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Oak Foundation, through its grant-making, addresses a wide range of social justice issues and, with this Policy, commits to ensuring that through all its programmes, it will strive to prevent abuse and promote the safety, protection, wellbeing and development of children. In so doing, Oak also seeks to enhance its reputation as a Foundation of integrity, committed to putting its principles into practice.
We have done this by:
WATCH THE VIDEO
Watch Kathleen Cravero, Oak Foundation’s President speak about why child safeguarding is important to both her and Oak.
OUR CHILD SAFEGUARDING STANDARDS
Oak Foundation believes organisations have a duty of care to children with whom they work, are in contact with, or who are affected by their work and operations. Oak Foundation requests that the organisations it funds, subscribe to and operate in accordance with the Oak Foundation child safeguarding standards. These are the same standards that we hold ourselves accountable to and that are included in our own policy.
As part of our grantmaking, we carry out stringent due diligence checks. Where organisations are applying for funding to support project work that involves working or contact with children, part of this assessment will include evaluating the extent to which prospective grantees have in place measures designed to safeguard children. The needed measures are detailed in the standards outlined below.
HOW OAK HELPS PARTNERS BETTER PROTECT CHILDREN
Oak is providing each partner with the opportunity to access bespoke support to develop their own safeguarding measures. We collaborate with organisations such as Keeping Children Safe, who can provide this support in the language and context in which our grantee partners work.
Oak’s approach to capacity development focuses on supporting our partners to grow and develop. We believe that capacity development should be owned and led by our partners and tailored to their needs. At the heart of this is our wish for our partners to feel supported in their individual learning journeys. We want them to have access to appropriate support so that they become stronger, more able to achieve their goals and more sustainable, resilient and effective.
It is with this vision in mind that we offer support to our partners to help them become “child-safe organisations”. Oak programme officers, Oak’s project manager on safeguarding and our partner, Keeping Children Safe, all contribute
to this support.
Watch Sarah Blakemore, the CEO of Keeping Children Safe speak about the importance of organisational safeguards and how she and her team support Oak grantees.
CASE STUDY: How our partner Neighbors Together began their Safeguarding Journey
The work of many organisations may not focus directly on children or families, but have contact with them (e.g. when children accompany their parents to public meetings). Neighbors Together, a Housing and Homelessness Programme partner based in New York, describes its experience of developing safeguarding policies and interacting with Oak partner Keeping Children Safe:
“Our senior management team was a bit reluctant to attend the training given by Keeping Children Safe. The idea of removing ourselves from our work for three days to learn about safeguarding practices for a population we believed we did not really serve seemed unnecessary and time-consuming. However, we took the plunge and our attitudes quickly shifted within the first hour of training!
Stepping back from our day-to-day work at Neighbors Together, we were able to acknowledge that while the vast majority of people who walk through our doors are adults, it is also true that children do frequent our facility on a regular basis, usually accompanied by their parents or primary caretakers for meals and access to social services. We also identified youth who were volunteering in our emergency food programme, and noted that children of staff members and board members visit our space on numerous occasions throughout the year.
After completing the training, we concluded that implementing safety practices and protocols to proactively protect children from harm is a necessary step for Neighbors Together. The training also encouraged us and all other organisations to develop greater sensitivity around how we publicize our work, specifically our use of children’s images on our pamphlets, website and social media sites.
The Child Safeguarding training was highly informative and thought-provoking. If possible, we would have participated in even a few more days of training! We came back to Neighbors Together with clear recommendations for how we can institute policies across all levels of our organisation that will protect young people.
We thank Keeping Children Safe for the encouragement to reassess and revise the culture of our organisation and include a more preventative approach to protect one of the most vulnerable populations in our society – children who hold the keys and the hopes for our future.”
© Neighbors Together
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Below are a list of frequently asked questions. If you are a partner of Oak Foundation and your question is not listed below, complete our survey and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
Safeguarding Children Policy
Grantee Perception Reports
Oak Foundation commits its resources to address issues of global, social and environmental concern, particularly those that have a major impact on the lives of the disadvantaged. With offices in Europe, Africa, India and North America, we make grants to organisations in approximately 40 countries worldwide.
A written, comprehensive safeguarding policy that underlines commitment to prevent and respond to any
safeguarding concerns, is in place. The consequences of breaking the policy are clear.
There are safeguards in place for recruiting staff that include assessing their suitability to work with children. References and background checks are carried out.
All staff are trained, aware and informed of their particular responsibilities and expectations as per the policy. Any sub-contracted party must meet these standards.
There are clear, well-publicised reporting procedures in place that allow staff, children, and their families to raise concerns, confidentially if necessary, about unacceptable behaviour or actual/suspected abuse by staff. All concerns raised are taken seriously, responded to appropriately, recorded and followed up on.
A clear commitment to the implementation of safeguarding measures is in place. These are monitored and reviewed regularly to ensure application and effectiveness.