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Appendix 4 Guidance on responding to a disclosure from the child protection and welfare practice handbook

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Appendix 4 Guidance on responding to a disclosure from the child protection and welfare practice handbook

Remember, a child may disclose abuse to you as a trusted adult at any time during your work with them. It is important that you are aware and prepared for this.

  • Be as calm and natural as possible.

  • Remember that you have been approached because you are trusted and possibly liked. Do not panic.

  • Be aware that disclosures can be very difficult for the child.

  • Remember, the child may initially be testing your reactions and may only fully open up over a period of time.

  • Listen to what the child has to say. Give them the time and opportunity to tell as much as they are able and wish to.

  • Do not pressurise the child. Allow him or her to disclose at their own pace and in their own language.

  • Conceal any signs of disgust, anger or disbelief.

  • Accept what the child has to say – false disclosures are very rare.

  • It is important to differentiate between the person who carried out the abuse and the act of abuse itself. The child quite possibly may love or strongly like the alleged abuser while also disliking what was done to them. It is important therefore to avoid expressing any judgement on, or anger towards, the alleged perpetrator while talking with the child.

  • It may be necessary to reassure the child that your feelings towards him or her have not been affected in a negative way as a result of what they have disclosed.

When asking questions

  • Questions should be supportive and for the purpose of clarification only.
  • Avoid leading questions, such as asking whether a specific person carried out the abuse. Also, avoid asking about intimate details or suggesting that something else may have happened other than what you have been told. Such questions and suggestions could complicate the official investigation.

Confidentiality – Do not promise to keep secrets

At the earliest opportunity, tell the child that:

  • You acknowledge that they have come to you because they trust you.

  • You will be sharing this information only with people who understand this area and who can help. There are secrets, which are not helpful and should not be kept because they make matters worse. Such secrets hide things that need to be known if people are to be helped and protected from further ongoing hurt. By refusing to make a commitment to secrecy to the child, you do run the risk that they may not tell you everything (or, indeed, anything) there and then. However, it is better to do this than to tell a lie and ruin the child’s confidence in yet another adult. By being honest, it is more likely that the child will return to you at another time.

  • Think before you promise anything – Do not make promises you cannot keep.

At the earliest possible opportunity:

  • Record in writing, in factual manner, what the child has said, including, as far as possible, the exact words used by the child.

  • Inform your supervisor/manager immediately and agree measures to protect the child, i.e. report the matter directly to TUSLA.

  • Maintain appropriate confidentiality.

  • Follow your organisation’s procedures for child protection issues. Further support regarding concerns is available from the TUSLA.

On going support

Following a disclosure by a child, it is important that the staff member continues in a supportive relationship with the child. Disclosure is a huge step for a child. Staff should continue to offer support, particularly through:

  • maintaining a positive relationship with the child;

  • keeping lines of communication open by listening carefully to the child;

  • continuing to include the child in the usual activities.

Any further disclosure should be treated as a first disclosure and responded to as indicated above. Where necessary, immediate action should be taken to ensure the child’s safety.

Appendix 5 Reasonable grounds for reporting a child protection and welfare concern – see section 2 child protection and welfare Practice handbook

What constitutes reasonable grounds for a child protection or welfare concern?

  • An injury or behaviour that is consistent both with abuse and an innocent explanation, but where there are corroborative indicators supporting the concern that it may be a case of abuse.

  • Consistent indication over a period of time that a child is suffering from emotional or physical neglect.

  • Admission or indication by someone of an alleged abuse.

  • A specific indication from a child that he or she was abused.

  • An account from a person who saw the child being abused.

  • Evidence (e.g. injury or behaviour) that is consistent with abuse and unlikely to have been caused in any other way.

Please refer to section 5 – children first guidance book for further information

Parent / Guardian Involvement Policy


  • It is the policy of Bridge Kids to encourage parental involvement and to acknowledge the importance of a partnership between parents and carers.
  • Parents are encouraged to become actively involved in behaviour management procedures, as outlined in our code of behaviour policy.

  • Parents and families are encouraged to come together for concerts at Christmas and end of year. It is hoped that parents will participate in the shows by singing with the children etc. These social occasions should add to the homely atmosphere of the service.

  • Input from the parents is always encouraged and we welcome parents with special skills or with different ethnic or cultural backgrounds to visit the children or help out with certain activities, or just to come and talk about their job, or ethnic background etc.

  • When English is not the first spoken language of the family, we invite parents to translate our mission statement into their mother tongue, for inclusion in our policies and procedures.

  • We encourage parents to give us a list of some of the words that their child may use for day to day things such as going to the toilet or eating snack.

  • We ask for phonetic spellings also to aid with our pronunciation.

  • Staff members are happy to write some basic words for parents to help with understanding of the language that the children acquire at school.

  • Parents and grandparents are invited to join our volunteer program for bringing children on outings, trips to the library etc. Volunteers will have the opportunity to avail of some of the on-going training provided.

  • Parents’ help will also be appreciated with fundraising activities.

  • Bridge Kids actively encourage parents to join the Board of Management or Childcare Committee.


At Bridge Kids we place high value and note the importance of an open door policy. For us this means that our doors are always open to parents / guardians so you can feel safe in the knowledge that you can call in unannounced or phone us at any time. Your child’s well being is the most important thing to us and we hope you will have confidence in us and note that we are a very honest and open service and will update you on all aspects of your child’s day. We will always phone parents during the day if their child is unsettled or off form so you know how your child is during the day and not just at collection time.

Parents are welcome to visit the service at any time or phone the main office where they can be put through to their children’s room to speak with the Room Leader. We ask parents if visiting the crèche outside of drop off and collection times to be aware that sometimes children can become confused thinking its collection time, our CCTV in main reception can be viewed by parents so they can look at their children with minimum disruption.

For safety reasons, entrance into the crèche is restricted and access is only granted following verification and a staff member will release the access lock. We ask parents who are exiting the building not to hold doors open for anyone entering the premises. Access should only be granted via a staff member. This ensures access control.


  • Parents are welcome to discuss their child’s development on a continuous basis throughout the year. Staff members complete records on each child’s development noting milestones and emerging skills.

  • Throughout the year, all parents are given observations sheets to sign. These are a detailed record of a staff/child observation that staff complete for all children in their care. The observations sheet will note an activity or an interaction that has taken place and make links to what has been achieved under Aistear’s Framework four themes. Further planning for your child’s development will be established through these observations.

  • At the end of the academic year, we provide an opportunity for optional individual parent-teacher meetings to allow parents to discuss the child’s progress.


  • Parents should be treated with respect at all times.

  • Parents are also requested to show respect for staff, children and other parents while attending the service.


  • Bridge Kids is a subsidiary of The Bridge Complex, a community organisation that aims to provide family support services, services for the elderly, adult education, training and social occasions for all in the community. For further information please contact Bridge Kids on 061 713 028 or enquire in the main office in reception. The Managers office is always open to all.

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