Oak Foundation strives to prevent abuse and promote the safety, protection, wellbeing and development of children. We are committed to putting these principles into practice.
We have done this by:
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 grant-making, 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.
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.
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.”
© Neighbours Together
We have created a “The most frequently asked questions” publication for you to facilitate the understanding about Child Safeguarding.
If you are a partner of Oak Foundation and you can not find answers to your question, please contact us and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
If you have questions or if you need more information, please contact Steina Bjorgvinsdottir, Project Manager for Safeguarding & Organisational Development at Oak Foundation.