Children are an important asset to any country’s human capital. Human capital can be developed to an optimum level by providing a safe and conducive environment. Therefore, the protection of children from neglect, abuse, violence, and exploitation is an important consideration and should be given top priority.
This Safeguarding and Child Protection policy is, therefore, necessary now in order to encourage agencies, organizations and community members to give priority to the protection of children. Child protection is a shared responsibility. This policy will act as a catalyst for the awareness and commitment of all parties, including every member of the community in the protection of children. This policy is made so children are respected, protected, empowered, and participate in their own protection. It will also enable childcare staff to be skilled, confident, competent, and well supported in meeting their protection responsibilities.
The Lagos State Government considers child abuse as unacceptable in all circumstances and has a moral duty and obligation to ensure that all staff that works with children function with a view to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children. This will be achieved by identifying and managing risks that may lead to harm.
- The rights, welfare, and safety of the child are the State Government’s first and paramount consideration.
- This policy supports all State Government staff to respond appropriately to potential child protection concerns, including suspected abuse or neglect. A commitment must be made to protect children from abuse and to recognize the important role of staff that has dealings with children.
- All children in the State must be treated equally with respect and fairness, regardless of age, culture, religious background, disability, creed, ethnicity, or health status.
These are four goals to promote child protection and safeguarding:
- Safety – All children have the right to live in an environment free from abuse and neglect. The safety of children is the paramount concern that must guide child protection efforts.
- Permanency – Children need a family and a permanent place to call home. A sense of continuity and connectedness is central to children’s healthy development.
- Health and Well-being – Children deserve nurturing families and environments in which their physical, emotional, educational, social, and health needs are met.
- Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, by –
- a) valuing them, listening to and protecting them,
- b) creating an environment to encourage children to develop a positive self-image,
- c) encouraging children to develop a sense of independence and autonomy in a way that is appropriate to their age and stage of development,
- d) providing a safe and secure environment for all children,
- e) sharing information about child protection and good practice with children, parents, staff, and volunteers,
- f) sharing concerns with relevant agencies and involving parents and children appropriately
- g) Undertaking that role to enable those children to have optimum life chances and to enter adulthood successfully.
The Ministry of Youth and Social Development, in partnership with the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team, will meet its commitment to safeguard and protect children through the following:
- Ensure coordinated policy implementation;
- Conduct quarterly child protection audits and spot checks to monitor the child protection systems of all institutions this policy applies to;
- Monitor internal and external compliance with the policy;
- Provide child protection training for all concerned State Government officials and relevant stakeholders; and
- Create awareness of child protection obligations under the policy.
REVIEW AND MONITORING
This Policy will be jointly monitored and reviewed annually by the Lagos State Child’s Rights Law Implementation Committee and the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team to ensure compliance with the guidelines or in the following circumstances:
- Change in legislation and or government guidance
- As a result of any other significant change or event
- Learning from Serious Case Review.