Policy and Procedure for Lost Child

At St Peter’s Nursery,  we are committed to promoting children’s safety and welfare. Children’s safety is our highest priority, both on and off the premises. Every attempt is made, through the implementation of our outings procedure and our exit/entrance procedure, to ensure the security of children is maintained at all times.

 

Child Lost on-site

In the unlikely event of a child going missing within/from the nursery, we have the following procedure which will be implemented immediately:

 

  • All staff will be aware of the procedure when a child goes missing and supply information to support the search, e.g. a recent photograph and a detailed description of clothing

  • The Head is alerted as soon as it is noticed that a child is missing and all staff present will be informed.

  • Some staff will be deployed to start an immediate thorough search of the nursery, followed by a search of the surrounding area, whilst ensuring that some staff remain with the other children so they remain supervised, calm and supported throughout

  • The register is checked to make sure no other child has also gone astray.

  • If the child is not found, the Head calls the police immediately and reports the child as missing. If it is suspected that the child may have been abducted, the police are informed of this.

·         The parents of the missing child will also be contacted

·         A second search of the area will be carried out

·         During this period, available staff will be continually searching for the missing child, whilst other staff maintain as near to normal routine as possible for the rest of the children in the nursery

·         The manager will meet the police and parents

·         The manager will then await instructions from the police

·         In the unlikely event that the child is not found the nursery will follow the local authority and police procedure

·         Any incidents must be recorded in writing as soon as practicably possible including the outcome, who was lost, time identified, notification to police and findings      

·         The Head contacts our chair and reports the incident. Our chair comes to the Nursery immediately to carry out an investigation, with our management team.                                                     

·         Ofsted must be contacted and informed of any incidents

·         With incidents of this nature parents, carers, children and staff may require support and reassurance following the traumatic experience. Management will provide this or seek further support where necessary

·         In any cases with media attention staff will not speak to any media representatives

·         Post-incident risk assessments will be conducted following any incident of this nature to enable the chance of this reoccurring being reduced

 

 

Lost child off-site

At St Peter’s Nursery we are committed to promoting children’s safety and welfare. This includes where children are on outings and visits. We carry out regular head counts of children throughout any outing or visit.

This describes what to do when our staff have taken a small group on an outing, leaving our HEAD and/or other staff back in our setting premises. If our Head has accompanied children on the outing, the procedures are adjusted accordingly. What to do when a child goes missing from a whole group outing may be a little different, as parents usually attend and are responsible for their own child. 

 

In the unlikely event of a child going missing whilst on an outing we have the following procedure which we implement immediately:

 

·         All staff will be aware of the procedure when a child goes missing and supply information to support the search, e.g. a recent photograph and a detailed description of clothing

·         As soon as it is noticed that a child is missing, the staff members on the outing ask children to stand with their designated carer and carry out a headcount to ensure that no other child has gone astray.

·         If in attendance, the Head will be informed immediately and all staff present will be informed. Some staff will be deployed to start an immediate thorough search of the area, ensuring that all other children remain supervised, calm and supported throughout

·         If appropriate, on-site security will also be informed and a description given

·         The designated person in charge will immediately inform the police

·         If not on the outing, the Head is contacted immediately and the incident is recorded

·         The Head will contact the child’s parents giving details of what has happened. If the whole nursery is on an outing, all contact details will be taken on the trip by the person in charge

·         Our staff take the remaining children back to the setting as soon as possible.

·         According to the advice of the police, a senior member of staff, or our manager where applicable, should remain at the site where the child went missing and wait for the police to arrive.

·         A recent photo and a description of what the child is wearing is given to the police

·         In the unlikely event that the child is not found the nursery will follow the local authority and police procedure

·         The Head contacts the chair of the NMC and reports the incident. The chair comes to the Nursery immediately to carry out an investigation, with our management team (if possible

·         Any incidents must be recorded in writing as soon as practicably possible including the outcome, who was lost, time identified, notification to police and findings

·         Our staff keep calm and do not let the other children become anxious or worried.

 

 

 

·         Ofsted must be contacted and informed of any incidents

·         With incidents of this nature parents, carers, children and staff may require support and reassurance following the traumatic experience. Management will provide this or seek further support where necessary

·         In any cases with media attention staff will not speak to any media representatives

·         Post-incident risk assessments will be conducted following any incident of this nature to enable the chance of this reoccurring being reduced.

 

The Investigation

  • Ofsted are informed as soon as possible and kept up-to-date with the investigation.

  • Our chair carries out a full investigation, taking written statements from all our staff and volunteers who were present.

  • Our Head, together with the chair, speaks with the parent(s) and explains the process of the investigation.

  • The parent(s) may also raise a complaint with us or Ofsted.

  • Each member of staff present writes an incident report detailing:

 

1.      The date and time of the incident.

2.      Where the child went missing from e.g. the setting or an outing venue.

3.      Which staff/children were in the premises/on the outing and the name of the staff member who was designated as responsible for the missing child.

4.      When the child was last seen in the premises/or on the outing, including the time it is estimated that the child went missing.

5.      What has taken place in the premises or on the outing since the child went missing.

  • The report is counter-signed by the senior member of staff and the date and time added.

  • A conclusion is drawn as to how the breach of security happened.

  • If the incident warrants a police investigation, all our staff co-operate fully. In this case, the police will handle all aspects of the investigation, including interviewing staff and parents. Children’s social care may be involved if it seems likely that there is a child protection issue to address.

  • In the event of disciplinary action needing to be taken, Ofsted are advised.

  • The insurance provider is informed.

 

Managing people

Missing child incidents are very worrying for all concerned. Part of managing the incident is to try to keep everyone as calm as possible.

  • Our staff will feel worried about the child, especially the key person or the designated carer responsible for the safety of that child for the outing. They may blame themselves and their feelings of anxiety and distress will rise as the length of time the child is missing increases.

  • They may be the understandable target of parental anger and they may be afraid. Our manager ensures that any staff under investigation are not only fairly treated, but receive support while feeling vulnerable.

  • The parents will feel angry, and fraught. They may want to blame our staff and may single out one staff member over others; they may direct their anger at our manager. When dealing with a distraught and angry parent, there should always be two members of staff one of whom is our manager and the other should be our chair, or another representative of the management committee. No matter how understandable the parent’s anger may be, aggression or threats against our staff are not tolerated, and the police should be called.

  • The other children are also sensitive to what is going on around them. They too may be worried. Our remaining staff caring for them need to be focused on their needs and must not discuss the incident in front of them. They should answer children’s questions honestly, but also reassure them.

  • In accordance with the severity of the final outcome, our staff may need counselling and support. If a child is not found, or is injured, or worse, this will be a very difficult time. Our chair will use discretion to decide what action to take.

  • Our staff must not discuss any missing child incident with the press without taking advice.