Safeguarding and Child Welfare
MAKING FOOTBALL SAFE, SECURE AND AWARE Safeguarding Children is high on The FA's and Staffordshire FA's agenda. The goal is to have someone at every club in the country aware of safeguarding children and best practice, whether it's a professional club with an Academy or a Sunday morning youth side, Safeguarding is about doing things the right way and doing things properly. It's about allowing children to enjoy the game without any abuse of any kind, that means sexual, physical and emotional abuse along with neglect and bullying.
The FA and Staffordshire FA believe football can have a powerful positive influence on children, but that means everyone involved in football must do their bit and take on the responsibility of looking after those children, young people and vulnerable adults that want to take part in the game. Doing nothing is not an option.
Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is defined as:
Protecting children from ill-treatment
Preventing impairment of children's health or development
Ensuring children are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care.
Child protection is a part of safeguarding and promoting welfare. It refers to the activity that is undertaken to protect children who are suffering, or are likely to suffer, significant harm.
The welfare, safety and security of all children, young people and vulnerable adults involved in football in Staffordshire, are a high priority of Staffordshire FA. We work closely with the FA to ensure that all the relevant Safeguarding Children policies and practices are being adopted by all our youth leagues and clubs throughout the county in order to protect the children effectively, as well as the interests of our club. Our primary wish is to ensure you are able to enjoy football in Staffordshire in an environment which is safe.
Since the start of 2008/09 season all Youth Clubs and Leagues who affiliate to Staffordshire FA have been required to have appointed a Club or League Welfare Officer. This was just the start of our continuing commitment to raise awareness throughout football and eradicate all forms of child abuse, whether it is through neglect, emotional, physical or sexual abuse or bullying in football. Equally, we will do our best to eliminate all aspects of poor practice through working with the clubs in our area.
We support clubs in developing strategies to ensure their players are able to participate in football in a safe and enjoyable atmosphere where they can develop free from harm, whilst making a positive contribution and developing economic well being. Where there are concerns that a child, young person or vulnerable adult may be at risk, we will fully support and co-operate with the agencies that are available to deal with these concerns when they arise, whether they be the Club or League Welfare Officers, the County Welfare Officers, the FA, NSPCC, Children's Services, the Local Children's Safeguarding Board, Police or other agencies.
We will continue to provide regular training opportunities for all those involved in working with children through the Safeguarding Children Workshops and for Club and League Welfare Officers, through the Welfare Officer Workshops that are arranged, followed by regular networking meetings from time to time.
To facilitate this work we have implemented policies, procedures and guidelines which are readily available to download from the website.
Welfare follows on from Safeguarding Children and covers areas such as anti-bullying. The Football Association continue to roll out training for both Club and League Welfare Officers with it becoming necessary for all clubs/leagues with youth teams to have a Welfare Officer in place.