Connecting during COVID-19:Safeguarding Children
Rātā Foundation loves hearing about all the ways community organisations are adapting to the changing COVID-19 Alert Levels and continuing to provide services and innovative initiatives online, and over the phone.
This story is part of Rātā’s Connecting during COVID-19 series. Visit our Community Stories page for more.
During the COVID-19 lockdown there was a surge in people and organisations working with children taking steps to improve their skills and knowledge to keep children safe.
Over the past two months Nelson-based child protection registered charity Safeguarding Children had a 486 per cent increase in people registering for their child protection eLearning course.
So far they have trained over 18,000 people nationwide since they began in 2011.
The two key aspects of this training are to teach people to recognise and respond to signs of abuse or neglect, and also take steps towards prevention by educating people and implementing strong child protection policies and procedures.
Safeguarding Children Chief Executive Willow Duffy says the organisation works to increase the effectiveness of community organisations working with or providing services for children.
Safeguarding Children empowers the community to keep children and young people safe from neglect and abuse, with the understanding that safeguarding them is everyone’s responsibility. Their e-Learning courses and webinars are accessible throughout New Zealand.
The organisation works to increase the effectiveness of community organisations by providing capacity building support, helpful resources and eLearning courses ensuring those working in childcare have the skills and knowledge to protect children and have robust child protection policies and procedures.
Willow says the increase in demand for the eLearning courses has been incredible and shows there is a real appetite for people and organisations to advance their learning in this space.
Through COVID-19 a number of organisations working with or providing services for children took the opportunity to upskill and educate their staff, leading to a shift in perspective for entire organisations.
She says the established eLearning courses and webinars broke down barriers such as travel and cost, making it easy for people to access the training.
The course enables professionals and community members to recognise vulnerability and risk for children, and take steps to intervene early.
Willow says through COVID-19 a number of childcare and service providers took the opportunity to up-skill and educate their staff, leading to a shift in perspective for entire organisations.
She says it is important for all staff within an organisation to have access to child protection training so that everyone can provide recognise harm and provide support to a child who reaches out for help.
The system is set up so that organisations can keep track of which staff members are undertaking training, and when they might need a refresher course.
The key to keeping children and young people safe is education and early intervention, she says, and the more people taking part in eLearning courses via Safeguarding Children, the safer the children of New Zealand will be.
Rātā Foundation provides funding to Safeguarding Children under the Sustain focus area, which enables them to provide capacity building support to increase the knowledge and effectiveness of community organisations.
For more information on Safeguarding Children and to register for their eLearning courses and webinars, visit the website: https://safeguardingchildren.org.nz/