Child Protection Policy
Our vision is to create a culture in which all orphaned children have the opportunity to grow as respected members of families and become productive citizens who will impact and lead their community towards a better future. This vision begins with the goal of ensuring that all orphaned children are protected from abuse, neglect, exploitation, and all other forms of violence. We believe that all children have equal rights to survival, protection, health, and education to enable them to lead full and productive lives.
The purpose of this policy is twofold. First, it ensures that all partners, contractors, volunteers, donors, and families participating in the Transition to Home program are committed to: safeguarding children from violence; and undertaking activities which contribute to our vision of protecting and positively developing children. Second, it details the procedures which are in place to prevent and deal with any violations to this policy as well as stipulates that a failure to do so will result in immediate contract termination. Prior to committing to our program, and engaging with any vulnerable children, you are required to read the attached: ONETrack Child Protection Policy: Behavior Protocol Guidelines for Stakeholders, and agree to uphold this policy and children’s rights and protection at all times.
We take our duty to protect children very seriously and to ensure that anyone who represents our organization does not harm, abuse, or place any child at risk. We believe in empowering children in their own protection and promoting their active engagement in all activities. We commit to ensuring that children’s best interest and safety are paramount at all times. We promote respect, safe practices, positive environments, diversity, equality, and inclusion in all that we do.
We recognize that the orphaned children with whom we work are a particularly vulnerable subset of the population. For that reason, we commit to advocating on their behalf and ensuring their wellbeing while empowering and nurturing them. One of our goals is to develop loved, respected, well-adjusted children who have a strong sense of family and community. The impact of all stakeholders on a child’s growth cannot be overstated or underrated. Protecting vulnerable children’s wellbeing and rights are not just ONETrack International’s pledge: it is at the forefront of all that we believe and do.
Procedures to Prevent and Deal with Violence Towards Children
ONETrack is committed to ensuring that all stakeholders are aware of their responsibilities through: the promulgation of this policy; the receipt of a signed acknowledgement form prior to commencing work with our organization; and the continued education of all stakeholders on the requirement for child protection in international and national law. Additionally, representatives of our organization are always available to answer any questions you may have regarding your obligations or about children’s rights and freedoms in general. If you have a question, please engage us early and often. We will work together to ensure that you receive answers and that you are comfortable and cognisant of all laws and policies.
One of the most basic aspects of prevention is to ensure that you always remember the particular vulnerability of the children you engage through this program. They may be troubled and dealing with delicate issues and concerns; they need your compassion and support. Violence, the threat of violence, or abuse of any sort are never acceptable ways to deal with these or any children. Engaging these children through positive activities which empower them is critical to the support you provide as a stakeholder.
Protecting them from violence and abuse can take the form of many different actions, including but not limited to: education, youth groups, active reporting, advocacy, support, and mentoring.
Each country has different incident policies; therefore, it is best to consult with your ONETrack partner representative to determine the most productive and effective action to take in a particular situation. You have an obligation, under international law and your signed Behavioral Protocols Guidelines for Stakeholders with ONETrack, to report all incidents of abuse, neglect, exploitation, and other forms of violence that you may witness.
ONETrack is committed to working with local practitioners, families, institutes, governments, and others to train, educate, and engage stakeholders as they work to uphold the protection and rights of children. Some incidents that you may encounter are due to a lack of education and not the desire to willfully harm a child. In these situations, ONETrack is dedicated to providing guidance and education to nurture a positive and respectful environment which meets all obligations of child protection policy and international law.
Critical Response Policy
If you witness an act of violence or an obvious abuse of a child’s basic human rights you are to immediately notify both the local police and your local ONETrack representative. If you are able to intervene, and it is safe to do so, you have an obligation to protect the child. Recognizing the particularly vulnerable nature of the orphaned children who participate in ONETrack s Transition to Home program, it is imperative that any action contrary to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, UN Declaration on the Protection and Welfare of Children, or the Hague Adoption Convention be immediately and appropriately addressed.
While these violations may result in legal, civil, and/or criminal charges and other actions by the host country authorities, ONETrack also has an immediate and critical obligation to protect the orphaned children participating in this program. That being said, ultimately the failure to protect and guarantee equal rights of children will result in immediate contract termination.
Behavior Protocol Guidelines
The following list of behavioral protocols details which actions are and are not acceptable. These are based on universally accepted and culturally appropriate normal ways of interacting with children. Each region may have additional local, culturally appropriate behavioral protocols which will be provided in addition to this policy by ONETrack International staff.
-Limited physical contact and only if appropriate: adults must avoid being in compromising or vulnerable positions with a child
-Use non-violent, positive, and nurturing methods to manage children’s negative behaviors
-Show respect for children and their rights
-Be cognisant of appearance and perceptions through language, behavior, actions, and relationships with children
-Maintain accountability for your actions at all times
-Accept responsibility for your actions, language, and behavior
-Act as representatives of ONETrack International at all times
– Follow the two adult rule whenever possible; that is, have two adults visibly present when supervising children
-Respect the privacy of children and their communities
-Sexual relations with a child or behaving in an inappropriate physical manner
-Language, behaviors, or actions that could be construed as sexual or violent in nature
-Participating in or condoning illegal, unsafe, or abusive behavior or actions with a child
-Participating in or condoning traditional or cultural practices that are harmful to a child
-Participating in or condoning any form of child labour or action which contributes to limiting a child’s rights and freedoms
-Inappropriate, abusive, or culturally insensitive touching, language, or behavior with or around a child
-Spending unnecessary or excessive time alone with a child, including in a vehicle, unless necessary and always with their guardian’s consent
-Abusing or exploiting any child
-Posting any personal information, pictures, or details about a child on social media without consent or explanation of its use to the child and their guardians
-Exchanging personal contact information with children for purposes unrelated to the program
Convention on the Rights of the Child: Overview
A human rights treaty based in International law
Sets out children’s rights in the following areas: culture, health, society, civil space, as well as political and economic milieus
A child is deemed any human being under 18 years of age, unless stated otherwise in national legislation
States Parties have a responsibility to respect, protect, and ensure the rights postulated in this convention for all children in their jurisdiction, without discrimination, including the following acknowledgements:
-Importance of international cooperation to improve children’s living conditions
-Primary consideration must always be in the best interest of the child
-Respect the rights and duties of parents, extended family, and/or community as dependent on or reflective of local customs and legalities
-Guarantee inherent right to life – ensure a child’s survival and development
-Legal guardians have primary responsibility for upbringing and development of the child
-Take legal, administrative, social, and educational measures to protect children from all forms of physical and mental violence, injury, abuse, neglect, and exploitation
-Restrict involvement of children in military conflicts
-Prohibit the sale of children, child pornography, and child prostitution
-Safeguard children’s rights to express their opinions and have their opinions taken into account
-Ensure no child is deprived of the right to access health care or education
-Every child has a right to develop physically, mentally, socially, spiritually, and morally
-Protect children from economic exploitation or any work that is harmful to them, including child labour
-Safeguard the right of the child to rest, play, and participate in cultural activities and the arts
-Protect children from all forms of sexual exploitation and abuse
-Educate adults and children on the provisions of the Convention
-Promote physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration of any child victim
-Ensure no child is tortured, or exposed to inhumane or degrading treatment
-Ensure a child’s criminal convictions do not carry a sentence of life imprisonment or capital punishment
Child Protection Policy: Behavior Protocol Guidelines for Stakeholders
All partners, contractors, volunteers, donors, and families participating in the Transition to Home program must read and sign the following policy declaration prior to working with ONETrack International. All stakeholders are expected to protect and promote children’s rights by abiding by these protocols at all times.
1. I will not engage in physical, emotional, or verbal violence or abuse towards children.
2. I will not tolerate any form of violence or abuse towards children.
3. I will immediately report all incidents that I witness or hear about which may involve the mistreatment, abuse, or harm of a child.
4. I will ensure that all my interactions with children are appropriate and that I do not engage in any situation where a negative perception could be alleged.
5. I will not exchange inappropriate personal information with children.
6. I will not dress inappropriately or conduct myself in any way which could be considered culturally inappropriate while visiting or engaging with children or the local community.
7. I will not engage in any verbal or physical act which could be interpreted as sexual in nature or which may make any child uncomfortable, including: pornography, derogatory comments or pictures, gestures, or written communication.
8. I will not post any information on social media related to my work with ONETrack including, but not limited to: children’s pictures, videos, or their personal information.
9. I will show respect for children’s rights and cultural considerations at all times.
10. I will make it clear to all beneficiaries of my program (both children and host families) as well as to any staff or volunteers that they can contact ONETrack with any concerns and provide them with a method to do so.
Noncompliance with this protocol will be taken seriously. Failure to comply with all tenets of this policy will result in immediate contract termination. ONETrack International reserves the right to refer criminal offences to local police and/or social services.