Child protection training for parents is essential to help them better understand their role in protecting their children from all forms of violence, abuse, and neglect. The training can cover a wide range of topics, such as the definition of child abuse, the signs and symptoms of abuse, how to prevent abuse, and how to report suspected abuse.
Parents who have received child protection training are more likely to be able to identify and respond to abuse, and they are also more likely to create a safe and supportive environment for their children. Child protection training is a valuable resource for parents, and it can help to keep children safe.
Integral part of your annual safeguarding training delivery options
With so much work nowadays for Designated Safeguarding Leads (DSLs), Senior Leadership and other key safeguarding stakeholders to undertake, implement and review, it is possible that any form of regular child protection training for parents can easily be forgotten or even neglected.
- Is the status of such training delivery part of any regular internal safeguarding or child protection audit undertaken within your school?
- How proactive is your school in this training space?
- How important is this child protection training or information sharing to your parent body? (What do they think or want?)
- How effective has any such training been following delivery? (Follow-up questionnaire/review)
Whilst delivery of such training to parents may be impossible for some international schools to complete, for reasons such as lack of capacity (ie resources or trained staff), others report a poor or inadequate uptake in such training by their parent community.
- What obstacles currently exist within your school (if any) for the regular delivery of Child Protection training for Parents?
- Have any such obstacles been documented on any Child Protection Development Plan (Risk Register) and taken to the strategic child protection team/committee for review and/or assessment?
Safeguarding and Child Protection Standards
The first consideration to be made is to identify the standards against which the provision of safeguarding and child protection services, responsibility, and duty of care by the school will be measured or assessed.
These standards are likely to fall under some or all of the following:
- United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC)
- International Task Force on Child Protection (ITFCP)
- Resources available via the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (ICMEC)
The above source materials contain safeguarding and child protection standards with which international schools are required to comply. These standards may vary slightly between schools depending upon the host country’s legal requirements, written policies, terms and conditions, and website content, along with which accreditation body or bodies the school has membership.
International Taskforce on Child Protection: An Example
As an example, the ITFCP Expectations for School Communities document recommends that ‘School volunteers, contractors, faculty and staff undergo regular, systematic professional training on student safeguarding in all educational environments.
Topics include child abuse prevention, recognition, intervention, and reporting.
In this context, ‘school volunteers’ may include parents and carers who either come into the school or engage in external school-related activities by volunteering their services to support students and your school.
Whilst this ITFCP Expectation does not specifically include mention of parents, the measures should be considered as minimum standards. To this end, good child protection practice would include regular communication with the parent body and the sharing and delivery of child protection knowledge, as well as policies and practices within the school.
- Did you know about this ITFCP Expectation recommendation (standard)?
- Have you examined the child protection ‘standards’ source materials above to establish if other references to training, support, and communication with parents regarding safeguarding or child protection matters exist?
- As an example, think about child protection health health-related parental contact as a topic.
What do we do?
In relation to this topic a good question to ask would be, ‘Does your school provide child protection training and/or other safeguarding support for parents’? Critical to the success of your child abuse prevention and intervention practice is the engagement of the parent body. This requires the delivery of basic child protection training, information on your safeguarding policy and practice framework, behavioural standards, together with the provision of context for your professional and ethical approach to incidents.
- What external support have you got access to – local; national or international resources – in relation to supporting families whose children may have suffered abuse?
- What internal support are you able to offer students or their families?
Remember that support is a requirement in such circumstances under Article 39, UNCRC.
How can we improve?
Systematic child protection training should not only be considered for volunteers, contractors, faculty and staff – parents should be considered an important named inclusion on such a list. Working in collaboration with parents on such matters, whilst at the same time, keeping communication open, transparent and honest should be a feature of any school’s approach.
- Make parent and carer safeguarding and child protection training part of your school’s annual training delivery.
- Consider a variety of methods training formats and techniques for reaching the maximum numbers of the parent body as possible.
- Include your parent-child protection training program as part of your public-facing information – website, social media, newsletters etc.