There was a recent report of a case of child abuse at at childcare centre in Kuala Lumpur, where one of our kiddos was also receiving daycare services from. It was discovered that one of the children at the centre was going home with red marks on the child’s body, which prompted the child’s parents to alert the police of the matter. A police investigation on the matter ensued, and the Malaysian Department of Social Welfare (Jabatan Kebajikan Masyarakat) was also alerted to investigate this case. While the investigation into this case was ongoing, the EAP Team had pulled out our kiddo from this childcare centre as a safeguarding measure.
In light of this recent event, we at EAP Malaysia would like to share some tips and guidelines on what to look out for in choosing a childcare centre or service provider.
DETERMINE THE SUITABILITY OF THE CENTRE OR DAYCARE
Before enrolling your child into a centre, we would recommend for you to enquire and find out more information about the centre’s policies in working with the children, for example:
- What are the values upheld by the centre?
- What is the centre’s overall approach in working with children?
- What is the centre’s safety guidelines and measures? (e.g. environment of centre, CCTV, fire evacuation plans)
- What is the centre’s policy on managing children’s behaviours? (e.g. when a child misbehaves or demonstrates a challenging behaviour)
- What is the centre’s policy on bullying?
- What is the overall qualification, training and experience of the staff at the centre?
- Is the centre legitimate and has the appropriate licensing to provide a childcare service?
COMMUNICATION AND REPORTING SYSTEMS
It is important to maintain an open communication between you (as the child’s parent) and the service provider, in order for both parties to stay updated on the child’s overall wellbeing. In this modern day and age, there are multiple ways for parents to stay informed on their child’s progress, activities and overall wellbeing in a centre/daycare/school, for instance, via emails, Whatsapp/text messages, and other classroom-based apps.
We would recommend for parents to find out more about the centre’s reporting systems, such as:
- What is the reporting system and frequency of updates? (e.g. daily, weekly, monthly)
- What is the centre’s reporting guidelines of child-related incidents? (e.g. if child falls ill, child is hurt)
- Are there regular parent-teacher meetings to discuss a child’s overall wellbeing, progress and challenges?
Additionally, we would recommend for parents to build relationships with the other parents whose children are also at the centre, to build a community that looks out for one another. Children may sometimes talk about their day and speak about what they observe happening to the other children at the centre. This way, if your child speaks to you about any matter that may be a safety issue or serious concern, you would be able to check in with the other parents to determine what steps to take.
MONITORING YOUR CHILD REGULARLY
We would strongly recommend for parents to closely monitor and observe your child’s behaviour, as their behaviour can provide you with indications of what is taking place at their school/centre/daycare. Several things to look out for include:
- Physical marks on the child’s body (e.g. red marks, bruises, cuts)
- Any changes in child’s behaviour that is not related to illness (e.g. if child always cries when going to a certain place, a talkative child who becomes very quiet suddenly)
- Interactions between your child and the other children and adults at the centre
If your child has the ability to communicate with you, it would also be beneficial for you to speak to your child to find out how his/her day went.
WHAT TO DO IN THE EVENT OF AN INCIDENT
In the event that you have any concerns regarding your child’s overall safety and wellbeing at the school/centre/daycare, we would recommend the following steps:
- Raise your concerns to the persons-in-charge at the centre (e.g. teacher, caretaker, principal)
- In the event of a suspected case, report the incident to the police and the Department of Social Welfare (Jabatan Kebajikan Masyarakat)
- Your child’s safety should be first! Immediately pull your child out of the school/centre/daycare
- Look for alternative service providers for your child (with reference to some of our tips above)
We hope the above tips and guidelines have been useful in helping you choose a service provider that is safe for your child. If you have any further queries or require further support, give us a call at +603 3094 0421 and one of our team will be more than happy to assist you!