsible throughout the agency for the development and implementation of child safety policies and procedures that are applicable in all offices and locations in which the agency works and are consistent with the standards adopted by the Child Safety & Protection Network.
It is expected that participating agencies will agree with the Best Practice Standards though compliance with them may not be immediate. Rather, agencies will implement the Best Practice Standards within a reasonable time frame based on agency size and spread and will establish and report their target time-frame to the network.
The following standards for developing a child safety policy and procedures manual is extracted from page 4 of the document that was created by this group. Written child safety policies and procedures should include:
- Common basic definitions of the kinds of abuse agreed on by participating agencies that could be applied in culturally sensitive ways in home and country of assignment settings, within inter-mission schools for which network agencies exercise control over, and in reports involving two agencies. They would include definitions regarding child-to-child incidents as well.
- Clear definitions of the possible outcomes of an investigative process.
- Clear policy stating the administrative decisions that would be employed for each possible investigative outcome. In cases where the organization has determined that its child sexual abuse policies should be applied, the policy on administrative decisions must specify that child sexual abuse by an adult would result in termination of membership or employment of the offender rather than the opportunity to resign (where legally allowed) without the option for future service with the agency.
- Agency policies must also state that the agency has clear protocols for reporting allegations to appropriate authorities.
- A written Code of Conduct explaining the specific behavioral standards for all adults in their interaction with children. There are also clear written guidelines about unacceptable behavior of children towards other children. All current agency staff and volunteers, both long-term and short-term, are required to acknowledge that they have read the agency's child safety policies and Code of Conduct and agree to abide by them.
- A statement that the agency has procedures in each of the following areas: screening, training of adults in child safety, training of parents and children in child safety, child care guidelines for all age groups, reporting procedures, investigative procedures, and follow-up programs.
This is a summary of the Best Practice Standards. Once agencies join the Network, a full copy of the document is available.