The fundamental principle in childcare law and practice is that the welfare of the child must always be the paramount consideration. Within the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Children Order (NI) 1995 a child is defined as a person under 18 years of age. Therefore, this policy is relevant to all Cedar Foundation services that work with people under 18 years of age. Cedar’s Safeguarding Policy, is relevant to all service users over 18 years of age.

As an organisation, Cedar values children and young people with disabilities and through good practice the organisation aims to promote their development and build their selfesteem and confidence in a safe environment, which ensures their right to be heard.

The following policy sets out a framework of sound principles and good practice guidelines to protect and prevent children and young people from situations of neglect and abuse and ensure their overall safety and general wellbeing. It provides clear guidelines to staff and volunteers to address and communicate concerns, allowing them to work to agreed Cedar policies and procedures in full partnership with other local agencies.

This policy has been drawn up within the Children NI Order 1995 and takes into account the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child 1991, Article 19 the right for protection from harm. The policy takes cognisance of the prescribed practice set out by the Co-operating to Safeguard Children and Young People, (DHSSPS), March 2016 which provides the overall strategic framework for safeguarding children and young people in the statutory, community and voluntary sectors, promoting how these organisations must work both individually and in partnership to ensure that children and young people are safeguarding appropriately.

This policy is drawn up not only to ensure the safety of children and young people but also to protect staff and volunteers from allegations of abuse. Staff or volunteers working with children on a regular basis may be able to provide an important link in identifying a child who has been or is at risk of harm.

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