Child Protection Plan
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 the children in our programs. 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. Also, anyone that will be engaging with any children in our program in any capacity are required to familiarize themselves and agree to ONETrack’s safeguarding protocols and procedures, and agree to uphold these policies, committing to children’s rights and protection at all times.
We take our duty to protect children very seriously and to ensure that anyone who represents or works alongside 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. 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.
ONETrack is committed to ensuring that all stakeholders are aware of their responsibilities by educating them of our policies; 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 laws. One of the first steps to preventing additional emotional harm is to make clear to anyone interacting with vulnerable children, that many have experienced trauma to different degrees and so interactions must be necessary and well thought out – or they should not take place at all. Violence, the threat of violence, or abuse of any sort are never acceptable ways to deal with any child. 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.
It is important to have an Incident Reporting Policy, so that anyone involved in a program has an outlet for reporting breaches in safeguarding protocols. Just as important, all stakeholders (including beneficiaries) should be made aware of the process of reporting and encouraged to do so. Beneficiaries must be made aware that reporting administrators of the program for transgressions will not negatively affect their ability to receive further support from the organization.
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 necessarily an inherent 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 should immediately notify both the local police and program 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 a Transition to Home or any 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.
Behavior Protocol Guidelines
The following behavioral protocols are based on universally accepted and culturally appropriate ways of interacting with children that are generally accepted. Each region may have additional local or culturally appropriate behaviors to consider.
-Limited physical contact and only if appropriate and when required: 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 cognizant 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 the organization 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
This Convention is a human rights treaty based in International law that outlines children’s rights in the following areas: culture, health, society, civil space, as well as political and economic environments:
– A child is any human being under 18 years of age, unless stated otherwise in national legislation
– States that are party to the Convention 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
Below are some of the commitments that an organization might require of the partners, contractors, volunteers, donors, and families participating in their programs; organizations might require that they read and sign the a policy declaration prior to working on any project that deals with children. All stakeholders would be expected to protect and promote children’s rights by abiding by these or additional 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 the organization 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 the organization (or independent safeguarding service) 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. The organization reserves the right to refer criminal offenses to local police and/or social services.