Quality in caregiving.

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Document of the month:

Using strength instead of power - rainbowtrekkers' new child protection act

Constellations endangering the welfare of children may arise in family settings and in kindergartens alike. In order to provide our employees with specialist knowledge and competence to act in such situations, we at rainbowtrekkers have put down in writing all our established processes relevant to this topic during the past six months. With additional expert advice from the German Child Protection Association in Cologne we were now able to complete and publish the first rainbowtrekkers child protection act.

Only while working on this paper we started to recognize how relevant this topic should suddenly become in public discussion. In May, a three-year-old child had died in a kindergarten in Viersen – presumably because of violence by a teacher. The accused employee had apparently already been suspected of endangering the lives of children at her previous workplaces. According to media reports, however, the labour law investigations of her previous employers were never completed because the alleged perpetrator in the meantime had quit the job and applied to other kindergartens and, due to the lack of qualified kindergarten teachers in this country, in all cases got a job there immediately.

Our child protection act starts where it seems to have been lacking in the Viersen case, namely with prevention. Wherever management, leadership and staff members will be able to set protective educational standards through room setup, work processes, human factors and above all by valuing the participation of children, it will be more difficult to cover up criminal offenses or borderline pedagogy.

In a very practical language, our child protection act explains the legal background and procedures for cases in which the well-being of children is endangered within in the family (§8a SGB VIII) and/or kindergarten (§47) context.
A distinction must be made between a legal risk to the child’s welfare and – “only” – poor educational practices. As part of our concept paper, we also differentiate between actual child welfare endangerment and false suspicions or intentional false accusations.

Our child protection act (available here for download), is preceded by a quote from Abraham Lincoln: “If you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” It ends with reflections on how a “new authority” in parent-child and educator-child constellations (an approach based on strength instead of power) could help to safeguard the welfare of children.

Members of:

Förderverein Frühe Bildung in der Kita
Transparente Zivilgesellschaft